Premiering on PBS in fall 1998, NODDY, an original children’s series based on the world renown children’s books by Enid Blyton, offered active, fun and imaginative viewing for 3 to 7 year-olds. Adapted from the popular BBC short-animation series, NODDY featured the pre-existing animation woven into a live action format with original songs and music, puppets and special effects.
The backdrop for the 40 half-hour episodes was an old-fashioned curiosity shop called Notions, Oddities, Doodads&Delights of Yesterday (NODDY’S) owned by retired sea captain Noah Tomten. Every day after school, his grandchildren Kate and Truman, and their friend DJ, gathered at the shop to play. The delightful and curious Noddy lived in two worlds. In Toyland, he came to life in the animated segments. In the shop, the children used Noddy (antique doll) and other toys to create stories that mirrored the events of their day. Antique puppets that are long-time residents of the shop offer animated musical performances that support the storyline. A one-hour holiday special, Anything Can Happen at Christmas, was also produced. NODDY was produced by an international joint venture of BBC Worldwide and the Enid Blyton Ltd. co-produced by Catalyst Entertainment Inc. The series was created by executive producer Rick Siggelkow.
Outreach components developed station resources, built awareness of the series and advanced community utilization.
NODDY’S Treasure Chest of Notions, Oddities, Doodads and Delights of Yesterday – Developed by Outreach Extensions in association with executive producer Rick Siggelkow and PBS, this toolkit provided stations with everything they needed to launch their local outreach campaigns. The six sections included production, outreach, NODDY stories and songs, outreach activity sheets, and promotion. A music CD accompanied the toolkit. Highlights included:
- (Production) Interviews with executive producer Rick Siggelkow and educational advisor Ron Slab; description of the cast members (children and adults), puppets and puppeteer.
- (Outreach) Rationale for the national campaign, outreach advisory council, spotlight on preschool and intergenerational issues, Web site overview, strategic conferences, list of community resources and station minigrant application.
- (Stories and Songs) Episode descriptions, spotlight on music and on music and movement for young children, sample lyrics, and CD contents.
- (Outreach Activity Sheets) 12 activity sheets (reproducible slicks) were linked to four episodes (three per episode), two coloring sheets of Noddy, and tips for grandparents, parents and caregivers on how to play, promote learning and enjoy activities together.
- (Promotion) NODDY facts, promotional support overview, promotion episode descriptions, publicity timeline, special promotion opportunities, and contact list.
NODDY Web site – Outreach Extensions designed creative, hands-on, age-appropriate activities for children and set the stage for generations of a family to have fun and explore learning together. The site motivated grandparents to work closely with young children, so they became mentors, play partners and teachers. Note: Outreach Extensions was awarded the 1999 PBS Eddie Award for the Noddy Web site as the “Best Parent/Teacher Information on a Kids' Site.”
Mirroring the contents of NODDY’S curiosity shop, each hot button on the site represented a different learning opportunity to encourage family exploration and stimulate children’s imaginations. The series characters and situations were incorporated into the various buttons and materials were added on a weekly basis to encourage repeat visits.
- Getting Started acquainted browsers with background and content information on the series, outreach campaign and Web site.
- Video/NODDY Episodes provided short video clips for each episode along with narrative descriptions and information on the educational themes.
- Music Corner offered lyrics to all of the songs along with audio clips and some video clips of performances on the show. Sing-along animations were designed for six songs. Music related activities were suggested.
- Book Nook/Storytelling featured 100 books to match the themes/activities of each episode. Recommended reading was for preschool and kindergarten children, parents, grandparents, and child care providers. Language related activities for children were provided.
- Family Corner (Toys and Games) presented 60 fun activities for children and families. Hands-on activities included arts and crafts projects such as making puppets and musical instruments. Activities incorporated music, language, social skills, science and practical tasks (e.g., cooking). Interactive online activities were also created for kids and families.
- Community Bulletin Board displayed activities of the national partners, public television stations and associated NODDY enterprises. Integenerational child care programs were indexed by state.
Station Outreach Minigrants were available, with 12 awarded to build awareness and support the series’ broadcast and Web site. Stations were required to broadcast the series and to use the outreach materials that had been developed, especially in innovative Ready To Learn settings such as those including grandparents. Stations were encouraged to provide training on the NODDY Web site or to adapt Web site information for local audiences. Minigrants were administered by Outreach Extensions.
Launch Brochure – A lively 8-panel, 8.5” x 14”, 4-color brochure entitled “Active&Fun Learning with NODDY” helped to launch the series, Web site and outreach campaign. The brochure introduced the series and characters; highlighted the educational value of NODDY, emphasizing social responsibility and intergenerational relationships; offered suggestions on how to become involved; and recognized the national outreach partners. A cut-out coupon enabled recipients to request two sample Noddy activities from Outreach Extensions. Distribution: 100,000
NODDY Books Action Catalogue – This fun catalogue invited children and families to explore opportunities involving young readers in the adventures of Noddy and his friends in Toyland. It celebrated the campaign’s new partnership with First Book and the publication of the Noddy books by Harper Entertainment. The colorful 36-page catalogue offered hands-on activities such as making bookmarks, learning the alphabet, learning to count, and conducting a cake bake-off. Copies were distributed by First Book and public television stations.
Outreach Extensions custom designed a dynamic national outreach campaign to support NODDY’S contemporary themes of social responsibility, creativity and intergenerational relationships. Outreach activities and opportunities played off the series’ two special environments, Toyland, the animated world of Noddy and his friends, and NODDY’S, the curiosity shop owned by Grandpa Noah Tomten.
Outreach innovation occurred through creative, hands-on, age-appropriate activities as well as through the campaign’s emphasis on integrating early childhood education principles with intergenerational themes and concepts. Educational themes focused on social understanding, working together/being helpful to others, creativity/imagination and social problem solving. Activities incorporated music, language, social skills, arts and crafts and science.
Outreach activities set the stage for generations of a family to have fun and explore learning together – with children and adults actively engaged. Background information provided support to teachers, parents and grandparents, and caregivers in their interactions with children and use of the Web site.