Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Smart Kidz Radio Review

If you have young children who like music, and you're looking for something beyond traditional kiddie music, yet still wholesome, you might be interested in Smart Kidz Radio.  This is the newest offering from Smart Kidz Media.  It is an online, "edutainment" radio station specifically for children ages 2-10 years old.  It features original songs and stories designed to help children build self-esteem and learn valuable living skills in a safe listening environment.  There are two components: free radio streaming, and On Demand content.


Once you sign in, it is a very simple interface.  You can press play to listen to the free streaming radio station.  The songs are original and talk about respecting your parents, understanding others, sharing your talent and gifts with others, creativity, and other positive attributes.  The songs have a variety of sounds, are upbeat and positive, and some have children singing while others have adults.  It's a good mixture of music, just like a radio station.  It does play on a loop, but if you don't play it for hours straight, you won't likely notice.


The commercial breaks are just a short blurb about Smart Kidz Media or an introduction to the next song.  I never did hear or see any outside advertisements, even though the content is free.  The "ads" you see in the screenshot only take you to other areas of the Smart Kidz company, but if you have a child prone to clicking things, you might want to monitor the device yourself.  The FAQ section of the website states you can also use an android or iOS app, but so far we have only used my laptop.

The radio station is streaming only, but once I started poking around a little, I found the podcasts.  Just click on the menu, then the podcast symbol.  This option includes several familiar children's stories, mostly fairy and folk tales.  They sound more like radio programming than audiobook, and I noticed a few creative liberties in the few we've listened to, but overall they are acceptable for our family.  I also think it's safe to say that those which were originally books, like Alice in Wonderland or Pinocchio, are greatly abbreviated.  If you're just looking for an introduction to the story, it won't be an issue, but children should know that there is so much more to the original story!  Most stories are about 15-20 minutes, which is a good length for the preschool crowd I have listening, but there are a few selections that are only a couple of minutes each.


There will also be an option to upgrade to the On-Demand subscription for just $3.99/month, or $39.90 for the year.  This will give you access to another thousand or so songs and stories, which also follow the idea of promoting good behavior and living skills.  As of now, I do not have access to the On Demand content, but you can read their FAQ for more specific information.

The suggested age range is 2-10 years old.  My kids are 3, 5, 8 and 11.  Based on their reactions and my experience working with elementary kids in church and co-op, I would recommend the music for about ages 2-6, though the stories might get more mileage.  My older kids made it clear they were too old for the music, but my 3 and 5 year olds danced around.  If you're wanting to find something different to play in the background during playtime or clean-up, you could give the free channel a try!


If you would like to find out more, check out Smart Kidz Media or read more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew!





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