As a mother of two young boys ages two and four, I’m always on the hunt for fresh and engaging content that conveys basic concepts in a entertaining way. We visit a lot of libraries together and enjoy attending free concerts, puppet shows, museums, parks and educational centers to get our fix of fantasy, find inspiration and fall over and over in love with learning.
In early 2015, Storytime with Annie & Rocco was born upon the realization that we had created so much fun content of our own. It all started with the music. Songwriting has always been therapeutic for me and when the kids expressed interest in singing, I began writing singalong tunes with the boys. The illustrations were next. When my third printer broke on me, I gave up on finding a replacement and began creating my own coloring sheets. I’ve never been too great with illustrations, but after some time, and a little coaching from the boys, they would actually recognize the images for what they were. Kids have a marvelous way of simplifying things to perfection, don’t they? Then came the puppets. I seem to always have a drawer full of mismatched socks and for some reason, my youngest son loves socks, so one day I found a great how-to video on YouTube and there was no turning back.
Now, picture this – after months of planning, drawing, editing, writing and recording, I finally have a handful of videos to share with the kids. They love them! They especially love seeing so many familiar images and dancing to the music. However, once we start watching them on YouTube, I realize I opened up Pandora’s box when the Surprise Eggs videos are heavily requested. Actually it’s the only thing my older son wants to watch. How do you compete with a box of ONE HUNDRED surprise eggs filled with action figures, vehicles, animals, candy..?! You just can’t!
I didn’t let that discourage me, not for long anyway. I limited video time to Tablet Tuesdays (with the exception of a little time during the week for more comprehensive learning videos). Fast forward to a year later and the boys actually ask to watch Storytime with Annie & Rocco. I could finally breathe deeply again. They come up with concepts for shows and enjoy writing tunes. My older son came up with the concept for the video Counting Cars. They both designed Teddy in Goodnight, It’s Time to Go to Sleep and also the animals in The Earth Video. My younger son wants to make a video about horses and he’s looking forward to recording his horsey song. These days, my only problem is being able to keep up with the production!