The first word that comes out of your mouth when you look at these round little adorable characters is “Awww!” And their names are equally cute too. Meet Krashy, Chichi, Rosy, Wally and Pandy, the five colourful characters of Fun Union’s digital series BabyRiki. Since the launch of this pre-school show on Russia’s YouTube, it has taken the digital platform by storm, gathering 500 million views in a span of only 10 months. BabyRiki is an animated show with content that covers all aspects of a child’s life- from physical well-being to cognitive and soft skills. The concept of the show revolves around the toys that have come to life in children’s bedroom. BabyRiki focuses on building social and emotional skills through the four C’s: Communication, Creativity, Cooperation and Critical thinking. “The educational aspect of the series revolves around telling children a story which introduces them to concepts that are new to them, using age-appropriate content,” says Fun Union CEO Christine Brendle, who was previously an entrepreneur developing Kids Dailies- a digital learning platform for children. “These concepts may include material objects, their properties and behaviour, elementary knowledge of space, time or the surrounding world, ethical notions, et cetera.” The narrative in the episodes unfolds rhythmically, slowly and in familiar surroundings which children can comprehend. “The subject matter is quite simple and based on situations that children can relate to: eating, outdoor play, games, sleeping and daily routines,” explains Brendle. One reason for the massive success of the show is its development alongside child psychologists and early development specialists- people who exactly know what appeals to kids, what is relevant to them and what they should be aware of ideally. Brendle mentions, “We wanted to ensure that the content in our show was appropriate for the ages while remaining entertaining. So, we worked with the experts to define the curriculum in each episode.” Apart from their lessons that focus on learning colours, shapes, sizes and so on, pre-schoolers acquire skills like sorting, rhyming, basic counting, recognition of words and letters through BabyRiki. BabyRiki episodes are a combination of live-action and 3D animation. “Montessori and many educators after her, have shown that children learn best when they see real life objects and can at the same time name them, see them and hear sounds associated to them,” highlights Brendle, who is of the opinion that concepts are easily retained in the child’s mind when vocabulary is combined with singing and movement. KikoRiki and Pincode – Fun Union’s other major brands – focussed on primary school kids. “It was only natural that we extended to pre-school which as a segment has been very vibrant for the past few years,” adds Brendle. “We also wanted to leverage the musical talents of Petersburg Animation Studio and kinesthetic learning works particularly well for pre-school.” BabyRiki follows the huge success of KikoRiki in Russia. With over 99 per cent brand awareness in the country, the creators felt the need to build on that image while targeting a younger crowd, adding a strong educational focus with cute musical stories. Positive response from pre-schoolers in Russia prompted Fun Union to launch across major digital platforms in China (Tencent Video, iQiyi, Youku, Mango TV and Beva). Between just 8 and 26 July, the show has amassed over 65 million views. Second season of has been completed and the third will introduce more tweaks to the five characters’ universe. As Fun Union holds the rights to BabyRiki (as well as KikoRiki and PinCode), its goal is to continue promoting and distributing the series across Asia and the world. And why just kids? Teens and adults alike will welcome these lovely and delightful characters with open arms!