There are plenty of new video titles for children, but finding age-appropriate videos for preschoolers that they will enjoy can sometimes be a challenge. Lionsgate and HiT Entertainment have reliably provided kid-friendly titles that entertain, and four new ones are available in stores and through on-line sources.
Barney: All about Opposites is now on DVD, digital download, and on-demand. The gang gets together to teach Baby Bop the differences between stop and go, hot and cold, big and small, and other pairs of opposites that are part of their daily lives. Supporting thinking and social skills, Barney sings and dances with his friends, entertaining preschoolers as they learn. The three episodes (“Stop! Go!,” “A Little Big Day,” “It’s Hot! It’s Cold!”) are fun for one through five year olds and effectively teach the concept of opposites. The DVD includes the “Let’s Learn about Opposites” game.
If dollars (and pounds and euros) are any indicator of popularity—and, of course, they are—Thomas and his friends rule the world. For example, for the past eleven years, Thomas & Friends have been the number one license in the preschool toys category in the United States (according to The NPD Group, Inc.). In the UK, Thomas has reigned as the number one toy property for 12 years, and holds similar number one rankings in Germany and Australia. Thomas and Friends: Schoolhouse Delivery arrived on DVD, digital download, and on-demand July 10, 2012, an all-new release that teaches “loyalty, friendship, and fun with engines” to kids aged two through five. Particularly timely for those starting school in August, Thomas and Friends: Schoolhouse Delivery includes four episodes, “Diesel’s Special Delivery,” “Being Percy,” “Henry’s Health and Safety,” and “Happy Hiro,” and the DVD includes two bonus features: “The Mighty Magnet” game and “Guess Who?” puzzles, interactive features appropriate for Thomas’s two- through five-year-old audience.
The long-awaited Awesome Adventures Vol. Two is now in stores with appearances by Thomas & Friends (“Play Time,” “Hiro Helps Out”), Fireman Sam (“Floating Cart,” “When Fools Rush In”), and my personal guru, Bob the Builder (“Roley’s Rovers” “Lofty and the Monster”). Awesome Adventures Vol. Two is available on DVD, digital download, and on-demand, and features the kind of excitement preschoolers demand, including racing engines, runaway go-carts, monster chases, and thrilling rescues. Thomas, Bob, and Sam—along with their legions of friends—teach kids aged two through five important lessons on friendship, safety, cooperation, problem-solving, and (of course) getting the job done, while entertaining them.
Angelina Ballerina experiences and shares a variety of musical genres with her fans in Angelina Ballerina: Musical Moves (on DVD, digital download, and on-demand). Although we most associate ballet with classical music, Angelina Ballerina: Musical Moves introduces disco and jazz, while Ms. Mimi explores modern dance with her students. Kids aged two through seven will benefit from the DVD’s messages about friendship and social skills while celebrating dance and a birthday—woo hoo! Party time!
As a fan of what was once called “wholesome” entertainment for children, I recommend the gentle lessons all four of these home videos offer. Entertaining without overwhelming is an admirable feat, and this collection of happy, helpful heroes has mastered the task. Home video has never been an appropriate substitute for social interaction, however Angelina, Barney, Bob, et al, drive home ideas that support and encourage positive relationships, providing constructive examples that both amuse and instruct.