Ten life lessons we can all learn from ‘In the Night Garden’

in the night garden

I’ve never done LSD. But I’ve seen movies. I’ve had reports. I’ve used a kaleidoscope. I can imagine.

It was (like a lot of things) himself’s fault that we discovered CBeebies In the Night Garden. He had trialled a few programmes from a very early age, propping the child up with a cushion, flicking through the channels, watching her reaction to the many colours and squawks and clinky music you associate with children’s television.

I protested that she was far too young, that there was plenty of time for television in our child’s life. But, being a Dad already (he’s a daughter ahead), he knew the craic. He knew that television would be the lifeline we needed in our lowest times of woe. He just had to find the right programme.

And then Iggle Piggle appeared. And Upsy Daisy curseyed on. And the Ninky Nonk broke through the bushes. Jackpot.

in the night garden
Life would never be the same again

I had no idea what impact these colourful, mismatched characters would have on our lives. I couldn’t have predicted that I too would fall in love with these creatures straight out of your worst LSD-induced dreams

We have come to the very firm conclusion that whoever made this programme has absolutely, without doubt, dabbled or been addicted to mind-enabling drugs. It may have been LSD. It may have been a bad cookie in Amsterdam. It may have been a bad accident that sent the creative director’s mind into a coma for a number of weeks. Whatever happened, the results are only amazing.

We now worship this programme. It calms our little girl down. It’s the last thing she watches before going to bed. And if she does waken in the middle of the night and won’t settle, we bring her down for a bit of Iggle Piggle love.

As we’ve watched episode after episode, listened to the Pontipines spit and skittle and longed (through exhaustion) to climb into Upsy Daisy’s bed ourselves, I’ve come to realise that there are many life lessons we can teach our children while watching this fascinating drug resulted programme.

Here are the top ten life lessons we can all learn while subjecting our children to In the Night Garden.

1. Perspective

There is none. Things are big. Things are small. Some things that were one size at the start of the programme are three times as big by the end. Noone notices. Especially children. This is a good lesson. Children: size doesn’t matter.

in the night garden
Giant Ninky Nonk. Doesn’t matter.

2. The birds

Freaky feckers. Colourful, out of tune, dip dapping, whistling birds. They appear in between scenes for no good reason. Get used to them. They serve no purpose. That’s the point. You will come across many noisy, useless, beings throughout your life.

in the night g birds
Bloody freaks

3. The love story

Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy have a thing going on. When they greet each other with a kiss, it goes on a bit too long. Sometimes Iggle Piggle gets into Upsy Daisy’s bed. It’s all very suggestive. But they never act on it. Lesson number three: a bit of sexual tension keeps things interesting. Don’t ruin the relationship by going too far.

in the night garden
Hope Upsy Daisy’s on her way to join me

4. A trip on the Pinky Ponk

Everybody at some stage takes a trip on the Pinky Ponk. The Pinky Ponk is a zeppelin like green machine that takes the characters on a ride most days because there’s not really a whole lot else to do in the night garden. Slurpy juices are mandatory inflight. Next life lesson: it’s important every day, to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

in the night garden
Getting hammered in flight as per usual

5. Makka Pakka’s trolley

It looks like a bike. But it’s not. It’s a handlebar with one big wheel. And a sponge and a bar of soap. And a contraption to squirt water at the Tomliboos. And a flute. That’s it. Makka Pakkaa pushes it around like a crutch he can’t leave home with. Next lesson children: it’s ok to be attached to useless objects.

in the night garden
Yep, just pushing around a load of crap. It’s ma thang

6. The dancing

Whenever a character appears, they are mandated to sing their own song and the dance that comes with it. Every character has one. Soon you will find you know the words and when said character appears, you uninhibitedly break into your own version. This is fine. It teaches you that valuable life lesson: dance like nobody’s watching. Your child doesn’t count.

Makka Pakka’s dance is the best. So here it is for ten minutes, non-stop. You’re welcome

7. Dental hygeine

It’s very important to keep your teeth clean. The Tomliboos are experts at it and don’t so much as brush their teeth, but their whole lower face. They also have special music to help them. You should play this while you brush your own teeth. Might help you reach those hard to reach areas.

8. The Wattingers

You will feel overjoyed when the Wattingers appear. They are rare. Only brought out for special occasions. Same with the Harboos. You’ll cry: “Look, look the Wattingers,” to your husband when he comes into the room. Because that really will have been the highlight of your morning. Life lesson number eight: what’s rare is wonderful.

in the night garden
Lovely blue neighbours

9. The crazy days

Some days just be crazy. You might feel like running at the walls or screaming. Days like this happen in the night garden too. The Pinky Ponk might go off course. It might crash into trees. It might go a bit LOO-LAA. This is another important lesson children: we all go a bit crazy sometimes. Just try to keep those days to a minimum, for Mammy and Daddy’s sake.

in the night garden
That was a mad day when the Pinky Ponk went to space

10. The self-obsession

The characters like to talk about themselves. A lot. Upsy Daisy is the worst. She never stops droning on about herself. She even has a big megaphone into which she shouts ‘Upsy Daisy, Upsy Daisy, Upsy Daisy’ all day long. We get it. But children, remember. Nobody likes people who talk about themselves all day. That is why you must educate yourself. Learn how to hold a conversation. Explore the world. Become interested in other people. And importantly, don’t watch too much TV.

in the night garden

Do you and your children watch In the Night Garden? What do you think of it? What other important lessons are there to be learned?

A Cornish Mum

December Girl is now available on Audio. Visit Amazon or Audible or click on the cover below to download.

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40 Comments on Ten life lessons we can all learn from ‘In the Night Garden’

  1. My eldest son went through the Night Garden stage. My fave is Maka Paka because, quite frankly, he’s a bit sh**! I bought my baby a toy Maka Paka before he was born. He’s 9 months now and he still isn’t interested! ?

  2. Excellent post! I swear Mr Pontipine is running some kind of illegal sweat shop. No way are those kids all his. Why does he have a fake moustache that can fly off? What is he hiding? Also, in one scene they say “delicioys food for Mr and Mrs Pontipine and gruel for the children”. WTF?!

    • Haha! Wow, you are so right. What is with the moustache? And the wife has binoculars. (To find the fleeing children??)

  3. This is the funniest post ever! And you are so right. The Wattingers are indeed a thing of beauty … Over the years everybody in my house has learnt to wait patiently for them to appear. Personally, I’ve only been lucky enough to see them once, but its been carved onto my memory forever. Much like the time I spotted a wild bore … Rare things ARE awesome!
    great post. (I’m sending it to my husband now because he will totally get it too!)
    Anna x

    • Thanks Anna! I have seen them about three times now I think, but that’s because we watch it back to back, a lot! *bad mammy* and now the winter’s coming in and less chances to get out. Sounds like I’ll be seeing a lot more of the rare Wattingers!

  4. This made me laugh and reminisce. Mine don’t watch In the Night Garden any more but I remember it clearly. Love number 4 – a very important life lesson. Thank you for cheering me up this afternoon.

  5. Ah this made me laugh! My nephew loved ITNG, I’m dreading when my little one is big enough to show interest in these things. His cousins already handed down a talking Iggle Piggle to him, oh dear! Xx

  6. Great post. My little boy was never really into ITNG. He watches it sometimes but he has always more gone for Peppa Pig. Some valuable points made though and honestly everything you said is something even as adults we need to remember. Sitting back and enjoying the ride, having perspective and it’s ok to go a little crazy from time to time.

    • Yep deffo. Love Peppa Pig too and looking forward to when she’s into it more. Love the politeness of it and the jokes they have for adults!

  7. When my sister was younger she would watch In the Night Garden every night before her bedtime. Maybe it was the age gap, but I really got sick of it fast, and didn’t like it as much as other kids shows. But you do make some really good points about what kids can learn from it, and I think I was wrong to be so dismissive! x


    • Well for some reason, our baby loves it. She really doesnt watch anything else at the moment. Sounds like you’ve always been protective of that sis!!

    • Oh we’d love to go to it live, but she’s a bit young yet. I’m always singing the song myself to her, love the music in it. Did you know there’s CBEEBIES land or something where it’s a proper little ITNG world? Def going when she’s older and if she still likes it 🙂

    I often think – What the hell am I watching, while Hayden’s eyes are glued to the TV!
    I love your perspective on it.
    I will now watch it with a more wide angle on thing LOL
    Thanks for sharing hun
    Charlotte x

    • Yep I’ve spent waaaaay too many hours watching it and that’s where the post came from. Think it’s out of my system now!

  9. We actually never was watched in the night garden before. Matthew night be glued you it. I actually turns it on myself one day to see what everyone is on about. They don’t talk much do they? Lol chloe might like it.

  10. This made me laugh Nicola, I now want to go home and watch In The Night Garden especially to see this sexual tension between Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy lol maybe I’ll leave it till we visit Amsterdam, might make more sense lol

    • Ok now I have an image of Upsy Daisy and Iggle Piggle in Amsterdam and it’s not good! Me and the hubby visited Amsterdam years ago. We were a bit worse for wear (drink only, I swear!) A man in a banana suit walks by and himself said, did you see that? I said, what? And then allowed him to think he was seeing banana costumes for the rest of the evening 😀 🙂 😀

  11. Aww I love In the Night Garden, as does my boy, although he loves his cuddly toys of the characters more than watching the actual programme. I love the birds, the noise they make is quite funny to me! 🙂

    • It’s ear scratching! She has all the toys too but she just looks at them funny, she prefers them on TV as she’s so young yet. From what I’ve been hearing, it’s In the Night Garden, and then after that, an addiction to Peppa Pig. That’s grand cos I love Peppa!

  12. As someone who has never seen or heard of the show (but somehow recognises a couple of the character names?) this is very entertaining! Haha I feel like some children’s shows are just intended to make no sense at all.

  13. This is brilliant I read the title and thought what in the world is this about. both my two went through and one still watches in the night garden, what I used to find hilarious was the families used to always loose a child, to funny was never sure what the lesson was.

  14. LOL! This is hilarious. And so true! And why, after having seen this so many million times, have I never noticed how odd Makka Pakkas bike-thing is?!!!! I have to admit, the whole show does really trip me out! xx

    • I know, you THINK its a bike until you look closely! It was the hubby who discovered this gem, to be fair to him. I always just thought it was trike!

  15. Haha will definitely watch it in a different light now! I’ve often wondered what the deal is with Makka Pakka’s non-bike and soap/sponge obsession…. very strange.

  16. I don’t think this was around when mine were small but I have seen it and wow what a weird programme! Beyond bizarre but it made me laugh!!
    Thanks for linking up to #Picknmix
    Stevie x

  17. I too loved that show when kids were younger used to laugh at the pontipines (the family with the mum and dad and 100 kids that looked like wooden pegs lol) but used to wonder about some of the charecters there were some sorta drugs goin on when they were create lol

    • The peg people. What are they all about? So weird! Our one year old is mad into now again. The three year is past it. There must be some part of the very young brain that is reflective of this type of night garden life!

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