My children love to watch magic. Over and over and over again. They also love stories and will stop what they’re doing to hear one. Unfortunately, as much as I’d like to, I can’t always stop what I’m doing to read them a story. But eSpectacularKids can.
eSpecatacular Kids is a website filled with online children’s shows, available 24/7 (just in case you’re having a rough night). The site currently has 24 English videos and 22 Spanish ones, though they will add more on a regular basis (in fact, they’ve added more content since we were introduced to them).
Each of the ‘shows’ are only about 5 – 13 minutes, just short enough for youngsters with a shorter attention span, but just long enough for Mom to get a cup of tea or a few quiet moments to herself. They are aimed at children between the ages of 2 – 12.
The stage shows are divided into 4 content areas:
Because these are stage shows, your children are a part of the audience as well. They will feel like they are a part of the crowd in a school auditorium, library, or other location.
You won’t see any high-tech ‘stuff’ in these shows, the actors use simple props that are effective. The stories and the personality of the actors are enough to hold the attention of my children without the use of gimmicks. The shows are put on by professional actors, and they have good interaction with their audiences, even bringing them up on stage to help with the stories and magic.
My children preferred the English shows, but they did also watch a few in Spanish to see if they could pick out any of the words they’ve learned. The shows would be good for speakers trying to learn a new language. Although the speech is fast (only to non-native speakers), you really get a sense of the way it’s spoken naturally, which is important when trying to get acquainted with a new language.
My personal favourite line is from the story of “The Barking Mouse.” A Cuban story about a mouse and his sister who find themselves in a bit of trouble with a cat one day. They managed to make their way home. With Dad cowering behind Mother Mouse with the children, Mother Mouse saved the day by confronting the cat and letting out a big bark like a dog! Mother Mouse told her family, “Learn another language and you’ll live happily”.
Tristan and Kallista absolutely enjoyed watching the magic shows the most, and the laughter that came from them while watching was priceless!
Just last week severe cuts were announced to the arts here in Northern Ireland, with some programs being scrapped altogether. This video library is an easy way to help bring the performing arts directly into your home so that your children can learn to love and appreciate them. You can get a taste of their shows under the “Free Videos” section of our website.
The newest arrival on the eSpectacularKids website are the first three educational guides to the videos. You can read all about them on the eSpectacularKids blog. There are both parents and teachers guides to download. We had a peek at the one for “The Rooster Who Forgot How To Crow” and chose to make animal masks.
Tristan made himself a fox mask and Kallista made a bunny mask. They enjoyed drawing the animals, and spent 2 days carefully colouring them. Then they spent some time sneaking up on each other around the house!
My children have enjoyed their time watching these shows, and I like to see them happy. The educational guides are a nice enhancement. If there was something I could change about the shows, it would only be to brighten up the background as it can be very dark at times. It’s understandable that many locations do have dark backdrops, but that’s just my own opinion.
Tristan and Kallista would request that there also be some longer performances. When I explained that children don’t always have a long attention span, they said “but we do!” This might be something to consider for the upper age of their targeted audience in the future. Of course, the other option is just to watch a couple of videos at a time!