In the Night Garden



Gentle, sweet series aimed at very young preschoolers.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Rhymes and songs encourages kids’ interaction and retention of words and phrases. Some segments include basic counting as well.

Positive messages

The show has a calming effect on preschoolers designed to ease them into bedtime. Storylines reflect experiences preschoolers will relate to, like picking flowers, washing faces, and playing hide and seek. Sometimes the characters must practice determination to overcome some small trouble, like learning how to jump.

Positive role models

The Night Garden characters are gentle, kind, and respectful of their friends.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

The show has inspired a marketing line of toys, books, and puzzles.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this gentle series is designed to ease preschoolers into a bedtime routine, and although the use of TV for this purpose isn’t recommended by experts, it certainly has its intended soothing effect on very young viewers. The bright, friendly characters interact in a way that tots will relate to, and the storylines center on kid-appropriate situations like trying to learn a new skill and helping a friend solve a problem. Rhymes and songs will get kids singing along, and some stories incorporate basic skills like counting.

What's the story?

IN THE NIGHT GARDEN is a British preschool series that centers on the colorful inhabitants of a fantastical forest. Each episode opens with a scene of a young child being lulled to sleep -- setting the scene for its soothing tone -- which leads into a visit to the garden where Makka Pakka (Justyn Towler), Igglepiggle (Nick Kellington), and Upsy Daisy (Rebecca Hyland) live and play among friends like the pint-sized Pontipines and the jovial Tombliboos. As the characters have very limited vocabulary (most of their speech is toddler-like babbling), their movements are narrated by Derek Jacobi.

Is it any good?


Parents surely will notice that this mild show bears strong resemblance to another British series that cast bright, costumed characters, and in fact In the Night Garden is produced by two of the creators of Teletubbies. The show emphasizes friendly, loving relationships, and its soothing tone ensures that it will bring preschoolers down from their naturally frantic pace.

This is intended to be a bedtime show that will relax kids for a restful night’s sleep, but the use of any TV show in this capacity is iffy at best. What’s more, the show’s decidedly juvenile characters and scenarios ensure it’s probably best suited for toddlers or young preschoolers, which then raises the weighty issue of when it’s appropriate to allow very young kids to watch TV at all.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about these unusual characters. Kids: Do you like Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka, Igglepiggle, and their friends? Which are your favorites? How are they alike or different from the types of characters you see in other shows?

  • Kids: How does the characters’ lack of linguistic skills affect your ability to understand their actions? How does the narrator help you? What clues can you take from the characters’ movements or expressions to understand what they’re thinking?

  • Kids: How do the characters show that they are friends? What kinds of things do they do for each other to be helpful or friendly? How do you help your friends?

TV details

This review of In the Night Garden was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 16 years old Written byleopardlegs August 9, 2011


this gave my kids nightmares for a month
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written bywhaleoh4060 March 25, 2011

VERY un-educational

I learned how to speak gibberish. This rots the brain. Upsy-Daisy is a very bad role model and kisses everyone she can find. The yellow midget tries to clean everything he can find. And Iggle-Piggle sucks on a blanket. My watched this and she STILL sucks on a blanket and she's five! Study has proved many toddlers learn words from television. Watching this is BAD FOR THEM! They will not learn to speak. PARENTS BEWARE!!!!!!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 10 years old March 7, 2014
This show is okay. I liked it from the age of 2-4, but then I realised that none of the characters spoke actual English.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Special Needs Guide