Last week we had a really special opportunity. It was so special that I applied for a day's grace from school for Ruby so she could attend, and I'm so glad I did because she had such a great experience.
We were invited by Nick Jr along to the Blue Zoo studios where they make Olive the Ostrich.
Ruby really enjoys the show and I love it too. Kid's TV seems to be bereft of decent female role models, but I really like this smart ostrich. Never one to follow the crowd, she's confident in her own abilities, likes to dream of great adventures, teaches important social skills like confidence, making new friends and finding common ground with new people to talk about. She's ingenious and inventive and in each episode uses her problem-solving skills to help out her new friends.
We got to view some new episodes from the latest series which started on Nick Jr this week. She was super-excited to be one of the 'first people to ever see them'.
Of course, the real USP of the show is that all the artwork is produced by children. All the backgrounds and most of the characters are pictures that have been drawn by young school children, and have then been animated.
They partnered with the Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts, and toured the country visiting school and hosting workshops to gather all the material for the shows.
We were really lucky that we got to produce some pictures which are going to be featured in a special Olive the Ostrich pop song. Ruby concentrated hard on colouring in characters featured in the lyrics - llamas in pyjamas and kangaroos, as well as coming up with some new characters of her own.
While the kids were busy creating, I chatted with Laura Ellison, the voice of Olive (even though she doesn't sound anything like her in real life!) and Oli Hyatt the producer. It was lovely to be able to have an open and honest chat as parents about what we want from kid's TV.
After that, we were given a tour, and got to see behind the scenes where shows such as Tree Fu Tom, The Alpablocks and Get Squiggling are made.
It was fascinating to watch stills come to life and we learnt some really interesting facts. For example, each animator has a little mirror on their desk which they use this to see the shapes their mouths form as they make sounds and words, so they can be as lifelike as possible.
Time for some lunch and a natter with the other lovely bloggers there - Life and the Zoo; The Imagination Tree and Super Amazing Mum before being whisked off to the recording studio. Yes! A real life recording studio!!
The kid's were so great, they scuttled off to the booth in the basement without even a backwards glance to us mums, leaving us to sit and watch and listen on the big screen.
Oh my goodness they had SO MUCH FUN. Bless them, they couldn't keep still and bounced along to the tune, which I don't think helped their singing, but the guys in the studio were so sweet and patient with them.
Take a listen, it's so cute! Those giggles!
Many thanks to Nick Jr and Blue Zoo for such a fantastic day. We can't wait to see and hear the finished result.