Play Along with Sam: Around the World is an exciting, one-off 30 minute episode taking kids on a whirlwind musical adventure to China. The Foxtel channel's TV-exclusive will be presented by children's favourite Sam Moran as he travels throughout the orient, with new music, songs, tips on how to prepare for a trip as well as interesting cultural facts.
Play Along With Sam typically runs as a 'host' role on Nick Jr., but this one-off travel special will showcase Sam Moran's musical talents in a more extensive, curriculum-based format. The show teaches kids about musical instruments, sounds, animals and the world we live in through catchy tunes and play.
Tune into the television premiere of Play Along with Sam: Around the World on Saturday 18th of July on Nick Jr. at 8:30am and again at 5:30pm.
Question: How would you describe Play Along with Sam?
Sam Moran: Play Along With Sam is a show that encourages all children to play, sing and dance along while creating music. It's a curriculum based show, but it's first and foremost entertainment for children and parents. Hopefully with some catchy songs too!
Question: What's your favourite part about filming Play Along with Sam?
Sam Moran: I always love writing the new songs for Play Along With Sam. The latest album is coming out soon that includes all the songs from this year's Specials. I know the songs are good when I even have our filming crew whistling and humming along to them on-set.
Question: What's special about Play Along with Sam: Around the World?
Sam Moran: I sing a song about all the different ways you can say Hello, Thank you and Goodbye around the world. I get to take a trip to China and learn to speak a little Mandarin also. It's a great first introduction to different cultures and music is a great way of exploring that.
Question: Why did you decide to choose China, as the backdrop of this adventure?
Sam Moran: Australia is geographically on the fringe of Asia and we have such a large Chinese community. Also, the growing economic ties between our two countries mean that it is going to be a cultural relationship that will continue into the next generation. So, it seemed culturally appropriate to introduce to Australian pre-schoolers.
Question: Can you provide us some of the travel preparation tips featured in the show?
Sam Moran: That's exactly what I need the audience's help with. Everything from the song "What Will The Weather Be?" where we're trying to pack the right clothes for the trip, to how we're going to get there. Once you get there, you also have to know how to talk to the locals. How do you say "Hello, Thank You & Goodbye"?
Question: Why do you think children love the Play Along with Sam show, so much?
Sam Moran: Well the music is definitely one reason. But I think because I am the only character in the show (apart from guests) the children at home feel like they are on the musical adventure with me and are actively helping me solve the problems I come across. A dash of me being completely silly doesn't hurt either.
Question: Can you talk us through the educational values of Play Along with Sam?
Sam Moran: It's curriculum based, so everything I do is about introducing concepts to children in a developmentally appropriate way. Even simple things like sounding out letters (the first step to reading) instead of just teaching the name of the letters, and even counting things onscreen from left to right to encourage an understanding of the direction we read. While it is primarily an entertainment program, a parent can rest assured that we have put a lot into how the educational components are presented.
Question: Why did you choose to teach kids about musical instruments?
Sam Moran: My background, even before The Wiggles, was in music education so I feel strongly about introducing children to music at a young age. There is all sorts of research that shows how much a structured music education in pre-school years benefits all aspects of their later development. If I can bring an element of fun to that for children and encourage their future love of music, then I am extremely happy.
Question: Why is it so important that children's television be entertaining and educational, these days?
Sam Moran: Obviously children won't watch something unless they are entertained by it. They are the harshest critics and will simply walk away if they are not enjoying it. But as a parent myself, I understand that there are so many pressures to not let your children watch television. So when you do, you want to know that they are getting some developmental benefit out of it, and it's not just fluff. That is something I try very carefully to achieve in everything we make.
Question: Will we see another travel episode soon?
Sam Moran: I would love a to do a whole series of episodes where we get to showcase music from all around the world. Pre-school children are at their most open to all styles of music and it's a great time to showcase different cultures through music also. Fingers crossed Nick Jr is willing to fly me around the world make it happen! Haha!
Interview by Brooke Hunter