When Annie was younger, Mike and I often turned to YouTube as a teaching tool for her. It started with us showing her videos of kids doing things she was going to be doing, like go to the doctor, be a flower girl in a wedding, or ride a bike. From there, Mike started showing her videos about inventors, skeletons (anatomy, not Halloween), and her animal obsession du jour (currently monkeys). It didn’t take her long to realize you could find a YouTube video on just about anything.

Annie earns screen time through good behavior, chores, etc, and about half the time when she cashes it in she wants to watch YouTube videos. She’ll sit next to me and ask me to search for videos from one of the five categories: Rosie’s World (A cute little girl playing dress-up), PlayDoh tutorials, American Girl Stop Motion, Frozen dolls talking, and cake decorating. She knows a LOT about these subjects now and can speak about any of them for hours…and often does, which can sometimes confuse people.

Bampa: Who is this Rosie you’re talking about? Is she from Preschool?
Annie: No, she’s from Canada.

I think the most interesting thing is that she uses the other 50% of her iPad screen time to make videos. In her videos, she’ll do everything from act out songs (from Frozen, of course), do hair “tutorials,” PlayDoh demonstrations, house tours, etc. Often, she’ll do all of these things in one incredibly long 30 minute video that includes stretches of dead air from when she went to the bathroom or got distracted by something her brother was doing.

annie tube


A hair “tutorial”

The videos are incredibly nauseating (the camera is always crazy-shaky, a la Blair Witch) but otherwise completely hilarious. Mike and I will watch the videos after Annie is asleep and crack up at the stuff she says. There is a lot of mimicry happening. They all start basically the same way:

“Hey guys, Annie here. Today I’m going to talk to you about Frozen/show you how to make cereal/teach you about this fancy hair style….”  etc, etc.

At the end of the videos, she’ll say:

“Thanks for watching! Ascribe [she means subscribe] to my channel if you want more Annie Spohr! That’s A N N I E (I have two Ns in my name) S P O H R! Don’t forget to hit ‘like’ below!”

I finally had to talk to her about the whole end of video sign-off, and why we shouldn’t just repeat things without understanding what they mean. But on the inside I’m giggling because it’s so ridiculous. I talked to one of my friends about it, and she said that her daughter does the same thing, and has even been uploading Rainbow Loom videos. I haven’t uploaded any of Annie’s videos, although I’ve saved a few of my favorites to the computer.

Annie told me not long ago that when she grows up she wants to, “Work at the movie theater and make movies.” (LOL forever) So maybe this is just the first step!