Friday, February 02, 2007

Kickin' it, preschool

When this DVD arrived for review, I frankly did not have high hopes. Opie's attention span for television is limited to the length of the Bob the Builder theme song ("Baaaa the Bill-er: Ca' we fissit? Yeh we CAN!"). And Jo, while a complete sucker for anything emanating from a screen, firmly resists attempts to break the fourth wall. She refuses to help Dora or Diego by jumping over crocodiles or rowing boats or even peeling bananas, no matter how much they ask for ayuda. She won't even lift a finger to push the buttons on Shane and David's remote.

So the first time we watched "the soccer ball show," as the kids later named it, I wasn't surprised that she didn't budge from her usual position on the couch. But she wasn't immune to the DVD's catchy songs and friendly footage of kids at play (this isn't an instructional video--more of a showcase for the sport). A few hours later, she found a dying helium balloon on the floor of her bedroom. She immediately scouted out a goal--aha! a kid-sized table was perfect--and booted that balloon into it like a mini Mia Hamm. Gooooaaaaal!

Opie, too, surprised me by paying attention to nearly all 30 minutes of the DVD at our first viewing. He loved watching the big kids and guffawed as a small dog, complete with tiny sneakers on all four paws, scampered after a batch of black-and-white balls with the smaller children.

The next day, both kids cheered when I asked if they wanted to watch the show again. This time, I tossed a small soccer ball onto the floor near the TV. That did it: They were on their feet for most of the length of the show. (Luckily for Julie, Kristen and the folks at athleticBaby, neither of my kids has a strong enough leg to do any damage to my furniture--yet.)

So the mayberrymom family gives athleticBaby: Soccer! two big toes up. (Grooooaaaaan.)

What we liked: Seeing a diverse group of real kids playing (I especially appreciated the butt-kicking girls' team doing drills at soccer camp) and the fun music. We're still singing "Acappella Acappella sing to us/You're the best vocal hippopotamus," although we're not entirely clear on a) whether those words are anywhere close to right and b) what the song has to do with soccer.

What we didn't: Lessons on colors and numbers shoehorned into the mix. I give the creators an E for effort for trying to work in some learning, but these vignettes felt forced and weren't necessary.

Who it's for: Believe me, the irony of using a passive medium to encourage kids to be active is not lost on me. So although it's labeled for babies 3 months and up, I'd probably save this for a child who's at least old enough to walk, so you can encourage him to get up and move. It would be ideal for a little sib who's dying to join an older brother or sister on the soccer field, or for a first-timer who'll soon be joining a team. (After watching, Jo expressed interest at strapping on some shinguards herself this spring.)

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nomotherearth said...

That sounds cool! I actually like videos that inspire kids to be active, because, hey, if they're going to watch tv, it might as well be something that promotes activity.

Have you seen "Happy Healthy Monsters"? We really like that one at our house.

mamatulip said...

Julia loves this video. She asks to watch it all the time. I can't get that Acapella song out of my head.

Lady M said...

Interesting. It is pretty funny to have a DVD encourage kids to be active, but whatever works!

Karianna said...

Sounds very cool. My toddler already breaks the furniture while attempting sports, but I bet he'd get a "kick" out of this.