Up to date information about children's entertainment – film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

Archive for October, 2008

Make Halloween fun and educational

Friday, October 31st, 2008

An article in the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) newsletter caught my attention this week. It offered suggestions about how to make Halloween not so scary for preschoolers and how to use the holiday as an learning oportunity. This holiday is supposed to be fun for kids, but for little ones, the idea of ghosts, goblins and witches may be a bit over the top. Here are some of their suggestions of how parents can help fight the fright by using Halloween to teach their little ones valuable lessons.

History – Young children may not understand the implications of the origins of Halloween, but they can learn about their costumes. You and your child can gather information about their princess, witch or superhero costume by reading a book, researching together online or watching movies about it.

Arts & Crafts – Your children can sharpen their motor skills and artistic expression by creating their own mask out of paper plates, paint and glitter. Your child can cut out eye and mouth holes, paint inside the lines and match colors with glitter. Not only will they personalize their costume with a frightful mask, but also learn valuable coordination skills as well.

Learning manners – Use trick-or-treating to teach social skills to your young ones through role play. Stand on one side of a closed door and ask your child to knock from the other side. As you open the door, have your child practice saying “trick-or-treat” as you pretend to give them candy. Wait for them to say “thank you” before closing the door.

Letter and number practice – Once the night’s events are finished, use your child’s candy collection to teach a variety of lessons. Ask your preschooler to sort the candy by color, size, shape or category. Young children can sort into alphabetical piles by the first letter of the candy’s name and older kids may have fun counting or weighing their piles of candy.

These suggestions came from Dr. Vicki Folds, vice president of education and professional development for Children of America in Delray Beach, Fla. She is one of the nation’s leading child development experts with 35 years of hands-on research and experience and several published child care books including “Tray Tasking” and “Three Step Tray Tasking.” Dr. Folds is currently on the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) Consulting Editors Panel and reviews articles for its Young Children Journal as well as future book for publication.

For more, go here.

Share this page on:


Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Halloween can be an exciting time of year for many children. To help ensure they have a safe holiday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed tips for parents and caregivers. The tips cover topics ranging from costumes and safe treats, to keeping your home safe for visiting trick-or-treaters. The tips can be found in both English and Spanish at: http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/octhalloween.htm

Share this page on:

EA British Academy Children’s Awards

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
The nominations for the EA British Academy Children’s Awards have been announced.  The Awards recognise excellence in the art forms of the moving image aimed at children, from film and TV to interactive media. The Awards take place on Sunday 30 November. Explore the full list of nominations and find out more about the nineteen Award categories including this year’s BAFTA Kids Vote. Programming for CBBC and CBeebies scooped up a host of nominations, facing off against Nickelodeon UK, Disney Channel and Nick Jr.

The BAFTA Kids Vote lets children pick their favourite film, TV programme, video game or website of the last twelve months. Are you under 14? >>> Vote now

Feature film nominees include:
HORTON HEARS A WHO – Twentieth Century Fox/Twentieth Century Fox
RATATOUILLE – Pixar/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK
STARDUST – Marv/Paramount Pictures
WALL:E – Pixar/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK
Preschool animation nominees include: 

CHARLIE AND LOLA -Tiger Aspect Productions/CBeebies
LITTLE PRINCESS – The Illuminated Film Company/Five
PEPPA PIG – Astley Baker Davies Ltd/Rubber Duck Entertainment/Nick Jr/Five
ROARY THE RACING CAR -Chapman Entertainment/Nick Jr/Five

Preschool Live Action Nominees include:
GO AND BE A GROWN UP – Handle & Spout/Cartoonito
IN THE NIGHT GARDEN – Ragdoll Productions/CBeebies
THE MILKSHAKE SHOW – Milkshake Production/Five
SPACE PIRATES – CBeebies/CBeebies
Share this page on:

CYBERCHASE Episodes for Halloween

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

CYBERCHASE Spheres of Fears is part of a weeklong offering (Monday through Friday, Oct 27-31) of CYBERCHASE Halloween themed programming. Kids love Halloween, and  makes it even more fun with some surprising ways to use math while enjoying this colorful holiday. This Halloween, kids can join Digit and the CyberSquad as they try to evade the eerie creatures called the Creepers.

Spheres of Fears  Trapped in the creepy Spheres of Fears, the kids and Digit must use the principles of circles to reverse Hacker’s chaos before it is too late! Air Date: 10/27 and 10/31

Castleblanca – Hacker captures Dr. Marbles in spooky Castleblanca and the kids must master the art of collecting and organizing data in order to save him. Air Date 10/28

Trick or Treat – Hacker shows up in Control Central and when no one is looking the King of Chaos slips an alien creatures into Motherboard’s air duct. The kids get an inside view of Motherboard as they track it down. Air Date: 10/29

The Halloween Howl – The CyberSquad must “divide and conquer” in order to rescue the Mayor from Hacker’s clutches and save Castleblanca’s big Halloween Howl party. Air Date: 10/30


Check out tips to help you engage kids in the fun of Halloween while reinforcing important math concepts.

Check out tips to help you engage kids in the fun of Halloween while reinforcing important math concepts.


For fun Halloween stuff kids can do on their own, check out these cool web games and activities.

Share this page on:

Little Levi Krystosek’s Story – How Can You Help

Monday, October 27th, 2008
I am so fortunate; my life is full of surprises. Every day something extraordinary comes my way. A few weeks ago, I received this letter, out of the blue. I didn’t know what it meant but it resonated in me. This is the story about a young child who needs our help. If you can do something, please do. Even if it’s as simple as sending the family your good wishes and prayers.

Dear Ms. Ranny Levy,

There is an amazing story about a child with a rare form of dwarfism on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This family has brought a community together with hope of inspiration and a message that anything is possible. Please take a close look at little Levi Krystosek’s story. This child is going to be the key in a medical breakthrough for those suffering Jansen’s Metaphyseal Chondrodysplasia.

I met Levi Krystosek when he was four months old. Levi’s family had just lost everything in Hurricane Katrina and they were resettling into a new home. At the time, no one knew for sure what was wrong with Levi; all the doctors were stumped. This was a time of uncertainty for everyone but for the Krystosek family it was literally a new beginning, the biggest challenge of their lives.

Levi was diagnosed with Jansen’s Metaphyseal Chondrodysplasia just three days shy of his first birthday. Can you imagine not knowing what is wrong with your child for an entire year and having 12 doctors say, “I just don’t know, let’s wait and see what happens.” I can’t. Jansen’s Metaphyseal Chondrodysplasia is a very rare form of debilitating dwarfism. Levi is the 17th person in the world known to have this type of dwarfism. There are three different types of gene mutations that can cause Jansen’s. Levi is the fourth ever documented with his type of mutation. Unfortunately, Levi’s is the most aggressive.

You would think that so much devastation in such a short time would devastate such a family but not the Krystosek family. They are stronger and more determined than ever to fill their lives full of hope and promise and want to share their belief with the world that, “Anything is possible.” Levi’s mother, Dona Krystosek, spends most of her time toting Levi around to several different specialists around our nation to give Levi the best medical care possible and to also educate others, especially children, about differences in people. Her message is that we’re all the same but some just face different obstacles in life.

To raise awareness for Levi, Dona has introduced Levi to her community and they’ve rallied around Levi and truly believe anything is possible. Dona receives invitations to meet others inspired by her story and also photos and words of encouragement from people all over the world. She’s decided to share Levi’s story and blog his progress on-line. Please read Levi’s story and follow his progress at http://www.littlelevi.com/ or contact Dona Krystosek at (228) 697-4624. Because of Dona’s determination, family and community support, she has found her needle in a haystack. Dr. Craig Langman of Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago believes Levi is the perfect candidate for a wonder drug that could actually cure Levi’s symptoms. Dr. Langman and Levi’s family are currently awaiting FDA approval on this hopefully life changing drug therapy. Senator Thad Cochran is also helping any way he can. His staff has embraced Levi and his family and has invited them to Washington D.C. for a visit.

This is an uplifting story that gives people hope and encourages them to take a look at their own lives. Too many people feel overwhelmed by all the turmoil in the world in which we live today. Let’s spread some love, hope and joy and smile at what life truly has to offer. Please help us spread the word about Levi and the hope that he, his family, and others may have very soon with the FDA’s approval of this drug therapy. If I can be of any assistance, please fell free to contact me at any time.


Michele Hirata
16031 Fairway Drive
Dumfries, VA 22025

Share this page on:

Girls and Boys and Television

Monday, October 27th, 2008
The International Central Institute for Youth and Education Television recently released a new survey from Maya Gotz about gender in children’s television worldwide. Although, strong female characters are not completely absent, far more often young and adult men are the heroes in TV programmes. This international analysis of children’s television reveals an unambiguous tendency: Of all the main characters on children’s TV only 32 % are female whereas in reality, women count for 51 % of the world’s population. It begs the question: Why do we still encounter stereotypes after 150 years of feminism?

In the world’s largest quantitative media analysis of children’s TV so far the main characters of fictional programmes in 24 countries were coded. The results show a clear under-representation and stereotyped depiction of female characters worldwide.

All reports are available on “Children’s TV Worldwide

Share this page on:
Entertainment News for Kids:
Join KIDS FIRST! on Twitter Join KIDS FIRST! on YouTube Join KIDS FIRST! on Instagram Join KIDS FIRST! on Tik Tok Join KIDS FIRST! on Facebook