My friend Eileen recently revealed a staggering observation she'd made about parenting amid the pandemic. "Some parents feel ashamed if they can't buy the latest, greatest gadget for their kids." It triggered from her an impassioned treatise that expensive gadgets aren't necessary for a child's entertainment. She argued, "You can tell stories with a child, create a puppet show with socks, invent a new game, build a doll house out of a cardboard box!" You just need imagination and a simple prompt.
"That's where Yardelnarf! comes in," I said.
"Well, it's sort of a carry over from The Scrub Club."
"What's The Scrub Club?" She asked, exasperated by my non sequitur.
Thus began my story.
In 2019, animator George Berlin and I began producing NSF’s Scrub Club, an updated version of a kids’ club originally created about 15 years ago by NSF, Int’l (formerly the National Sanitation Foundation). The series is aimed at helping kids maintain healthy habits like regularly washing hands and covering your mouth when you cough. When the pandemic hit, The Scrub Club was already in position to promote habits fast becoming more popular than ever.
You can see our cartoons at the NSF’s Scrub Club website: https://www.scrubclub.org/
The success of NSF’s Scrub Club influenced our follow up creation, Yardelnarf!
Yardelnarf! is an independent production that inspires children to make the best of a drab situation – like the pandemic. George and I were concerned that some children have struggled to respond to lock-down and home school in a constructive, positive way. And we’re concerned about those who rely too heavily on outside stimulation to engage, have fun, and learn.
The animated Yardelnarf! series is designed to inspire in children the magical fun they can have with the simplest of props and the courage to dream.
Paisley Yardelnarf is a spunky 6-year-old with a limitless imagination. Living in a world not unlike the COVID-19 era, Paisley is separated from in-person play dates and in-person schooling (making Paisley’s stay-in-place existence relatable). You see, in each episode something bizarre always prevents families from engaging the outside world: a glue truck has crashed and all the neighborhood doors are stuck shut; there’s a locust attack; a giant falls asleep against the houses blocking the front doors. As a result, like so many of us, disused cardboard boxes and tubes from all the delivery of daily-needs items surrounded the Yardelnarfs. With an imagination working overtime, and a perpetually positive attitude, Paisley has constructed a massive structure out of the boxes.
In each episode, Paisley’s creativity transforms her fortress into a place of imaginative adventure. A cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels becomes a spyglass, and suddenly Paisley is a pirate on the high seas. An empty toilet paper cardboard roll attached to a shoebox becomes a movie camera, and Paisley’s imagination transports her to a botanical wonderland and a BBC Planet Earth-style wildlife adventure.
Paisley’s habit strengthens intuition, sharpens instinct, encourages ingenuity, exercises creativity, nurtures a unique voice, and reminds us all that fun can be created with openness to new ideas and the simplest of prompts. Her fanciful adventures remind us that by harnessing the power of our imagination, our future is limitless!
The series inspires parents with ways they can use art and creativity to connect with their kids, keep them mentally stimulated, physically active, and foster a healthy environment that nurtures creative development.
George and I want Yardelnarf! to be a source of inspiration for parents and kids looking to exercises their imagination and tap into their full creative potential despite any outside forces and regardless of any perceived limited resources.
We invite you to watch episodes of Yardelnarf! ... just as soon as they are produced. The project is currently in development and we are actively seeking partners to help us begin production and engage audience. If you'd like to help, please send me a direct message. Let’s talk!