Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
The Kidwinks video series was a collaborative effert created by a Speech Pathologist, Music Therapist and Art Therapist to help children with speech and language development. This series consists of three DVDs along with a soundtrack CD.
Each DVD runs for twenty minutes, which is a good length to capture a child's attention. These three cover Farm, Play and Things That Go. The soundtrack has eleven tunes with a running time of under thirteen minutes.
The characters within the Kidwinks series consists of two adults known as Bobby and Katy. They wear masks on their faces and gloves on their hands. Viewers will notice Bobby has yellow gloves and Katy has pink ones. They are wearing denim overalls.
There are six children profiled in the series, three boys and three girls. I guessed their age range to be from 8 to 11 and my 13 year-old son seemed to agree with that assessment. The boys are Jacob, Tyler and Luke. Shyla, Hannah and Zoe are the girls. Zoe is in a wheelchair.
Series Summary - Designed for children to enhance their speech development and for children who may be having difficulty developing language. Kidwinks producrs can also be a useful tool for young children who are learning English as a second language.
Kidwinks Farm is my favorite DVD of the series. The kids along with Bobby and Katy arrive at a farm to see up close a cow, duck, pig, horse, chicken, goat, dog and sheep.
The terminology goes like this: see cow, pet cow, look ducks. The kids imitated the animal sounds. They were very enthusiastic around the animals. I had to turn the volume up very high to hear everyone.
I was curious about how the animals would react to the masks on Bobby and Katy and the fabric of the gloves, but the animals seemed to tolerate the children. My son Nicholas commented that he wished he could touch a pig like the one shown on Kidwinks Farm.
The marketing flyer for the Kidwinks Series mentions that "the DVDs are created for children in the early stages of speech and language development and are both educational and entertaining."
I let my neighbor borrow Kidwinks Farm to view with her two year-old grandaughter. I wanted to include the viewpoint of a girl who might fit the targeted audience. The neighbor said twenty minutes is the maximum amount for her attention span. She said it was very educational, liked the repetition with the sign language. I really think that this DVD has an appeal to all age groups.
The soundtrack has the Kidwinks theme, ball song, bubbles, everybody look this way, tickle song, on the farm and goodbye song. I must admit that I really liked listening to the soundtrack. There is no distraction of watching the kids dance around, plus the tunes have fun phrases to get hooked on.
Kidwinks Play has the children play with balls, bubbles, playdough, dolls and on the playground. The doll segment consisted of one boy and girl with Katy. The boy picked a stuffed monkey that I thought would be confusing to kids learning about dolls. He still had the monkey when they were at the playground set. The words used for dolls were - please, thank you, doll, monkey, monkey thirsty, eat please, no, doll hungry. The girl was feeding her doll.
The playdough was colorful with red, blue, green, yellow and pink. The kids also used tools to cut and make snakes with their dough. They worked with playdough after balls so they made a ball as well. The phrases used during this segment were cut playdough, cut a little piece, back and forth. Sign language was used for these phrases.
When they were at the playground set Bobby picked Zoe up out of her wheelchair to go down the slide. They showed swings and a monkey bar, but none of the children used them.
Kidwinks Things That Go is more interactive with the kids learning the sounds associated with a bus, train, boat, car, airplane and fire truck. They had toys representing these items.
I like that these DVDs are created by a team of therapists and find them for the most part to be educational. The sign language is a bonus for kids plus the repetition helps them learn language. The kids model the words and imitate the sounds, as well as they show how to play with items and pet animals gently. I like that they are only twenty minutes long.
It is not really explained why Bobby and Katy wear masks and gloves. They did not specify why Zoe is in a wheelchair and cover more awareness to her disability or illness. The kids are overly enthusiastic, which reminded me of the older kids who seem out of place on Barney.
I did not like the lack of expression on the face of the male person doing the sign language. I also did not feel using terms like - throw ball, kick ball, pop bubbles, doll hungry, eat please were really the correct way to teach language and conversation skills to children.
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