Here’s the thing: if you have a child you more than likely know what Baby Einstein is, and the odds are better than good that you own at least one (or if you’re like me, 21) Baby Einstein DVD.
The odds of the situation continue on past those simple facts however, if you have a baby, know what it is, and don’t have any Baby Einstein paraphernalia (they’ve branched out beyond videos and now make toys and clothes and all types of other ancillary baby products) — that is a conscious choice and effort made on your part. On the flip side of this, if you don’t have a baby, you don’t really need any Baby Einstein, as it is specifically geared for babies.
As of October 24, there is another Baby Einstein video that can be added to any parent’s collection: Baby’s First Moves. All the Baby Einsteins focus on a slightly different thing. One focuses on Monet, another on barnyard animals, a third on body parts, one on animals, one on first words, one on Bach, another the sky and stars, and on and on and on. The different videos are geared towards different age groups and all have in mind the goal of teaching your children (as should be evident from their various focuses).
On their website, Baby Einstein states that what makes their videos different is that they are presented “from the baby’s point-of-view,” and attempt to “expose little ones to the world around them in playful and enriching ways.” It’s really a very interesting notion for a business. They even go on to discuss that Baby Einstein has a reputation for providing appropriate content for children but that it is up to parents to decide how much television their children should watch (if they should be allowed to watch at all), and that the company respects that opinion. Still though, they are very happy to sell you DVDs should you be among the people that feel them appropriate. Personally, I believe that like anything, television should be viewed in moderation and I am perfectly happy to expose my child to it.
Enough of a preamble. Baby’s First Moves focuses on, as you may have guessed by the title, the first movements that a baby makes. The video is geared toward six-month olds and looks specifically at rolling, reaching, clapping, crawling, and walking. The video is divided into sections, at the beginning of which a single movement is given – rolling, for example. Children are then shown doing this one movement, and then toys and animals are shown doing the same thing, and then more children (or slightly different variations on this theme). In between the different moves are various interstitial segments that feature the signature Baby Einstein puppets doing short, amusing skits.
The DVD even includes some bonus features. There is a segment entitled "Move with Me" that has an instructor go through various exercises that parents can do with children. There is another bonus called "Let's Pretend" that goes through many of the various movements from the main program again, but this time focuses more on animals doing these moves and suggests that babies/children pretend that they are animals as they do them. It is also possible to get a summary of the various movements from the video and some extra puppet shows are included as well.
The real question is how to judge the DVD. Is it interesting? My daughter certainly seems to enjoy it immensely. She has not yet seen all that much television, but there are some things that make her restless and other things that seem to amuse her. This DVD (along with the other age-appropriate Baby Einstein videos) fall into the latter category rather than the former.
Did I find it interesting? Not particularly, no. There are certainly some videos out there that are downright annoying, and on the plus side, this isn’t one of those, but I wasn’t enthralled either. But, I’m not the intended audience; for me, it not being obnoxious and it entertaining my daughter is enough. Does the video help a child progress and really teach them about the various movements they will eventually be able to do (and speed up development in any way)? I’m just not sure that such a question can be answered. It’s certainly a question that a lot of people will ask about the Baby Einstein series, but for my purposes it is not relevant. The videos are vaguely amusing at times, keep my daughter entertained, do not contain any material that I have ever found objectionable, and might – just might – help her learn something. And for me, that’s more than enough.
I absolutely recommend this DVD for babies. I’m not sure it’s my favorite in the Baby Einstein series, but it’s in keeping with the rest of the series and I know at least one baby who enjoys it.