Fresh from the factory
If you work with young children and haven't bought one of the Fun Song Factory videos yet, do so now. Despite a recommended age range of two to six years old, most 30-somethings will be just as enthusiastic as the tots.
The Fun Song Factory Video is filmed live from one of the acclaimed shows at Polka Theatre, Wimbledon, and manages to convey the panto feel on tape. Five and six-year-olds were happy to join in with the "look behind you" bits and enjoyed the frivolity and excitement that does not always easily transfer from recorded shows. Our younger children (two to three-year-olds) were singing snatches of the songs and rhymes, and waving their arms long after the video had finished.
The Fun Song Factory claims the ability to create songs about anything, and they come fast and furious, with a wealth and range that cannot fail to please and charm. Most of the songs and rhymes are accompanied with compelling actions, and are so lively, even the most reluctant child has to join in.
The Fun Song Factory has some familiar BBC faces - Dave Benson Phillips is one. And they meet other friends along the way, including Postman Pat, Rupert Bear, SuperTed and Dusty the Dinosaur.
The mix and presentation is excellent. The songs have a professional finish to maintain interest and keep children involved for the whole 60-minute running time. But it is sequenced in such a way that you can easily programme a 10 or 15-minute slot. The fun quota is high, as are the learning possibilities.
Fun Song Factory at Old Macdonald's Farm is just as exciting, packed full of energy with a wonderful selection of irresistible songs and action rhymes. There are fewer familiar songs, but the children still join in with the actions and are keen to learn the words of the new songs.
Some songs I had almost forgotten about and had not used for a long time. They brought a new freshness to our singing sessions.
Both videos would be great to dip into when planning topics. The Old Macdonald's Farm in particular offers so much on the theme of farms that it could be used as a starting point for planning a topic.Use of location, featuring real and mechanical animals, is extremely effective.
If you want to create a feel-good factor on a wet and windy day, these videos will do the trick. What's more, as they come with the Pre-School Learning Alliance seal of approval, and as a 60p royalty for every video sold is donated to them, you'll not only be doing yourself a good turn but you'll be supporting a worthy cause too.
Tempo videos are available from WHSmiths and other retailers Lorraine Frankish is early years co-ordinator at Casterton Community College, Rutland