A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this live-action musical program encourages preschoolers to exercise with coordinated movement and learn about their own emotional and social development (as well as a few silly dance moves and songs about the animal kingdom). The format is very interactive; in every segment, characters speak directly to viewers, asking them to participate and join the dance party.
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What's the story?
ANIMAL JAM, which usually airs first thing in the morning, is a high-energy, hoof-tapping, paw-clapping, tail-wagging dance show for the preschool crowd. Based out of their TV-studio set, the show's zoo-animal puppet hosts are vibrant, exotic, and even a little nutty. They make the show highly interactive by speaking directly to viewers, encouraging little ones to bop along and \"bust some moves.\" Real-life kids can be seen in the background performing alongside the puppets, modeling the dance moves for kids at home. And at the end of every show, the hosts ask viewers to recall and combine all the moves they learned so they can participate in the final dance party -- complete with confetti, balloons, and even a break-dancing elephant.
Is it any good?
Animal Jam's pop culture-infused style aims to be both hip and fun; the puppet hosts' style isn't all that different from that of their MTV VJ contemporaries. Even though preschoolers are the target audience, the puppets use cool lingo that may not make sense to the younger set. So, while Animal Jam does base many of its skits and songs around preschoolers' social and cognitive development, the combination of slang, catchy tunes, and zany dance moves at times seems to override this effort.
If your child tends to wake up with tons of energy, Animal Jam could be a great way to start the day. But kids who take a while to get going will probably want to start with something calmer. Nonetheless, this program does have its place in children's television because it encourages exercise, physical play, and body coordination. All in all, Animal Jam is a zany dance party where preschoolers can dance their morning away.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the various emotional themes discussed in each episode and how they relate to a preschooler's changing social world. Questions like "How can you express how you feel with kind words?" and "How can you tell how others are feeling?" can encourage children to consider other people's feelings in their social interactions.
Themes & Topics
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