In recent years, the rise of kids watching other kids play with toys and games has risen. It's fun to live vicariously through others from time to time, and these popular you tube channels often help parents and teachers to discover what's new and fun.
Alida Ragazzo is the mother of Luca, the kid behind the fun of Luca's World. After meeting her at Toy Fair in New York last February, we sat down to find out if it's really true that it's Luca's world and we're all just living in it!
Can you introduce yourself and your son, Luca to our audience?
Hi! My name is Alida, and I am the parent of two incredible kids. Luca, age 4 and Kaya, age 9. Although both of them are very active playing games, building with Legos, dancing, riding bicycles, swimming, running, and using their imagination to create all kinds of fun activities, they also enjoy watching YouTube on their iPads. Like so many children, Luca and Kaya love to watch YouTube videos of other kids play, create and learn. What’s important to me, during their screen time is that my kids are having fun, but also learning something! However, many of the videos Luca would watch lacked any educational component. When I realized that, I knew I wanted to create a family-friendly YouTube channel with an educational element. A channel that other parents and I would feel good about letting our kids watch. Having a sister as a kindergarten and reading intervention teacher also inspires me everyday to come up with creative and fun ways to learn through play!
Tell us about Luca’s World. When did you launch and what can teachers expect to find there?
We launched Luca’s World in February 2019. We felt there was an opportunity to provide a steady stream of fun and educational videos in a kid-friendly, safe environment. Having the opportunity to teach our audience how to improve their fine-motor and cognitive skills while having fun is one of our main goals. We do this through activities and games that encourage counting, sorting, matching, color identification, object recognition and learning the alphabet! We incorporate simple science experiments (always a hit with kids!) and get up on your feet activities as well. Many of the toys and games we use encourage skills such as following instructions, learning patience, taking turns and discovering how things work; all essential skills for a child to develop.
Why is play an important part of education?
It’s easier for kids to learn when they love what they are doing. So, what better way than to play?! Playing allows children to be creative, imaginative and have fun while developing the skills they need to think, calculate, explore, engage, share, reason and so much more! Play also helps with dexterity, fine motor skills, and coordination. I see it every day with Luca. Whether a game requires him to find the key shaped like a star to fit the star-shaped keyhole (identifies, matches and strengthens hand-eye coordination) or rolling the dice to determine how many blue acorns the squirrel gets to eat (counting, color identification, fine motor skills by fitting the acorns into the squirrels mouth!). Learning through play is endless.
Do the makers of the products you review pay for reviews?
No, we do not get paid for our product reviews. We do, however, build relationships with toy companies who often provide products for us to play with and review. We are always trying to find the educational value in toys. In doing so, we need to test them out! Our review videos are very natural. We do not rehearse nor do we do much editing of our videos (as you can probably see... they are not perfect!). Our goal is to be as organic as possible and provide genuine, honest feedback.
Luca is one sharp 4-year-old. What are his favorite subjects in school?
Luca attends a pre-school whose motto is “Learning Through Play.” Although they don’t have subjects, they do a lot of activities. He has two favorite activities. Playing on the playground for sure! He loves hide and seek, being chased by his friends, and collecting anything he can find in the dirt! I often discover rocks, acorns, and leaves in his pockets after a day in the fresh air! On the flip side, he also loves crafts. He is always one of the last at the table, diligently filling his page in with as much stamping, gluing, coloring and/or stickers as possible. He sticks to it until he has something he’s proud to bring home.
Has Luca had a special teacher in his life? How did he or she influence him?
Luca has been so fortunate to have all incredible teachers throughout his first two years of pre-school. Miss Beth is definitely special, though. Luca talks about her all the time. He is an inquisitive and expressive kid, and Miss Beth encourages him to be himself and explore. She is patient and engages with Luca and all of the kids. I think his favorite day was when she painted a shark on his hand. He cherished that shark and pretended it was swimming around our house for days (made it challenging to wash his hands, though!) ;-) Miss Beth makes it fun to go to school. We are grateful to have her.
How can teachers best interact with your channel?
We would love for teachers to watch our videos, provide feedback and suggestions, subscribe to our channel and share with their friends and family. We hope that some of the content we are offering would generate ideas for them to use in their classroom or with their own kids! But we are learning and growing too and would also appreciate interaction from teachers with suggestions they have for us to incorporate into our videos. And if we use their ideas, maybe they can even share the video in their classrooms. If you have an idea for educational activities we can do or games we can play, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a comment on the videos. We post a new video every day, and we’d love to hear from you!