Gumboot Kids offer great reminder that educational entertainment is just outside
A decade or so ago, Tara Hungerford and Eric Hogan were watching their kids watch TV. They noticed their son Wilfred’s viewing diet seemed a little unsatisfying.
“We saw all these different shows and we thought there was a gap in the market and what would be the ultimate show we would want our kid to watch,” said Hogan recently over the phone. “What would be the most nutritious thing he can consume? We can’t avoid it. We live in a media rich world and our kids are going to consume media so what would be the ultimate show?”
The couple that made documentaries for the Knowledge Network took a beat and thought about their kid and what would make him happy and healthy. They realized the answer was right in front of them in a tiny-person package.
“(Wilfred) found most shows really overwhelming and he was a fact collector from a young age,” said Hungerford. “So Eric and I together said let’s make something that he’d actually be able to learn facts from but also something we’d have fun making.”
So here we are 10 years or so later and 160 episodes in for the Gumboot Kids TV franchise created by Hungerford and Hogan. The brand today includes three TV titles: Scout and The Gumboot Kids, Daisy and The Gumboot Kids, and Jessie and The Gumboot Kids. There is also music, live shows, school curriculum, merchandise and a very popular book series that will have two more editions coming out this month.
Airing in 160 countries, the CBC show stars a couple of felt mice named Scout and Daisy that unravel nature mysteries in two-to-five-minute episodes. A combination stop-motion and live action with real kids — including Hungerford’s and Hogan’s kids Wilfred, now 12, and Paris, 10 — the show inspires other kids to leave the family room and head for a field or a forest.