Many adults would like to understand more about why buddi catches children’s attention so powerfully. Parents are understandably cautious about what material their children view. At Buddi World, we care deeply about our young audience and we want to provide parents with a deeper insight into why their children love our show so much and the positive things they are getting out of each episode. We will be publishing articles every Friday in order to provide insightful information about how Buddi has a positive educational and sensory impact on children. In this article we are going to examine our very first episode, “Seed”.
A peculiar looking seed hides an amazing surprise for our Buddis! The episode starts off with a shot on the cloudy sky. You can also hear the distant sound of thunder, with rain seemingly imminent. Iso is eating some apples when all of a sudden he gets hit on his head by a curious ball! The ball keeps bouncing around and it also hits the tower of stones that Vihi was building. When the ball finally stops, the Buddis gather around it, becoming more and more curious to understand what it is. They all start to become playful with it, passing it to each other, bouncing it and they also throw it in the air! All of a sudden, the ball disappears underground. The Buddis are confused and they walk away because they can no longer play with the ball, but suddenly something pops out of the ground! It is a big mushroom.
The Buddis take care of it and the mushroom grows bigger and bigger. It is now starting to rain! The mushroom is cold so Vihi warms it up with her warm light. The mushroom then grows bigger once again and when it finally starts raining, all the Buddis get shelter underneath its cap.
For young children who are yet to experience the wonders of nature, the episode unveils unknown truths; how mushrooms grow in the earth, what process occurs for a mushroom to grow and the positive impact that takes place when we take care of nature. These messages are simple and may seem somewhat obvious to adult's, but at such a young age these are wonderfully new realities. They are the basis for children’s development and understanding of the world. Since not all children have the opportunity to experience nature in their everyday lives, we have developed something that can either be an initial experience or reiterate other experiences.
The plot itself may not be the main source of what grabs children's attention. “Seed”, as almost all of Buddi's episodes, uses sensory stimuli to do so. You can notice it right at the beginning of the episodes, when you hear the storm from afar. They are continual in every scene, as Iso chews the apple, as the ball hits his head, as Vihi places the last rock on his tower. All these visuals and sounds grab kids' attention and gets them fully engaged. This happens because very young children are highly sensitive to every sensory stimulation and their brains develop an impressive amount of synapses each second (two to three million). This is why it is very likely to find similar stimulation in most preschoolers' TV shows.
In addition, elements that keep children engaged in watching Buddi so much are the bright colours, the characters’ slow movements and all the visual information that, in each scene help them follow the plot of the story. Indeed, it is not a case that all the buddies have big caricatured faces, with things sticking out of their heads. “So when they move their heads, there’s a lot of peripheral motion,” says Tim Smith, a developmental psychologist at Birkbeck Babylab in London. “There’s also lots of
luminance and colour contrast that guides their attention to it. You’re helping them to find the thing they’re interested in.”
Buddi attempts to exploit the attractive power of sensory stimulation for educational purposes too. The sensory stimulation you will find in “Seed” revolves entirely around the world of nature. This means that, differently from other shows who might feature a kind of stimulation that won’t be easily or safely available to children in real life (as helicopter blades or the horn of a truck), at Buddi we try to include themes that children will then be able to experience without danger firsthand. “Very early in life, if not innately, babies have a folk understanding of having things fall, or that if something pushes against something else, it is going to fall down,” explains Angeline Lillard, a developmental psychologist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. As children are continuously learning and curious about how everything around them works, they might end up being more engaged and interested in watching a show that features easy and understandable phenomenon rather than impossible scenarios. “My inkling is that the prefrontal cortex is working hard to figure all that [improbable scenarios] out and then POOF! It can’t do it. It’s just not realistic. adds Lillard.