It is HOT here in Texas and so we spend most of our summer afternoons indoors. We have activities to do but sometimes we just want a video to watch, and we don’t always want the “zone out” videos that don’t have special value.

Are you looking for some quality videos for your kids when you are stuck inside due to weather (be it extreme heat of the summer, like here in Texas right now, or the bitter cold of deep winter)? I wanted to share a couple videos I like that I feel bring a little more exposure to other areas of life, sort of expanding my son’s horizons so to speak.

Classical Baby: The Poetry Show

Since we don’t have cable or satellite, I wasn’t even aware of the Classical Baby shows on HBO until one day when I saw the Classical Baby: The Poetry Show video at our local library. I decided to check it out for our then 2 year old son.

The Poetry Show is a compilation of favorite poems from William Shakespeare, Robert Louis Stevenson, John Keats, Robert Frost, Woodie Guthrie, Gertrude Stein, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Langston Hughes. Most of the poems are recited by famous personalities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Susan Sarandon, Andy Garcia, John Lithgow, and others; William Carlos Williams reads his own poem “This is Just to Say”. Adding to the greatness is colorful animation and music as well as footage of real elementary age children discussing poetry. I was amazed by these children and the depth of their thoughts!

Not being a big poetry fan myself, I was curious what the show would be like for our young son. I was pleasantly surprised when he was GLUED to it and absolutely loved it! After watching it several times, he could almost recite the entire poem “Grassy Grass Grass” by Woodie Guthrie (which happened to be my favorite one on the show). He loved it when he was 2 and he still likes watching it now (he’s 4).

This is definitely a recommended video to introduce your child to the world of poetry and all it offers. I know if left to me, my son would not have had this preliminary knowledge about poetry. And I have to admit that I developed a new respect and appreciation for poetry and I really liked all of it! If poetry was presented this way when I was in school, I might have had a different appreciation for it all my life.

My only complaint is that I wish the video were longer, or that they made more volumes of “Poetry Shows” featuring more poems and poets.

Although I have not seem them, there are other videos in the series: Classical Baby 3-Pack – Music, Art & Dance.

  • The Music Show features an animal orchestra playing Tchaikovsky, Bach, Mozart and Copland, plus many other great classical composers.
  • The Art Show features some of the world’s greatest works of art accompanied by some great classical music. The exhibit features works by Monet, Degas, Pollock, Van Gogh, plus many other masterpieces.
  • The Dance Show features animals dancers showing impressive moves inspired by George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Pilobolus, plus many other great choreographers.

YogaKids Ages 3-6 (Vol. 2 ABCs)

Having heard great things about this video and wanting to bring some form of exercise to our son, I bought this Yoga Kids video a few years ago.

The video features the instructor, Marsha Wenig, and a group of children outside in various scenic locations with their yoga mats. Starting with the letter ‘A’, a topic is introduced (often with additional information) and then the related pose is demonstrated and performed. You get to see the instructor do the pose as well as the children. For example, A is Alligator and there is a very brief intro showing an alligator followed by instructions and demonstration on how to do the “alligator” pose.

The instructor’s voice is very calm and soothing and her manner of speaking to the children is perfect (she does not “talk down” to them). The overall vibe is very positive throughout the video, as would be expected in a yoga video. The pace is just right, the poses are child-friendly (of course) and creative and vary between standing, sitting, and laying down poses. My son is all about cars so he loves the “D” move: driving! I was super impressed by the entire video.

My son was not quite 3 when we first tried this and he didn’t take to it right away. So I put it away for a few months and tried it later. He enjoyed it and got maybe halfway through it before his short attention span overcame him. Now that he’s older he can make it even farther through the video. He likes it and attempts most of the moves. We do it together and that makes it more fun for him – and great for me, too!

Depending on your child, they may not be ready for this right at age 3, or they may be ready at age 2 – you never know! Keep trying and I’m sure you will one day find them loving this, too! What a great family activity for promoting exercise.

Although we only have Volume 2 (ABCs) here are all the videos in the series:

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What other videos do you like that would “expand horizons”? Leave a comment and share!

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Wendy – ParentingTips365.com

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