We wrote about some super fun stuff in 2019, and we want to make sure you didn’t miss out! Here are our must-read picks that will help you become a better parent, get you to think outside the box, and celebrate girls all over the world.
How to Raise a Kind Kid
Turns out we had been doing it all wrong! Check out our easy-to-follow tips on how to bring more kindness into both your own and your little one’s lives.
What if Santa Was a Woman?
Sure, the old guy’s got a beard and a belly. But would Christmas be different if St. Nick was actually St. Nicola? We asked a bunch of kids to give us their thoughts, and their answers were really surprising!
Empower Your Daughter
We celebrated International Day of the Girl with a blog post all about how to raise confident, self-assured girls. Find out how to give your daughter the support she needs to become all that she can be.
Happy reading! Let us know what you think!
Here we are, mid-way through January. Never mind the dark, the cold, or the “I’ll just have a club soda, thanks” comments you hear from everyone keeping it “dry” this month. Now is the time to reflect on 2019, feel proud about how far you’ve come, and get really amped up about 2020!
In the spirit of celebrating the past year (and being excited for what’s to come), we wanted to share a round up of some cool stuff we got up to in the past year…
The awards shelf in our office got more crowded (yay!), but the coolest has to be when Estelle, our co-founder and COO won the “Most Innovative Woman in Educational App Development 2019” award. Here she is doing a happy dance:
We’re also stoked to have been nominated for a Kidscreen award in the best kids-only streaming service category! Watch this space (we’re heading to Miami next month to hear the Kidscreen results). Fingers and toes crossed!
This news is as exciting as ten birthday parties at once. Except better. We made some incredible updates to make sure we’re the best we can be. The result was an amazing refreshed app, bursting with new features. We’re faster, smarter and more exciting! And the best part is that we’re just getting started. We’re committed to continually make improvements so that Azoomee can be as awesome as the kids who love it.
What’s better than one awesome company? Two awesome companies! We’ve merged with Da Vinci Media to create a global kids’ media group. This means we now have an even bigger library of games and videos to offer more than 45 million subscribers via connected TVs, linear channels, and mobile apps in over 150 countries. In a nutshell, you’ll get lots more fun, anywhere and everywhere!
Cheese. Melted cheese. Ooey, gooey, yummy, scrummy cheeeeeeeeeeese. Nothing like a fondue party to really kick off the holidays! We feasted on all sorts of melty goodness right before Christmas. What better way to prepare for holiday feasting than… a holiday feast? Yum.
We gave up guilt and grabbed some gratitude instead. It’s usually around about this time of year that we all begin to flag on the resolutions we made on New Year’s Day. So instead of setting ourselves up for failure, we decided to opt for treasuring the year ahead. In the last weeks of December, we made Rememberlutions Jars (think of them as gratitude journals, except in jar form). Anytime something cool happens, even a little thing that makes us smile, we’ll jot it down on a piece of paper and pop it into the jar. Then at the end of the year, we’ll have an easy way to cherish all the memories that made the year awesome! Check out our blog post if you’d like to give it a try: How Rememberlutions Will Save Your Year.
We hope your 2019 was great too. It’s been a rad year, and we’re excited to get into the full swing of 2020!
For those who remember Ross and Rachel busting a move to Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” to entertain their newborn daughter, or for anyone who loved hip-hop 90’s legends like Naughty by Nature, the Notorious B.I.G., or Run DMC, we’ve got some awesome news for you.
The above hip-hop artists may be far from kid-appropriate, but thankfully there’s a totally safe alternative that lets you introduce your little booty shakers to the badass beats of hip-hop and R&B while still getting a “Parent of the Year” award.
At Azoomee, we’re all about offering safe but super fun options for your kiddos. Stuff that’s a blast to watch, but actually has excellent, worthwhile value. That’s why we handpicked the ultimate hip-hop music show Urban Tails. This 26-episode series from Monster Entertainment offers a fresh approach to learning about wildlife via funky hip-hop music. Kids get a unique insight into facts about animals and nature while jamming to the beats. These short, catchy episodes fit perfectly with Azoomee’s ethos of making learning fun.
Each 2-minute music video mixes classic hip-hop with characterised animals decked out in 90’s street fashion. Stars like “Mista C-Lion”, “Sharky B” and “Flava Frog” spit rhymes that teach kids facts about their behaviour and habitat, so we’re not only laying down sick beats, we’re laying down mad knowledge too. Plus, the animation’s killer. What’s not to love about a rapping mallard duck sporting a giant gold medallion, or a grey seal flaunting a multi-coloured shell suit?
Urban Tails was created by award-winning Pink Kong Studios in Dublin, Ireland. The musical show is the company’s first original preschool series, and was developed from a pilot project made for the RTÉ short scheme in 2016.
“We’ve never had so much fun doing a series!” said Aoífe Doyle, Director & Writer at Pink Kong Studios. “It’s been a dream project, mixing our love for 90’s music and animation in one fun colourful package. Everyone involved poured a lot of love into the project, and we can’t wait for the little ones and their parents to tune in and enjoy this awesome show.”
We think Urban Tails is tight, and we hope you will too. You and your shorty can check out the old school freestyle, oversized accessories and graffiti on Azoomee now. Because learning stuff should be as fun as busting a move. Word.
Gym more. Spend less. Read to the kids every night.
Every time a new year rolls around, we suddenly make sweeping commitments to health, wealth and perfect parenting. We vow to choose kale over chocolate, to save our pennies, and we promise to get through a stack of books with the kids. We’re relentlessly virtuous… until around January 24th when most of us start to cave. We hit snooze instead of hitting the gym, we fall asleep on the sofa before storytime, and suddenly we feel like losers before the end of the month.
So instead of setting ourselves up for perceived failure, we’re choosing to say yes to positivity. We’re ditching resolutions this year and going for rememberlutions instead!
Rememberlutions are highlights of accomplishments, events, or any special memories of the year that otherwise would be forgotten. Don’t wait for something “big” to happen. Notice small wins. Get excited about them. The idea is to acknowledge happy moments as and when they come.
Making your own rememberlutions jar is as easy as getting a jar, making it your own, and then adding slips of memories every so often. We made some with our own kiddos using basic jars and a whole lot of craft supplies (most kids will agree — googly eyes make everything better!). You can keep your jar simple or slather it in pom-poms. The important thing is that it’s yours.
At the end of the year, empty the jar and read all of the special things that happened! Sort of like a gratitude journal, but in a jar. It’s a great way to get kids into the habit of paying attention to good moments. Maybe your little one tied their shoes successfully. Or got a new pet gecko and named him Gucci. Recognise these occasions by helping your kids to write them down and pop them into the jar. We think this is a lovely tradition to start with your family, to boost resilience and positivity.
We wish you a Happy New Year, and we hope you’ll have fun celebrating all the awesomeness to come!
From pebbles to poop, we’ve got three fun projects to see you through winter break:
Winter break. Two little words that bring joy to school kids across the land, and leave many grown-ups wondering how to survive. When you want at-home projects that are fun for both you and the kids, we’ve got you covered. We narrowed it down to three awesome crafts from the Azoomee app, and we promise none of them involve glitter (because the only way to get rid of that stuff is to actually move house).
Here are our top picks to stir up some fun without going stir crazy:
Create a pebble pig family
This craft is easy, fun, and the best bit is that some of the materials are probably available in your back garden! It’s all about getting out there and collecting stones – big ones for the mama and papa pigs, and tiny ones for the piglets. Kids really love hunting for just the right sizes, which means the search is as enjoyable as the activity itself.
The easy-to-get materials make this a favourite for busy parents, since all you need is a few stones, a plate, some paint and an egg carton. Why not try using the finished piggies in made-up story performances for the kids, as a replacement for ornamental reindeer, or as a table centrepiece for your festive meal (they’ll look great next to the pigs in a blanket!).
About the show
Hands Up is a series of short and uncomplicated crafts that highlight how creative you can be with household items. Excellent for when you only have a few minutes to get craft inspiration, you’ll love the straightforward instructions and inventive results. You and your kids can make panda pots out of plastic bottles, theatre puppets with balloons, dream keepers from paper plates, or even bionic hands from cardboard and straws. A lovely way to make use of extra bits and pieces you have lying around!
Make your own delicious and disgusting edible poop
Yep, that’s right. Hear us out… When you become a parent, you spend a fair amount of time dealing with poo, right? You’ll sniff butts, wipe butts, and even when they’re old enough to deal with that themselves, there’s the “did you wipe well enough?” issue. Although this is just a hazard of the job for parents, poop is actually a go-to source of comedy for kids. What kid doesn’t love a poo joke? This craft will be a hit with your kiddos, and they’ll be extra impressed if you take a bite along with them!
You’ll need chocolate bars, biscuits, golden syrup and a strong constitution, and soon you’ll be shaping your very own edible poop!
About the show
Created by the Royal Institution, ExpeRimental brings fascinating science experiments into your own home using easy-to-get materials. You and your kids can make fizzy bottle rockets, colour-changing cabbage juice, homemade parachutes, balloon car racers, rubber band cannons and even lava lamps.
ExpeRimental aims to give viewers the confidence and ideas to explore, question and test some of the fundamentals of science with children. Never considered doing science at home with the kids? Don’t worry – this show is all about simple instructions and using stuff you’ll likely have at home.
Dr. Gail Cardew, Director of Science and Education at the Ri, said the goal of the series is to “spark the natural curiosity of children at an early age through play and to set them on a lifelong course of scientific exploration and investigation.”
With ExpeRimental, you can get your kids interested in chemistry and physics through cool crafts. You might even learn something too!
Build a tabletop game
You might already have the supplies if you’re a crafting superstar, but most of us will need a trip to the store for this one. The results are worth it, though! A creative project to do with your kids, and you’ll end up with a fun game that can be played all winter long. It’s called ‘Super Slap Shot’, and it’s like table hockey, but better! Straws instead of sticks, and pom-poms instead of pucks. We think a craft that keeps on giving is just perfect for the holiday season.
*Jump on Azoomee to watch the whole episode!
About the show
Super Mighty Makers blends caring with crafting. Real kids share personal problems and the team creates a craft to help them. Like when Malik writes in to say he’d like something to keep his grandpa active, that exercises his lungs – the Super Slap Shot is the answer! Each Maker Mission focuses on designing a craft that’s fun, useful, and helps to solve a problem.
Even if you can’t source the materials, you’ll still have a great time just watching the episodes with your mini makers.
As a special holiday treat, we’ve made all of the above episodes available for FREE on Azoomee. We hope you have a great winter break, full of lots of home-made fun.
Catch you on the DIY side!
When we think of Christmas, chances are a chubby old guy in a red suit comes to mind, with his signature white beard and jolly “ho-ho-ho”. We’ve associated Christmas with this sort of benevolent masculinity because the main figure for the holidays is a man with a round belly and an all-powerful Naughty or Nice list. Just like sparkly trees and too many mince pies, Santa is so entwined with Christmas that it’s pretty hard to separate one from the other.
Granted, the idea of Santa originated from the Greek Bishop St. Nicholas, who was indeed a dude. But the commercialised Santa we’re all familiar with is a far cry from this 4th-century religious figure who gave gifts to the poor. The idea of the legendary Santa (complete with magical reindeer and sleigh) is fictional, which means his gender could have gone either way.
So we got to thinking… what if Santa was a woman?
She’s Making a List, She’s Checking it Twice…
Azoomee’s co-founder Estelle Lloyd decided to tell her youngest daughter Melusine (age 6) that actually, Lady Santa would be handling Christmas this year. Estelle’s motivation for the transition from St. Nick to St. Nicola came from her thinking about gender equality in broad terms, and actively wanting to view more things through an equal-opportunity lens.
“I started thinking about the lack of powerful female role models, and realised – even the Head of Christmas is a man,” said Estelle. “Maybe all genders should get a chance to fill those boots,” she added. “So I decided we’d welcome Lady Santa this year.”
Estelle was surprised to discover that her daughter didn’t bat an eyelid. Melusine readily accepted the news of Lady Santa and took it in her stride. We wondered if other kids would react with similar nonchalance…
The First Noel / Noelle
We chatted to several different groups of kids, and the results were interesting. Turns out, when it comes to jobs, kids don’t have preconceived notions of gender “suitability”. Across the board, kids reported that Lady Santa would be just as effective as her male counterpart.
If Santa was a woman, could she do the job?
“Yes, because girls can do anything.” -Milana, age 7
“If a boy can do it, a girl can still do it. Santa’s not just for a boy, it can also be for a girl.” -Rosa, age 8
“Yes, because if she was already a Santa she would know what to do.” -Grace, age 7
“Yes, because it does not matter what gender you are, you can be trained to do the same thing.” -Vivaan, age 8
“Yes, all that changes is that Santa is a woman. None of the magic would change.” -Shihan, age 7
“The Tooth Fairy’s a woman, and she does every single night!” -Conor, age 7
We hear you, Conor. Let’s face it, if the (female) Tooth Fairy can do 365 days straight on the job, then surely another lady could handle a gig that requires only one working day a year…
It seems kids are cool with a Lady Santa, and believe women and men are equally able to deliver. We’re delighted that the younger generation supports gender equality in the workplace!
However, when we dove in further and asked kids whether Christmas as a whole would be different, it was clear that men and women really are perceived differently. Although we asked if anything about the holiday itself would change, kids focused on fairly stereotyped assumptions of a female’s appearance, diet, and ability to take on certain occupational hazards (sleigh driving and chimney soot, to be exact).
“Nothing would change except she might rethink the outfit.” -Ava, age 9
“Christmas wouldn’t be any different apart from lady Santa wearing a nice dress and no beard!” Lucy, age 9
“If Santa was a girl, she would probably go slower, but do a better job.” -Henry, age 6
“Getting down the chimney will be a bit different because women usually care about how dirty they get… so women would be a bit slower, because of the chimneys.” -Rosa, age 8
“We wouldn’t leave cookies for Santa, but just carrots, or maybe a fruit shake.” -Isaiah, age 10
“Santa would be skinny and young… and instead of reindeer, she’d have unicorns.” -Aoife, age 9
Although kids are readily willing to accept a female Claus, most assume she’ll have stereotyped ‘feminine’ traits.
All We Want for Christmas Is…
Equal opportunities for all. And the good news is, we’re halfway there. Clearly kids are open to men and women doing the same job, but there are still obvious assumptions of gender norms. Perhaps the world could benefit from a Lady Santa, not re-imagined in a prescribed version of festive femininity, but simply as a female donning the same red suit and getting on with it. After all, if the Santa character is fictional anyway, can’t we change the rules?
We’d like to live in a world where everyone can enjoy a whole range of experiences, unrestrained by gender. This starts with us, the grown-ups. We can continue to teach our kids that girls and boys are equally capable, and that limits of any kind can impede our potential. Perhaps we can question why females are expected to be daintier and neater than males? Or why men are expected to be braver and stronger than women? Opening our minds to these questions is the beginning of change.
Whether we welcome a hero or heroine of Christmas, the result should be the same: families and friends enjoying time together over the holidays and appreciating each other.
We wish you a Merry / Mary Christmas!
We’ve got some pretty awesome news! Azoomee’s evolving – we’re changing, growing and learning, just like your little ones. We listened to kids’ feedback and made some incredible updates to make sure we’re the best we can be. The result is an amazing refreshed app, bursting with new features to foster curiosity and wonder in kids.
But the best part is that we’re just getting started! We’re amped up to continually make improvements so that Azoomee can be as awesome as the kids who love it.
Get to stuff quicker and more easily.
Pick up where you left off (don’t worry, we’ll save your space).
Like ten birthday parties at once. Except better.
Bottom line? Azoomee just got a whole lot better, and it’s just the beginning! We hope you’ll enjoy the ride!
Imagine the scene. Your kid comes back from school in a horrendous mood. They’re sporting a sour face, a grumpy attitude, and a short fuse. What do you think the kindest response is? To let it go and be patient, without any positive intervention? Or to try to turn that frown upside down with some much-needed cheering up?
Chances are you probably think the kindest act is the latter… because as parents, we usually want to see our kids smile rather than scowl. But sometimes the truly kind approach is to let kids experience bad emotions. So often, kids aren’t allowed to simply be human. We don’t let them have crappy attitudes or down-in-the-dumps days. But don’t we have those sometimes as adults?
We interviewed Ariane de Bonvoisin, an author, speaker, entrepreneur and expert coach who focuses on life skills, change, happiness and inspiration. She’s noticed that most parents don’t allow their kids to have bad days. In an effort to “fix” the situation, we often end up stifling their true feelings. The trouble is, when we do that, kids may grow up to think something’s wrong with them unless they’re always happy.
“Parents are unkind to their kids by wanting them to be different from what they actually are. The kindest act is to accept your child exactly as they are.”
A lot of people view the world in “good or bad” terms. Anger is bad, crying too much is bad. But Ariane proposes that all emotions are simply communication. We need to focus on what our children are communicating to us. All unkindness is communication, whether we are unkind to ourselves or to others.
So… how do we go about raising a kind kid?
Let’s start by first recognising what our conventional views of kindness are. We usually think of kindness in the form of outward acts towards other people – being polite to the waiter or to your grandparents, giving money to charity, holding the door open, cheering someone up, offering to wash dishes…
Sure, kids could do those things if we request it, but the true heart of being kind to others actually begins with being kind to yourself. If you want to be outwardly kind, you have to start from the inside.
“When kids know how to be kind to themselves, they will naturally be kind to others.”
Top Tips to Raise a Kind Kid
The idea of not being good enough is common for kids. Ariane tells us that self kindness is the antidote to that, but it needs to come from the parents first.
Kids need parents who are filling up their own bucket with kindness. When kids are exposed to parents who have guilt and negative self talk or self punishment, they absorb that. By positive role-modeling, parents set the scene and give children the tools they need to love themselves.
“Every parent I’ve ever met always says they just want their kids to be happy. But we don’t really help our tiny humans with that goal…instead, we project lack onto them. Everything becomes about performance and what is expected of them.”
Parents too often are focused on what kids are missing or not doing, or what expectations they haven’t met. Ariane suggests that on average, parents do not compliment enough. A good rule of thumb? Parents should try to give six compliments to every request for a change in behaviour.
Kindness is a way of being, but it’s also just a healthy emotional state. Sadness and anger are both incredibly healthy emotional states, too.
Ariane believes all kids (and grown-ups!) are kind and unkind. So don’t expect your child to be kind all the time! All emotions are welcome. Kids need to know they’re in a safe space, as opposed to getting in trouble for being unkind.
She advises that we need to teach kids humanity skills. It’s ok to be angry, sad, anxious, etc. Accepting all our emotional states is one of the first steps of self-kindness.
“Feelings are like clouds in the sky. They’ll move through you.”
It’s important for kids to recognise that feelings shift and that they don’t define who they are. Just because you’re sad now doesn’t mean you will be forever. A bad day today doesn’t mean tomorrow will also be gloomy.
Ariane practices a “Wrap up the Day” exercise with her son, Everest (age 6). At bedtime she asks her son if he has any emotions he’d like to let go of. She finds out so much about his day this way! If he has any yucky feelings, he sometimes gives them a name or a shape. Ariane takes deep breaths with him while she pretends to “pull” out the negative emotions from his body. Then her son lets her know when he’s back to feeling calm on the inside.
We think that’s a wonderful way to fall asleep peacefully.
“Don’t ask why someone was mean. Instead ask what happened to them. Remember: hurt kids, hurt others.”
Kids aren’t always the nicest, right? So what do you do when nasty comments arise? Ariane points out that underneath unkindness is always a cry for help. She suggests that we need to get to the root of the issue to truly understand. But it’s also important to arm kids with an active response to unkindness.
Ariane teaches kids to “Shield Up” and imagine an invisible shield that only lets in love and kindness. This gives kids a tool kit to use when they get into difficult situations. If someone is unkind, kids can choose to let the comments bounce off their shields.
“Teaching kids that this is a kind world — that’s revolutionary. The more we do that, the more kids will see and go out into the world expecting kindness.”
Most parents speak of how unsafe it is in the world, and want to shelter their kids. But protection is not the answer. Instead, we need to give them a model of the world that’s kind, loving and safe. Yes, some people choose to do bad things, but we can still have compassion for them.
“You get what you focus on. What you focus on expands.”
If we all focus on looking for the good in people and being kind to ourselves and others, perhaps our world will be a whole lot kinder. And that’s definitely something to smile about.
If dragging your kids away from devices results in tantrums even bigger than the great outdoors, we can relate. Parenting in our tech-driven culture can be an uphill battle (without the actual hills). At Azoomee, we care about instilling nature appreciation in kids, and this is how we do it.
82% of 5-7 year-olds go online for around 9 ½ hours per week. Combine that with school, home-work and stuff like ballet, karate, and those pesky negotiations over tooth brushing, and it can become tricky to find time to stop and smell the (real) roses.
That’s why we’ve carefully selected several shows that inspire kids to explore both the online and offline world.
We’re proud to have chosen Siyaya because it’s so unique in its format. Kids get to see parts of the world they might not otherwise as they follow the adventures of a group of teens who’ve never travelled beyond their own city limits. Siyaya takes us to fascinating places in and around South Africa’s national parks, and lets real kids investigate and organically react without a script.
A friendly guide named Oompee, who’s part nutty professor, part fearless ranger, leads the kids and shares his incredible nature knowledge along the way. The journeys are raw, honest, and exciting as the kids explore caves and wild rivers, abseil down mountain cliffs, and meet untamed creatures.
We love that Siyaya doesn’t shy away from dangers and fears. It embraces nature at its wildest, and there’s no escaping the sense of wonder that comes with that.
But you don’t have to go big to grab kids’ attention. We selected Bushwhacked Bugs because it heads into back gardens and playgrounds, where even the tiniest things can be totally epic! In this series, real kids search for bugs and discover the incredible creatures that live right under their noses. It’s inspiring to realise that you don’t need to travel far to explore cool stuff. Sometimes the most interesting discoveries are made right outside our own homes.
But it’s not just breath-taking scenery or live-action creepy crawlies that could amp up your kid’s interest in nature. We fell in love with the animated series Wild Kratts because it combines science education with mystery and comedy, while visiting animal habitats around the globe. It’s goofy and cartoony at times (which we adore!), but it’s always scientifically accurate.
Just remember that you don’t have to make huge changes to make a meaningful difference in how your kids feel about nature. Baby steps are a great way to go.
Snag a ten-minute family walk after dinner, and be cool that your kiddo came along to “do it for the gram”.
It’s not about having to choose either online or outdoors. It’s about helping our kids move easily through all walks of their modern lives, from screen to green and everything in between.
It’s that time of year. Your kid’s begging for a £30 costume that’s so cheaply made, you know it’ll only last for the one night it was designed for. You’re too exhausted to put up decorations, so you buy a bag of those little plastic spiders and toss them over the dining table – job done! And most importantly, you’re hoping that the yoga class you manage to get to once a month has given you enough namaste willpower to make it through hours of trick-or-treating.
As terrifying as all of the above sounds, Halloween is just one day in the calendar. You’ll get through it. But there’s still something lurking in the shadows of your mind that’s far more frightening than ghosts and goblins. Even scarier than the almighty meltdown your kid had after devouring 17 different sweets in half an hour.
Parenthood. Now that’s what’ll keep you up at night.
There are no guide books, no one set of rules. It can feel like unchartered territory, where anything and everything can happen, at any time. And it’s not just about tackling the unpredictability of raising young kids. Of course that wears you out. But you’re also trying to navigate a tech-driven world where your little ones can hop online and stumble upon things that absolutely aren’t meant for innocent eyes.
Parenting today inescapably involves overseeing kids’ behaviour both offline and online. Pretty much every kid these days has access to a device, but even with controls and settings, it’s impossible to monitor your little web-wanderer’s every move. Negative influences are ample and pervasive, which means in the flash of a second, your kiddo can see things they can’t unsee.
The even bigger trouble too, is that once kids are free to roam online, it’s not just the stuff they see that’s the issue. It’s who or what they interact with. Kids may encounter cyber bullying, cyber predators, phishing, accidental downloads of malware, or even falling for scams.
Basically, letting your kids loose online can be the stuff of nightmares for parents.
This is the very foundation of why Azoomee was created. To offer a safe space where kids can be kids. We aim to give you all the amazing content your little ones love, in one big, wide digital world that they’re welcome to explore. We carefully hand select every single thing. From action-packed games to inspiring videos and DIY projects, kids get the online freedom they crave, while you get the security and assurance you need.
Azoomee knows it takes a village to raise exceptional humans. That’s why we’re in this together. Strapped in beside you on this crazy, beautiful, scary-as-ever, wondrous, roller coaster. We’d like to be a meaningful portion of your parenting process. And we hope to be a feel-good part of your day, in a way that makes your kids happy, and puts your worries at ease.
Parenthood really is the scariest hood you’ll ever go through. But with Azoomee, you’re not alone.