We were invited to review Ali Huda (www.alihuda.com) and were happy to take this up in exchange for preview access. Ali Huda is an online pre-recorded TV site with an array of educational shows aimed at Muslim families with children. We did not get around to watching everything in the time we had but the kids were satisfied that they watched the shows that got their attention. I asked the kids to watch, make notes and rate eye-catching shows over a week under my supervision, and this is what they came up with.
The two shows that came out on top were –
Once upon a time and Activ8! These shows scored 5/5 and my children were glued to the screen! Once upon a time is a story telling show where an adult reads an engaging story. It is aimed at a younger audience. My children love to be read to and really liked the choice of stories and the manner in which the stories were read. Alternately, Activ8 is a series aimed at older children and follows a group of teen boys on bush craft adventures. The show highlights team work and problem solving skills that the teens navigate in the challenges set for them to complete. My 9 year old described the show as ‘excellent and amazing’.
Other shows that my children really enjoyed were:
Scrap book Island – rated at 5/5. ‘You get to see kids learning and the show is set over different parts of an ‘island’ set up which is interesting and fun’. This was something my kids felt they could watch every day for fun and learning. Episode one was downgraded, however, to a 4.5/5 when my kids felt some of the props could have been better formed. For example, an animated waterfall with more realistic sound effects was suggested for the ‘Sunnah’ waterfall. The voices for the bird and the character ‘croco’ were loved and my children also found the narrator/presenter fun and engaging.
Baba Ali – This was rated 4.5/5! My children are familiar with Baba Ali from Youtube and were really excited to see how Baba Ali had been developed with the addition of a new character called Mu Mu. At the moment there is only one Baba Ali show about friendship. They found it ‘funny and cute’ – they watched it repeatedly! My children always enjoy a good laugh!
Talkies – This was rated 4/5. This show is about an animated robotic cat and penguin discussing Islam. My kids found the characters funny and also liked the way that the Arabic alphabet and Quranic verses are read at the end.
Brainy Bunch – My children rated this show 3/5. This show is an animation series which looks at a child’s understanding of different developmental themes, including emotional, intellectual, spiritual physical and creative. This series was described as ‘good for learning’.
General points for parents
Some shows aimed at younger children are short and as Ali Huda is relatively new there is new content added at intervals. Therefore, some series are sparse but I assume will build up shows in the future. Ali Huda is a nice addition to family learning resources or religious studies curriculum whether you are a home educator or not, especially if your children are visual learners. Generally I found that my children found most enjoyable the content that was less focussed on direct learning, and had elements of fun or adventure. In a home education environment some of the shows would make great topic based learning, however I have not been able to explore the shows as fully as I would like to in order to specify in more detail. In general, the shows called Muslims around the world, activ8 and brainy bunch caught my eye to explore further and use in topic based learning projects. The biggest bonus for Muslim families is the aspect of normalisation of seeing familiar cultural and religious vocabulary used in the shows. There is a good range of diversity within the shows and for my children it was nice to see a story time show hosted by a Muslim bearded man with a traditional long garment on. This is not something they see every day on TV and positive depictions such as this are arguably an important part of healthy identity development. It is positive to see someone who looks and dresses like people in their family doing ‘normal childish stuff’ on TV. I do recommend taking up the trial to see how Ali Huda will suit your family so you can decide for yourself how it could enhance your family’s screen time!
Recommendations for Ali Huda from my kids
My children are boys aged 5 and 9. They are crazy about Lego and they really wanted to use this review as an opportunity to express how they feel that a show based on LEGO (construction/building block projects) could enhance Ali-Huda further to all the boys and girls who have a passion for the brick and STEM activities. They would really like to see Lego projects based on festivals around the lunar calendar or the use of Lego in learning the Arabic alphabet is another idea for Ali-Huda!
If you would like to try ALI HUDA…
If your curiosity is tickled and you would like to try Ali Huda, you can actually get a free trial before you pay the subscription fee. You can also get the first month half price if you use the code DRMUMLY. The Ali Huda website also states that they donate 10% of subscription fees to a UK based charity for orphans. Finally, my children really enjoyed the content and loved the challenge of doing a review. Thank you Ali-Huda!