Edutaining Kids .COM                        2009 Holiday Gift Guides for Kids
Guide to Children's Products for Fun & Learning

 

Article:    Our Favorite Videos for Babies & Toddlers 

 
 

While videos for babies were unthinkable not too long ago, all that has changed. A flood of baby videos has entered the scene, and "baby videos" are now very much a reality. 

When used sparingly and with care, these developmental videos can actually be quite useful for both entertaining and educating young children. Caregivers are always encouraged to stick around and react along with their young children while they enjoy the stimulating sights and sounds.

Some of our favorite baby/toddler videos come from the Baby Einstein series. Each video in the series features mostly classical music excerpts, parades of toys and fascinating objects (such as carousels and lava lamps), and live-action scenes. Humor and surprises are sprinkled throughout. The variety in presentation of early learning concepts in these videos is impressive. Another bonus is the support the videos get from the books and toys (based on the videos).

While the whole Baby Einstein line is worthwhile, a few stand out for us:

Baby Shakespeare, for example, features poems and rhymes and a myriad of other early learning concepts. Some lovely live-action nature vignettes play from time to time, and words occasionally appear onscreen.

Baby Van Gogh introduces children to the wonderful world of color and art. This video is our favorite of the series. It features Van Gogh's artwork, humorous hand puppet sequences, and the series' trademark collection of stimulating toys in action. 

Baby Dolittle: Neighborhood Animals features familiar animals and their antics—a sure-fire baby pleaser! 

[Buy Baby Van GoghBaby ShakespeareBaby Dolittle - Neighborhood Animals at Amazon.com]

A word about the Baby Einstein series: The Baby Einstein series features a familiar format, although some videos are invariably going to appeal more to little viewers than others. Some followers of the series prefer the original videos, before Disney came along and backed the whole project. In some ways, the original titles seem a little more sincere. The production quality has improved, although little ones are not as discriminating as adults in this respect, and don't seem to mind either way. We find both "stages" of the series engaging in different ways. Some specific videos in the series are more engaging to individual children, simply because they are more attuned to the featured content. As such, parents will need to experiment a little in order to determine which ones capture their child's interest. Renting a few of the titles may be a good idea before committing to buy. 

We have our own preferences, and both Baby Van Gogh and Baby Shakespeare are our personal favorites. We found a virtually unanimous positive response to these videos by our young testers. We find that there were more funny surprises (such as peek-a-boos and silly antics) in the earlier editions in the series (with the exception of the very first title, now called Language Nursery). However, every child is different and responds uniquely to the various titles in the series.

 

The So Smart! series is another good choice for tots. These videos are very creative in their presentation of early learning concepts. While better suited for patient children, these videos are artistic, original, and very relaxing. All are set to soothing soundtracks of carefully selected classical music.

So Smart! Volume 3: All About Letters is our favorite. It presents each letter of the alphabet along with objects or verbs that begin with that letter sound in creative and stimulating ways. Parents will need to be on hand to name the letters, while the video provides classical music as the audio backdrop.

So Smart! Volume 1: Stimulating Sights and Sounds builds on the fact that young babies are especially attracted to black and white images and designs. It presents truly engaging visuals of these designs in animated sequences that young children will love. As the video progresses, the designs become more complex. 

So Smart! Volume 2: All About Shapes presents basic shapes (circles, triangles, squares, etc.) that animate in fun ways. With this intriguing video, kids easily see how shapes are found in abundance in the world—in cars, houses, etc. [Buy So Smart - Triplets at Amazon.com]

Other Notable Videos for the Very Young

A notable series that introduces foreign languages to the very young is the Bilingual Baby series (see our full review). Each volume is well-organized and flows logically, introducing common words and then phrases along with live-action sequences that demonstrate the new vocabulary. The series is well done, though it is quite low-key -- not all babies and toddlers will have the patience to watch the whole video. Those that do, however, will learn quite a bit. Volumes for a number of languages, including French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and more, are now available. [Buy Bilingual Baby, Spanish or Bilingual Baby, FRENCH, Vol 1 at Amazon.com]

The Baby Songs series will grow with your child all the way to Kindergarten! The latest Baby Songs title, Baby Songs: Silly Songs, is especially fun. Children love this series! The basic format features live-action music videos strung together with short animated clips that introduce each new song. Hap Palmer's songs are featured -- they are wholesome and gentle, but always manage to get kids actively involved. [Buy Baby Songs DVDs or Baby Songs Videos at Amazon.com]

Baby's First Impressions series is "impressive" for its focus — each video is entirely dedicated to a particular learning concept. Whether it's numbers, letters, shapes, or opposites, each of its many volumes aims to teach and entertain at once. [Buy Baby's First Impressions Videos or Baby's First Impressions DVDs at Amazon.com]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related Links:

   

 

 

 

 

Guides to:  SoftwareVideos - DVDsBooksToysMusic,  & Video Games
Guides by Age:  ToddlersPreschoolersKids 5-8Kids 9-up, Families
Index to All Reviews    Index to All Articles
Shopping Guide   Family Internet Guide

What's New   Contact Us   About Us   Search
EdutainingKids.com Main