Advantages Bright and bubbly
Disadvantages Annoying in places
|How good are the presenters?||Outstanding|
|How good is the content?||Good|
|How does it compare to similar programmes?||Good|
|Is it funny?||Sometimes|
|Is it dramatic?||Rarely|
|How good are the characters?||Good|
|How good is the story?||Good|
When my eldest daughter was about a year old, Mel started putting the Nick Jr channel on for her to watch during the day. Although I didn’t strictly agree with putting kids in front of a tv all day, I understood that it just wasn’t possible or feasible to play with Charisma all day. It’s also very easy to be critical of things like this when you’re at work and not stuck with the kids all day! Especially when you have the housework to do too.One of the programmes that seemed to captivate her more than most was Blues Clues.
Blue is the name of the cartoon dog that stars in this program, alongside Kevin, the presenter, who is the only permanent real-life character. Blue’s Clues is a game that Blue plays in order to tell Kevin what she wants to do.Being unable to talk, barring a variety of woofs, Blue puts three blue paw-prints on clues that will help Kevin work out what it is that Blue is talking about. Kevin wanders around doing whatever it is that he is doing (using his imagination, babysitting a pepper pot, the normal weird kind of kid’s tv thing), and stumbles across the paw prints. Once he has found a paw print he sketches the clue that it’s on in his notebook. Once he has three clues he sits down in his Thinking Chair and, with the help of the kids at home, works out what it is that Blue wants to do.
Although this show can be irritating at times, especially as Kevin suffers with the kids TV presenter’s disease of a permanent grin, it also encourages the viewers to join in.The show’s background, and the other characters that appear, are all cartoon-like, which makes things easier on the eye, and more fun for the children watching. Kevin is excellent at what he does, always smiling and singing, and always seemingly encouraging participation from others.
The show contains several songs that are repeated in every show, good for building up vocabulary and getting the kids to sing along, and the various characters and different accents, including French salt and pepper pots and a letter box that I think is supposed to be Cockney, allow children to understand that there is more than just their own particular dialogue in the world.Overall, the characters are fun, the issues that are dealt with are very much pre-school and infant age, but are played out really well. The interaction between the animation and Kevin on screen is presented well, and the interaction between Kevin and those watching the TV is also well-timed and allows for the children to have their own say as to what they think is going on.
The songs are bright and upbeat, and each show has a happy ending, with the clues being put together and worked out, before Kevin tells everyone at home how bright they are for helping him to work out the answer.Charisma is now 2½ years old, and though this doesn’t hold her attention as well as it used to, she does still join in and enjoys the show, though her favourite thing seems to be when Kevin sings the Bedtime Business Song at 7pm and 8pm, which has Charisma generally dancing and clapping along.
Blues Clues can be found on Nick Jnr (Channel 624 on Sky Digital) at various times through the day. The same episode is repeated several times throughout the day and although this can be annoying when you have the tv on and are in the same room as it, it is done purposely to help kids learn. The thought behind this is that if the programs are shown often, it helps kids to learn whatever it is that the program is trying to teach them.Each Blues Clues lasts around half an hour, and follows the same theme each time, with Kevin playing Blue’s Clues. Each episode contains several songs that are the same (“We just got a letter”, “the post is here” and “We’ve just worked out Blue’s Clues”) which breed familiarity for the kids, yet each episode is also sufficiently different enough to keep the interest level high.
Now I have no problem with my kids watching Nick Jr or CBeebies all day, as I have come to learn that there is a vast amount that they can learn from these programmes, which I would never be able to tell them. For example, although I know nursery rhymes and tips on how to teach children things, each programme on these channels is produced and aimed specifically at children.
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