As Toddler L gets older, I’m having to carefully consider what she watches on TV. She’s at an age where her little sponge-like brain absorbs everything – and I mean everything. I wasn’t too fussed when she was younger, but I’m now well aware that things like TV are big influences on her tiny mind. As such, I’m starting to ditch some of the things she’s previously watched in favour of better quality viewing.
We’ve always been a CBeebies household, with the occasional bit of Milkshake thrown in. However, over the last six months or so, we’ve expanded our horizons massively with kid’s shows on Amazon Video, Netflix, DisneyLife, Hopster and, most recently, Now TV. This hasn’t been about looking to keep her occupied with TV 24/7 – far from it. It’s instead been about trying to find shows that have a good balance between education and entertainment.
The classic example is something like Peppa Pig which she loves. When she was younger, I was happy for her to watch it – mainly because it was simple, colourful and always on. However, as she’s now three, I don’t really want her to see a bratty, rude pig like Peppa as a role model. Similarly, it hardly paints a positive image of dads, with Daddy Pig portrayed as a useless, lazy slob.
Anyway, I digress. My point is that I’m looking for shows which aren’t just about passing time. I want them to be fun, entertaining and teach her something – be it practical things like numbers and language, or deeper things like the importance of friendship and diversity.
Something we’ve recently been introduced to is kid’s TV show ZooMoo. I’d not heard of it before, but it’s actually a full TV channel in parts of Asia, America and Latin America. As part of their recent launch in the UK, they got in touch to see if we wanted to check out their shows. I say “we”, but with a demographic of three to six-years old, it was really aimed at Toddler L – although that didn’t stop me watching!
The premise of the channel is that ‘it’s all animals, all the time’, meaning that every show is dedicated to animals in some way. This means shows are either about animals, presented by puppet animals or use animation centred around animal characters. As an animal-lover herself, this sounded right up Toddler L’s street – and has proved to be so.
You can get ZooMoo a few different ways. We’ve been watching it through NowTV with a kids pass on our Xbox One S. Had we not downgraded our Virgin Media package earlier in the year, we could have also accessed it via the On Demand section through Virgin. If you’re a Sky customer, you can get it on demand in Kids Vids, Sky Go and the Sky Kids app. Both NowTV and Sky have five ZooMoo series, whereas Virgin has eight series.
What’s On ZooMoo?
Obviously, I can only speak from a NowTV perspective, but I doubt there’s much variation across the platforms. You access ZooMoo in the Kids section – either by searching or scrolling through the categories. As mentioned, there are five series on NowTV, all of which focus on something different. Over the last month or so, we’ve been familiarising ourselves with the cast of furry characters and the entertaining an educating shows on ZooMoo.
StoryTime (Series 1) sees Mom Orang’ read a different animal-themed bedtime story to Baby Orang’. Rather than being real-life orangutans who have been taught to talk, the two characters in StoryTime are actually puppets. When they’re not on screen, the show cuts to pages from the book to help visually tell the story. Set in Baby Orang’s bedroom, each of the 32 episodes are just five minutes long. If only all toddler bedtimes could be that short, eh!
Each episode focus on a different story. Some of these are well-known, such as The Tortoise And The Hare, whereas others I’d not heard of before, such as How The Elephant Got Her Trunk or The Cockroach And The Frog. Either way, it makes no difference and Toddler L will happily sit and watch story after story.
ZooMoosic (Series 2) gives your kids the chance to sing and dance to animal-focused songs. Each episode is an original song related to a different animal – penguins, sheep, beavers, octopuses, sharks etc. They’re different in terms of format – I assume that this is because they have been pulled together from various shows to create a ‘best of’ series. This means that there’s animal puppets, real-life animal footage, cartoons and kids dancing.
There are nine episodes in total and I’m pretty sure we’ve watched each one multiple times now. I say “watch”, but I actually mean Toddler L has danced along to them, rather than watched. We tend to use YouTube for things like nursery rhymes which she enjoys doing actions to, so ZooMusic is another option we utilise.
Origanimals (Series 8) follows the A4 wildlife rescue team’s adventures on Planet Origami. As you can probably figure out from the name, these aren’t normal animals. Instead, the CGI animation series sees characters such as Ryan Rhino, Fiona Fox, Zoe Zebra (no, not the same one from Peppa Pig) and Khye Koala made out of paper – or card, it’s difficult to tell.
The show is based around the A4 team using their problem-solving skills and individual talents to help out other animals in need – often with creative origami solutions. The show is colourful, entertaining and promotes good traits such as friendship and working together. However, for whatever reason (maybe because it’s aimed at the older 4-6 age group), it’s not been a show that’s particularly grabbed Toddler L’s attention – a shame considering that there’s 52 15 minute episodes in total!
Pop Fiction (Series 9) features Ninja Gorilla – or Ninji to his friends – who uses his awesome balloon modelling skills to help tell different animal-themed stories. Although Ninji is actually someone dressed up in a gorilla suit (spoiler alert!) the stuff he can do with balloons is pretty incredible – I hope to see him on Britain’s Got Talent in the near future.
Anyway, with the help of a narrator who asks questions and keeps the episodes flowing, Ninja Gorilla uses his balloon animals to recount stories. For instance, in The Hungry Shark episode, he creates things like a manta ray, a jellyfish, an octopus and a shark to act out the story. In addition to this, there are also cut aways which use real-life animal footage to give you a bit of factual information – I didn’t know manta rays didn’t have teeth, for instance!
There are 29 episodes in the series, each lasting around seven minutes in duration. Although it revolves around telling a story, much like StoryTime, it’s definitely targeted at slightly older kids. It’s less ‘calm before bed’ and more fast-paced, action-packed and entertaining. Again, Toddler L will happily sit and watch episode after episode.
Boing the Playranger (Series 13) follows Boing the lion and his friends as they patrol the colourful playground village of Playville. The rangers have some special talents up their sleeves as they help with any problems – each animal character is based on a playground ride and is able to transform into that ride when they need to.
The playrangers are led by lion Boing who can use springs to jump. Then his crew consist of Bing Bing the hippo who can turn himself into a merry-go-round and Mongba the monkey who is able to extend his arms like a climbing frame and Tory the rabbit who can make her ears into a see saw.
The CGI animated show has 52 episodes in total, with each being around 15 minutes long. Toddler L really likes Boing and it’s probably the thing she’s watched the most on ZooMoo. It’s colourful, playful and illustrates concepts like teamwork, safety and adventure which is all good for her age range.
We’ve found plenty to watch on ZooMoo and a nice mixture of different types of content. Although ZooMoo is animal-focused, it doesn’t feel like it’s animal overkill. For instance, there’s puppetry, cartoons and live footage, so it feels like a good mix.
At three-years old, Toddler L is at the younger end of the target audience, but this hasn’t impacted her enjoyment – she’s more than happy to watch all of the five series, although she does have her preferred shows. It’s really appealed to her, and with the balance of information, education and entertainment, I’m more than happy for her to watch.
ZooMoo Have An App Too
In addition, we’ve downloaded the ZooMoo app, which is available for free on via iTunes and Google Play. Although it has the ZooMoo name, it’s actually a standalone product. It’s an educational game featuring animals, but isn’t really related to any of the TV shows we’ve watched. In addition, there’s no in-app purchases or advertising, which I think is particularly important when letting your kid loose with your phone.
Through the interactive app, kids are able to learn and play at the same time. They’re transported to ZooMoo island where they can explore different regions and learn about the animals in those regions, for instance, alpacas and brown bears in the mountains. They can then do things like click on the animal which brings up a fact card with extra information, then do stuff like feed them, move them around and cover them in mud.
It’s a nice little app that Toddler L has enjoyed playing with. At her current age, she’s able to do select the different regions, move animals around and feed them – all of which improves her understanding and knowledge. An older kid would be able to get something a bit more out of it, both in terms of learning and the fact that they can collect different cards.
Have you checked out the ZooMoo TV shows or app before? If not, give them a go and let me know what you think!
Disclosure: This is a commissioned post in collaboration with ZooMoo.