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New animated video for kids and their families during COVID-19

COVID-19 requires millions of families to adopt new life-or-death habits, but as the pandemic wears on, families are starting to tire of the restrictions and some are rebelling against what we all need to do to stay safe.

Two decades of working in children’s television taught regional Emmy Award-winning Mike Erskine-Kellie and Susan McLennan that if you want to change the world, you go bottom-up, through the kids, and not top-down, through the parents. So they teamed up with doctors, parenting experts, hospitals and other organizations on the Coronavirus front lines to create a new animated series of short videos that are designed to help kids keep their families safe. 


Spike & Toody is aimed at 3-7-year-olds and consists of 5 x 4-minute videos that cover a range of COVID-19-related subjects, including physical distancing, how to be a good helper, worry, good hygiene, and things to do when isolated.


The project has been made possible [in part] by the Government of Canada and was done with the help of various partners who came on to advise on and/or distribute and support the project, including CHEO, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Upstream, Caremongers, and The Toronto Public Library. Medical advisors include Dr. Gary Bloch from St. Michael’s Hospital and Dr. Nisha Thampi from CHEO. Parenting advisors include parenting book authors Ann Douglas and Sara Dimerman, who is also a psychologist. A list of partners and a list of experts can be found on the Spike & Toody site.  


“If you need people to adopt new behaviours right away, go straight to the children. If they understand what they have to do and why they must do it, they will ensure everyone in their household does it correctly too,” said producer and writer Susan McLennan.


“It’s how recycling, anti-smoking and seatbelts were adopted, and it’s kids who will ensure we stay the course when we all start tiring of what we have to do to stay safe during this pandemic.”

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