Target Age Group: Preschool
Television Station: Cartoon Network
The Cartoon Network is attempting to capture their share of the morning pre-schooler market with “Tickle U,” a two hour block of programming (9-11AM e/p) targeting pre-schoolers and their mommies (or caregivers). The Tickle U block of programming is up against tough competition. The kids’ shows on Noggin, Playhouse Disney, PBS and others in the same time slot targeting pre-schoolers are typically seen as more educational than every day cartoons.
Instead of going the traditional educational route (A-B-C’s, 1- 2- 3’s and such), the Cartoon Network has chosen shows which aim to foster humor and optimism in pre-schoolers. Tickle U also attempts to capture the attention of caregivers and parents with the “Mommy Bar” along the bottom of the screen which displays jokes, show information, and other tidbits.
"Tickle U" Outline
According to the description provided by the Cartoon Network:
- The block's programming is centered around a collection of funny, animated series from around the world designed to encourage kids to laugh and have an optimistic view of themselves and the world around them. The animated shows – "Peppa Pig," "Gerald McBoing Boing," "Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs," "Firehouse Tales," "Little Robots," "Gordon the Garden Gnome," and "Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!" – are no longer than 11 minutes each.
- Tickle U's three 3-D CGI hosts will provide humorous connections between shows.
- Commercial interruptions will be brief and limited to the top and bottom of each hour.
- In addition, Tickle U will introduce the Mommy Bar, a constant graphic feature that will encourage productive co-viewing and give information on the humor curriculum directly to parents and caregivers. In addition to the most current research on the value of humor to childhood development, cues for show length and content will be provided.
"Tickle U" Educational Review
The cartoons shown during the Tickle U block are cute and funny; however, I don’t see how they will foster humor and optimism much better than most other cartoons. The advantage Tickle U does offer to pre-school aged children is that the shows are short, with simple plots, and they usually contain a wholesome little life lesson for kids. Also, parents can rest assured that the series is made for small children, and generally will not contain storylines meant for older children or borderline words and phrases (things like “stupid” or “jerk”) that parents would not want small kids picking up.
On the Mommy Bar at the bottom of the screen, parents can read jokes, show information, and tidbits about humor. The thoughts on humor emphasize that developing a sense of humor is important for children, and encourage parents to use humor in teaching and disciplining children. I like the Mommy Bar, because parents can always use a little reminder to retain a sense of humor and have fun with their kids.
The Tickle U programming is not as educational as other options in the time slot, and it does contain some commercials; however, the amusing cartoons are a fun little treat for pre-schoolers.