When I first heard about Kideo personalized DVDs, I thought they sounded like a cool idea, but didn't consider them to be something that was essential to my life.
I underestimated these DVDs.
Basically, you send Kideo a photo of your child and they put their face and name in a 20-minute (or so) DVD with any of a variety of characters. You can get DVDs with Spider-Man, Barney, Dora the Explorer, Arthur, Baby Genius, Care Bears, or Gregory and Me.
I thought my kids would think the DVDs were cool, but would then forget about them. But all three of them adore them and keep asking to watch them. If your kids are like mine, and regularly pretend to be TV characters, I'm pretty sure they'll love the DVDs.
My personal favorite was the Arthur DVD we got that starred Jack.
Jack was sold from the second he saw the cover of the DVD with his name on it. The story is all about how Arthur wants to be friends with his pen pal Jack, who he'd never met before. Arthur thinks up all sorts of fun things to do when Jack comes to visit. Including going to space.
Considering we have never watched Arthur, I was impressed with how much Jack loved this. Once it was over, Jack pretended to be Jack and made me be Arthur and he pretended that Arthur was visiting him. We've had a lot of fun playing Arthur and watching this DVD. Every time he sees it, Jack gets really happy. And so do I.
I liked that even though I had submitted a photo of Jack that only had one ear, they switched the picture back and forth in different spots in the DVD, so it didn't look weird.
Quinn starred in a DVD about Gregory and Me. I've never even heard of Gregory, but the DVD was very cute and featured lots of stories about safari animals. And a tune called "Safari Samba" that I couldn't get out of my head for several days.
Here is a photo of Quinn on safari with Gregory:
The last of the videos starring my children also starred Spider-Man, who is kind of a big deal around my house. The cool thing about this DVD is that your child actually IS Spider-Man in it.
The Spider-Man DVD does have some slightly older kid-type violence that you would expect with a superhero story. I felt okay showing it to my kids, but if you are uneasy about that sort of thing, Dora or Arthur might be better suited for you.
When I showed the DVD to Sam the first time, I waited until it ended, then asked him what he liked about it. His response was: "Everything. Can we watch it again?"
Kideo sent me a Spider-Man DVD for each of my three children. They all love them so much that they will sit through all three of them in a row, with the only difference being the child who is in the DVD.
I watched samples of the other DVDs also. Both the Barney and Dora DVDs are very much like regular episodes, except they feature the child prominently throughout the story. Both of these talk about the child as the birthday kid, so these would be great as a birthday present. And if you're having a Barney or Dora-themed party, this would be a very cute addition.
The Care Bears and Baby Genius, plus the Gregory and Me DVDs are definitely aimed at a younger audience and feature songs and dancing.
You can see samples of all the DVDs at the Kideo website. You can also place orders there. PLUS, they are offering Things and Stuff Reviews readers (that's you) a discount. Enter STIMEY on their website and you will get $5 off your order.
I think Kideo did a really good job integrating the photos I sent into the DVDs. The parts where the different characters say the children's names is obviously (to an adult) voiced by someone else. But none of my children (ages 3, 5, and 7) even noticed. They were just thrilled to hear their names.
If your children love one of these characters, they will get a real kick out of hearing their names come out of their mouths and watching themselves play with their TV friends.
Honesty Clause: Kideo sent me five DVDs starring my children for free. DVDs retail for $22.95 to $29.95.