Friday, 23 October 2009

In The Night Garden

I'll admit now. I have an Iggle Piggle cuddly toy. This might mean absolutely nothing to you but I have a feeling more peopele know who I mean than you would think. Iggle Piggle is blue. And has a brigh red blanket. He is simply designed and easily recognised by children and parents,and childmilders, actually probably most of the British society.. Here he is;

(not the seal!)

Iggle Piggle, along with Oopsie Daisie and others (I swear I don't know all the characters' names!), are characters of In the Night Garden, the new phenomena of children's television. It is described on it's official website as 'a modern televisual interpretation of a nursery rhyme picture book.' Simply it is a happy place where the character's care and have fun together. Simple. But, like Sesame Street there has been alot of research and development into the design of the programme to make it 'stick'. Similarly to Blues Clues and Sesame Street, In the Night Garden uses alot of repetition, for example the three blue birds that simply sit on a branch, right in the centre of the screen, and squawk in a repeated fashion. thus also means using rhythm and rhyming throughout the episodes which has been proven to have a calming effect on the children - hence the name In the Night Garden - the programme has been developed to calm the children and put them in a dream-like world ready to nap. 

So I decided to do my own experiment. I tested it on my friends baby twins. They wont watch anything apart from this and Teletubbies (In the Night Garden was actually created by Anne Wood and Andy Davenport who co-created the Teletubbies). When I put it on I noticed certain parts which 'stuck' more than others and came to the conclusion that they preferred the simple characters that were on for the longest period of time. Both of the babies watched vividly at the same parts, and when I attempted the 'Distractor' game the results were the same for them both. 

Unlike previous children's' programmes, In the Night Garden has an official website. I'm not entirely sure who it is focused on, but after alot of playing about on it it becomes evident that it is for all - there are games and facts about each of the characters' and stories that children would be interested it (however I'm not sure if they will be old enough to read much of it, but the graphics and layout etc are intoxicating). There are also pages into the development of the programme which older generations may find interesting. 

I found the website quite addictive and have been back on to 'take the tour' of the magical environment. It sticks, and not just the programme does. The website has a stickiness factor as does other means of advertising that the developers have used such as merchandise, books, clothes and toys. The themes are simple, repeated, at a steady pace children under 4 can cope with, not forgetting aesthetically pleasing to children and adults. Check it out and see what you think;

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