Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Wave of the Wand in Salute to Wallykazam!

I've been fairly critical recently to Nickelodeon's efforts to revamp its Dora franchise with a tween modeled version of the show aimed at preschoolers, so I did want to give the network a positive nod for a new show that I believe they are doing right called Wallykazam!  This new series that debuted at the beginning of this year is a perfect fit for children ages 3 - 7 years old.  Wallykazam! promotes literacy with its viewers through weaving educational lessons into comedy-driven stories filled with funny characters and adventures.  One of my parenting mottoes is strive to make education entertaining so that children will embrace learning as fun challenges rather than dread it as required tasks.  Wallykazam! does a great job of getting children engaged into learning letters and phonics through participating in the show's adventures.

Wallykazam! follows the adventures of a troll named Wally and his pet dragon, Norville, who live in a mystical forest filled with giants, goblins, ogres, sprites, and other mythical creatures.  Wally has a magic wand, well actually it's a stick that he picked up off the ground but it works as well as a wand from a Harry Potter movie when it comes to hocusing and pocusing, that he uses to make words come to life in each episode's adventure.  Each show begins with Wally selecting a specific letter and than using words that begin with that selected letter to magically create things with the wave of his wand (oops I meant stick) to help him get out of a predicament.

In addition to helping children identify letters, the show takes things a step further working on sounds associated with letters, rhyming, vocabulary development and reading comprehension strategies.  Beyond just  talking about letters and words and showing items that Wally kazams into existence, the show also captions on the screen the letter and words being spotlighted to assist with reading development.  Using this phonics approach helps develop key reading skills by connecting sounds with letters or groups of letters. My 5 year old twins really get into sounding out, and yelling out, the words as they are being conjured up on the screen and it is nice to see them enthused about learning about words and vocabulary through their interactions with this show.

Season 1 of Wallykazam! premiered on Nickelodeon on February 3, 2014 and consists of 26 original episodes.  The show was created by producer/writer Adam Peltzman, who also was involved with creating the Emmy Award-winning The Backyardigans and Bubble Guppies television series.  Check your cable guide for when Wallykazam! is airing on Nickelodeon or Nick Jr or you can also download the episodes for a fee on iTunes or other digital download sites like  As parents, I know it is important to limit our children's television exposure especially during the preschool years but I can vouch this is one of the good ones that if you are going to let them watch TV to tune into.

I've included a youtube video of the season's first episode below if you want to check out out the show.  In "Naptime for Borgelorp" Wally is persuaded to babysit his friend Ogre Doug's hyper and unpredictable pet Borgelorp.  Wally is given two instructions, kinda reminds me of Gremlins here, for Borgelorp's care.  First, get Borgelorp to take a nap.  Secondly, and most importantly make sure Borgelorp doesn't eat any purple flowers.  Wally tries to follow these rules but his nemesis, and the show's lead comedic element, BobGoblin the hobgoblin does his best to cause havoc.  Conjuring up magic words that start with the letter "S" are the only way to tire out the rambunctious pet and keep it away from those dreaded purple flowers.  Wally is very creative when it comes to creating magical words using somersault, sandwich, and symphony to get the job done.

In addition to the animated television series, Nickelodeon also recently introduced a FREE video game that features the characters from Wallykazam!  In this game BobGoblin drops by Wally's house and casts a spell causing all the fruit that Wally was planning on using for his lunch to hop around uncontrollably.  Game players need to help Wally gather up the runaway fruit in this platform style game by bouncing, hopping, leaping or jumping in order to save the day...and Wally's lunch.  The game uses a special letter to create magic words to help Wally get out of jams.  Each time you play the game the magic letter changes too keeping the game interesting through multiple plays.  When I played it with my son the letter was "H" and all the magic words conjured up started with the letter H, while when I played with my daughter the letter was "J" having Wally kazam things up like jumping jellybeans and jetting juice boxes.


There is also a FREE "Word Hunt" game where game players help Wally & Norville look for hidden words that start with the magic letter designated at the beginning of the game.  Not a bad game for preschoolers and parents to spend some time playing together.  It has some fun interactions with the characters from the television show and works on helping with connecting sounds to the letters they are associated with.


To play these games CLICK HERE.  You can also watch some episodes of Wallykazam! for FREE on this website and download some coloring pages and activity sheets for your kids off of it.

1 comment:

  1. My son loves Wallykazam! It has been very helpful as we are working on learning to read. Great article!