Friday, July 27, 2018

Smart Kidz Radio Review

Music is a big part of our lives. I often have it playing during the day, whether we're doing chores, driving in the van, working in the yard, playing around the house, and even during school. In fact, I'm listening to music now as I type. There are many options for listening today than there were a decade ago. We have so many more conveniences than swapping a CD every time we want a change. Now, we, personally, listen to the majority of our music streaming online. There are a few different places we use, but we were just introduced to a new online radio station that is just for kids. 

Smart Kidz Radio, like all of the branches of Smart Kidz Media, is dedicated to the education of children. Their goal is to "give every child the opportunity for a basic education." That's why everything they produce is done so for the betterment of children and their families. And in order to show their commitment to this goal and to ensure that it's available for every child, they are offering a membership to their radio station free of charge.

Every song on Smart Kidz Radio was chosen just for kids ages 2-10. The songs promote self-esteem, teach valuable life skills, and encourage good manners. They sing about things like kindness, respect, love, compromise, sharing, friendship, emotions, exercise, nutrition, and more. The music that streams is played live like a typical radio station, so there are no options for replaying or skipping songs.

There is also a podcast section that features multiple well-known children's stories, fairy tales, and nursery rhymes. They are enhanced with music, sound effects, and various voices. There are some artistic liberties embraced in some of the stories. For instance, in Little Red Riding Hood,  the wolf does not want to hurt Little Red, but instead wants to eat her yummy goodies she brought to Grandma. They might not be the version of the stories your child is familiar with. Unlike the live stream songs, these podcasts can be played at any time. They can be paused, however, there is no option to fast forward or rewind. So when a story accidentally was closed one time, my kids chose to forgo the ending instead of listening to the majority of the story for a second time. Most of the podcasts are in the 15-20 minute range, but the songs and nursery rhymes are only a few minutes each.

The only ads on the site are for other Smart Kidz resources, so it is a safe environment for little ones. The live stream itself is a selection of original songs from their library which plays on a loop for a designated amount of time. At that point, a new live stream lineup is rotated in.

If you would like to select specifically which radio programs to listen to, you can upgrade your account to the On-Demand Programming. For just a few dollars a month, you have control of what is played. With hundreds of options including Bible stories, bedtime songs, Christmas carols, Peter Rabbit tales, all-time favorite sing-a-longs, and more, you have plenty of variety.

I have to preface this with explaining that our family is very selective in our music. We do not listen to typical pop culture music, but instead prefer Christian, classical, and typical sing-songy-type of children's music. Unfortunately, much of the music on Smart Kidz Radio does not fall into those categories. The melodies do not sound like regular children's songs, but rather would appeal more so to adults. My children had nothing nice to say about the music every time I turned it on.

Aside from the differences in musical style, I can not recommend this station because of the words themselves in many of the songs. They are designed to promote good behavior, yet there are many songs that include fighting, name calling, rude comments, and arguing. Those situations that are placed into the songs are done so to show the bad behavior and then sings about the good. However, you don't have to highlight the wrong to show the right. Little ones are like sponges. They soak things up. They repeat what they hear. I would not want my little ones getting these words cemented in their minds. For instance, there is a line in a song that says, "your brother is worse than a blister and your sister is a pain in the neck," and is repeated multiple times. Stupid, moron, and fatso are some of the name-calling inclusions.

Little ones are impressionable. Songs are catchy. I want my children singing songs that are uplifting and do not say things that I would not want them to repeat.

I know that everyone has their own opinions, and yours may be different from mine. You can check out the free Smart Kidz Radio station and decide for yourself, and it won't even cost you anything.

You can connect with Smart Kidz Radio on the following social media sites:

You can read more reviews of Smart Kidz Media on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

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