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Hip Hop Harry
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 educational series uses music and rhyming to support preschoolers' language, social, cognitive, and physical development. The show's cast includes a loveable, street-savvy bear; two adult deejays; and a group of school-aged dancers (both boys and girls). Each episode features a relatable situation or problem (such as sisters on opposing dance teams), which Harry talks to the kids about against a backdrop of dance, songs, and rap. The show brings contemporary culture down to preschoolers' level with color, movement, excitement, and lots of learning.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
"When I say Hip Hop, you say Harry." About the only problem parents are going to have with HIP HOP HARRY is unconsciously repeating the show's catchy songs and rhymes (like that one) to themselves while driving, showering, or even working. Big yellow bear Harry is cool -- he raps, he dances, and he helps kids solve problems, making Hip Hop Harry a great addition to television geared toward preschoolers. Think of him as an updated Barney; Harry has the purple dinosaur's silly lovability and sweetness, but he also pops, breaks, and can rhyme just about any word.
Is it any good?
Music and dance are popular themes in many children's TV shows, from The Wiggles to Hi-5. Hip Hop Harry does a nice job of integrating the music into the show's content, using specific situations to support different areas of development. For example, the kids are split into teams for a dance contest. They face social challenges (what if I win and my sister loses?). Also, they're working hard as they practice -- earning musical reminders to drink lots of water, warm up before activities, and rest when necessary.
Hip Hop Harry features a multi-racial cast of kid dancers and actors. They all look squeaky clean and face their challenges with a level of calmness that any parent will see right through -- but preschoolers will fall for it and be genuinely interested in how the problems are solved. And with all the dancing in each episode, it shouldn't be too hard to get kids to turn off the TV afterward and start moving around.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the problems the kids in the show face in each episode. Kids, would you do everything the same way the kids do or your own way? Why? Parents, do the ways these kids solve problems in the show seem too polished and performed? Parents can also help kids learn more about hip hop. Which other genres does it come from? How is it different from other music your kids like? Kids, what kind of music really makes you want to get up and dance?
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