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BabyFirst TV (DVD Series) Review

 
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At A Glance...
 

Genre:
 
Length: Approximately 2 hours each
 
Release Date: January 2013
 
Producer: Mill Creek Entertainment
 
Final Score
 
 
 
 
 
4/ 5


User Rating
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We liked?


A great introduction to the building blocks of learning.

Not so much?


Repetition is great for toddlers, but notsomuch for parents.


Final Fiendish Findings?

The BabyFirst TV DVD series is not going to replace one on one time with your child, nor will it turn them into the next Albert Einstein. What it will do is give you peace of mind that when you do choose to let your kids have some screen time, it is quality screen time. You’ll still be counting and singing and humming lullabies with your child; but these shows will help present the basic building blocks of education in a way young children will understand…and love.

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Posted January 29, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings?
 
 

It’s fun, colorful, and educational. But is it right for your baby?

Let’s get this out of the way right from the start. None of us is advocating you use the television as a babysitter, let your kids become tv zombies, or anything else of the sort. But let’s face it: Momma’s got to take a shower at some point, kids need to rest on sick days, and dinner isn’t going to cook itself. Once in a while, it’s perfectly fine to let your kids watch a little tv, especially if you make it educational while you’re at it. Parents are obviously their kids’ best teachers, but anyone who completely discounts the value of educational programming has never watched a three year old count in perfect Spanish after watching an episode of Dora the Explorer.

There – now that you have our permission, let’s talk about BabyFirst TV. Based on the popular tv channel of the same name, the BabyFirst TV DVDs offer same award winning shows in a convenient DVD format. Whether you prefer to not carry a cable subscription, you want something for on the go, or you just plain like the convenience of being able to watch what you want, when you want it, DVD’s are just plain convenient. January marks the first release in the BabyFirst TV series, and the eight different dvds include characters like Harry the Bunny and The Color Crew, bedtime classics like Sweet Breams and Shushybye Baby, and a range of different educational themes, from colors and shapes to numbers and vocabulary, for kids from about 6 months to 4 years. We’ll take a look at each of the DVDs briefly, and then share our thoughts on the series as a whole.

Color Crew: All About Colors
If you aren’t familiar with it, the Color Crew is a group of happy, smiling crayons that don’t really say anything other than color. They bounce around black and white backgrounds, hopping with around with happy open mouths. While cheerful music plays, they color in the scene, laughing and giggling, and calling out the color when an object has been colored in. When something is colored in the wrong color (ie, an apple made brown), a stern, mustachioed eraser comes in to erase the color and save the day. When the picture is complete, every one claps joyfully, and the crayons return to their box. It is definitely engaging and happy for little ones, and all the cooing and giggling will make most babies smile. What I wasn’t a fan of is the fact that they don’t really talk. I like my kids to exposed to language at every turn, as it really helps them learn. That being said, the fact that the crayons *only* say colors may help some kids to learn said colors a little faster, simply because there aren’t any other words to pick up on.

Harry the Bunny: Come Along & Play
Harry the Bunny is a cute and cuddly puppet bunny with an adorable little voice that toddlers will be drawn to. Kids learn from watching Harry explore the world around him. Repetition and sheer cuteness will have young kids glued to the screen as Harry plays peek-a-boo, finds himself in the mirror, and explores the garden. They’ll learn new words, and be introduced to things like shapes and colors in a non-threatening way. Harry the Bunny is pretty adorable, and even my older kids were drawn to watch.

Numbers Around the Globe: Adventures in Counting
If you’re hoping to work with your tot on counting and number recognition, Numbers Around the Globe is a great place to start….as long as you want to start small. Basically, it features animals from around the world, from polar bears to bumblebees, dancing to mind-numbingly repetitious counting songs. While it’s not necessarily a parent’s idea of a good time, it truly is the best way for toddlers to learn. Not only do the songs repeat the number sequence over and over, each time a number is sung, it appears on the screen, so kids learn both the sights and sounds of counting. My main complaint is that this show only concentrates on counting from 1-5. I would have liked to see it go up to at least ten, if only as an introduction.

Art & Music: Sensory Wonderland
Counting, shapes, colors, etc., are all very important things to learn, but art and music play a huge role in your child’s development as well. Art & Music: Sensory Wonderland helps bring your kids’ creative sides alive by leading them through the creative process. You’ll watch art come alive, as lively music plays in the background. From watching a sketch of farm animals being created, to sculpting with clay, to enjoying how music all comes together, kids will feel empowered to create their own masterpieces.

Sweet Dreams: Calming Music and Imagery
There are two caveats to keep in mind when considering this DVD. First of all, it is listed as for ages 3 mths to 2 years, and even that might be a bit of a stretch. This is a disc designed for the very young, and it likely won’t appeal to your older preschoolers. Nonetheless, the soothing pictures and quiet classical music is a great wind down before naptime or bedtime. You won’t find any bouncy, happy characters or catchy tunes. It’s just soothing sights and sounds for quiet time. A lot of babies are quieted by classical music, and I’ll even put it on when my older kids gets rowdy – it works wonders to quiet kids’ moods. Try adding this to your routine if your baby has trouble settling down.

Shushybye Baby: Bedtime Stories & Songs
This is a great pick for music lovers, especially the ones who are growing out of Sweet Dreams. The Shushies (colorful plush characters a bit reminiscent of a cross between muppets and Teletubbies) use original songs and bedtime stories to help kids get into to sleepytime mode. It all presents the idea of bedtime as a very positive thing, and the songs are likely to have your kids singing along before long. Of course, this is because they feature a lot of repetitiveness, which is great for kids’ learning but can grate a bit on adult ears. Then again, the most engaging kids’ shows are that way (Barney, anyone?).

Baby Class: Building Blocks of Learning
This is a great choice if you don’t want to spring for the whole series just yet. It contains an assortment of episodes and characters from the BabyFirst line. Numbers Around the Globe, Number Time, Widget and His Wonder Machine, and Number Farm all teach basic number and counting skills, Shape A Migs work on shapes (obviously), The Wordies explore new words, Ready Dress Go! focuses on reasoning and planning. It’s a great introduction to BabyFirst TV, and I love that it offers a variety of different learning building blocks in one handy DVD.  The shows flow easily from one to the next, but you will find that some of the shows appeal to a range of ages, while others really only work for the very young. It is nice to have one DVD that will grow with your kids, or even one that will appeal to both your baby and your preschooler, if you have more than one.

The Best of Baby First: An Educational Adventure
Like Baby Class, this is a compilation disc that features a variety of characters from the BabyFirst TV line. Since only eight DVDs are being released at this time, you may not be able to find a full DVD of your child’s favorite just yet. Or maybe you haven’t seen any yet, and just want an introduction to BabyFirst TV. Either way, you’ll find a variety of characters, from Fred & Fiona to Tillie to Yoyo & Peanut, and you’ll also get a lot of learning skills like vocabulary and problem solving, as well as imagination and creative expression. This one is great if you want to engage your preschooler, as the characters are engaging and fun for that age. They won’t even know they’re learning.

The BabyFirst TV DVD series is not going to replace one on one time with your child, nor will it turn them into the next Albert Einstein. What it will do is give you peace of mind that when you do choose to let your kids have some screen time, it is quality screen time. You’ll still be counting and singing and humming lullabies with your child; but these shows will help present the basic building blocks of education in a way young children will understand…and love.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)