It’s a common dilemma faced by parents: finding convenient, fun ways to entertain the kids while educating them at the same time.
Back in 2012 – after growing frustrated with the videos available on YouTube – Wirral-based parents Amalie and Christian Hughes decided to create their own educational videos for their two-year-old toddler to watch. The Toddler Fun Learning channel was born; and soon featured a selection of videos teaching children everything from gravity and numbers, to telling the time and nursery rhymes.
“We wanted to create quality British content which was fun and educational,” Amalie says. “When we got our first million views, we realised there were other parents around the world who were looking for this sort of content too!”
Using Wirral as an “amazing” base to film, Amalie and Christian use local attractions to help create videos for their star show Gecko’s Real Vehicles, which has now been viewed for more than 1 billion minutes. “Whether it’s tractors at Claremont Farm, Hovercrafts with the RNLI in Hoylake or an ice cream treasure hunt with Mr Tee, it’s wonderful to work with the local community,” Amalie says.
Both Amalie and Christian grew up in North Wales but visited Wirral regularly as children. Amalie remembers watching her brother windsurf at West Kirby Marine Lake and describes the area as “a lovely place to visit”. Today, they live with their three children in West Kirby, and are regular visitors of Royden park for its mini train rides and Benty Tea rooms, as well as being keen explorers of the Wirral Way – often by bike and with a picnic packed for lunch. Amalie says: “As the kids are getting older we're excited about having the marine lake on our doorstep for the water sports. We have already enjoyed paddle boarding, sailing and kayaking on the lake, and of course crabbing.”
When they’re not adventuring in Wirral with their children, Amalie and Christian are based in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle, where they work alongside a team of more than 20 local creatives on design, music and technology. Christian says: “Being parents ourselves definitely guides us – we create content that we know our kids will love watching, and a lot of the ideas come from what our kids are interested in. We’ve now created an app, as we wanted to offer the option of downloading videos for kids to watch on the move.
We also wanted the app to help parents control how much time their children spend watching videos. Parents can set the parental timer for the desired screen time period, and at the end of that session our unique Goodbye Song video plays. It features all the characters the child has just been watching, saying goodbye and telling them it’s time to turn the screen off and go and play with their toys, or play outside. We want to promote a healthy, balanced life for children, both on and off-screen, and the idea is to minimise meltdowns and stop parents being the bad guy when they take the screen away!”
As well as developing the Toddler Fun Learning app further, Amalie and Christian’s ambition is to continue to grow their hugely successful brand, and to develop their characters into “global household names that kids and parents adore”. With their team, they’ll spend the rest of 2019 creating new premium video content, plus music, toys and games – helping to put Wirral’s creativity and unique attractions on the map, all over the world.
To download the Toddler Fun Learning app, just search within the Apple App Store. You’ll also find Gecko’s Real Vehicles, Dr Poppy’s Pet Rescue, Go Buster! cartoons and more on the brand’s YouTube channel, and at www.toddlerfunlearning.com