The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of changes for everyone, and that includes children. Preschoolers are no longer able to attend daycare, have play dates with friends, or visit the library for storytime (except virtually – check out VPL’s storytimes daily at 10:30 am on Instagram Live and our storytime playlist on YouTube). For older children, they have not been to school for two months and may feel disconnected from friends and teachers. Families are busy learning to adapt to online schooling, and are also missing in-person visits with grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. Certainly, children are not immune to feeling stress and anxiety, and could use a bit of comfort during these challenging times.
Enter Kanopy Kids. If you’re not familiar with Kanopy, it’s a video streaming service accessible through Vaughan Public Libraries where you can find cinema classics, indie films, documentaries and more. Currently, your VPL account gives you 10 credits per month, with each video you stream being worth one credit. You can stream videos on your computer or download the Kanopy app to your device.
Kanopy has a separate section for children called Kanopy Kids featuring films and TV series for children ages 2 and up. Parents can enable parental controls to ensure children stay within the Kanopy Kids part of the platform to access age-appropriate content. The best part, though, is that play credits are not required in Kanopy Kids, so if your child wants to watch their favourite video over and over again, there’s no reduction in your credits! Kanopy Kids includes videos starring many favourite friends new and old, sure to provide children with comfort during these stressful times. Here are a few recommendations of TV series and storytime favourites featuring beloved characters that are sure to bring a smile to your little one’s face:
Franklin: Everyone’s favourite turtle and his animal friends star in this animated TV series. Children will relate to Franklin’s natural curiosity and his ability to learn through making mistakes. Season one and season two of Franklin and seasons one and two of Franklin and Friends are available. The shows are based on the popular Canadian children’s series written by Paulette Bourgeois and Sharon Jennings.
Max & Ruby: Bunny siblings Max and Ruby are adored by many preschoolers for their mischievous and often hilarious adventures. Although the two often disagree, they always come to realize that everything is better when they work together. Season one and season two are available. Based on the bestselling series by Rosemary Wells.
Babar: Babar is a young elephant who experiences many challenges. Throughout it all, he finds the strength to overcome life’s difficulties and look on the bright side. The shows, produced in Canada, are based on the books by French authors Jean de Brunhoff and Laurent de Brunhoff. Season one and season two are available. You can also find seasons one, two, three, four, and five of Babar and the Adventures of Badou. Badou is Babar’s eight-year-old grandson. If you can’t get enough Babar, there are also two Babar movies. In Babar the Movie, King Babar recounts the tale of how, as a young elephant, he saved Celeste from bad rhinos. In Babar, King of the Elephants, Babar goes to live in the city after his mother is killed by a hunter. While there, he learns the ways of people. When he returns to the jungle, he uses what he has learned to end a war with the rhinoceroses and build a new city for the elephants.
Arthur: Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card! Arthur is an eight-year-old aardvark who is trying to find his place in the world. The relatable story lines are sure to resonate with children. The TV series is based on the books by Marc Tolon Brown. Check out season thirteen!
Sesame Street: Generations of children have grown up with Sesame Street, and it’s clear to see why! The show is both educational and fun, bringing together puppets and people (including some very famous people). Season forty and season thirty-nine are available to stream.
The Pigeon series by Mo Willems: It’s hard to feel sad while watching these hilarious videos starring one very determined pigeon. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late, and The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? are available for your enjoyment.
Scaredy Squirrel series by Mélanie Watt: So many of us are feeling scared right now. Scaredy Squirrel is no exception. But through the course of his adventures, he finds himself continually forced out of his comfort zone, and he discovers it’s not so bad after all. Check out Scaredy Squirrel, Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend, and Scaredy Squirrel at Night.
Curious George: Everyone’s favourite monkey loves learning to ride his new bike, but he runs into trouble when he ventures too far from home. This short film is based on the book Curious George Rides a Bike by H.A. Rey.
Corduroy: In this classic story by author Don Freeman, a stuffed bear anxiously longs for someone to bring him home from the store. He thinks he needs to find his missing button to ensure he looks brand-new and improve his odds, but really all he needs is a friend willing to give him a chance. Find the video here.
Bear series by Karma Wilson: In Bear Snores On, all winter long, Bear sleeps in his cave. While he is sleeping, visitors drop by. When Bear finally wakes up, he finds his den full of creatures who’ve been having fun without him. In Bear Wants More, it’s springtime, and the animals are waking up from hibernation. Bear is SO hungry. His friends help him find food, but will he ever be full?
So, how can you access all these fun and entertaining videos? Visit https://vaughan.kanopy.com/. If you’re new to Kanopy, you can sign up for an account using your email address or through your Facebook or Google account. If you use email, you will receive an email asking you to verify your email address before you get started.
When you set up your account, if you are asked to choose your library, make sure to choose “Vaughan Public Libraries”. You will need to add your library card number and PIN. If you don’t have a library card, you can set up a digital card here. If you need help with your account or PIN, you can get in touch with library staff for assistance through email, phone, or social media on our Ask Us! page. Happy watching!