Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Backyardigans

The Backyardigans

Spring 2013 Television
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Producer: Nickelodeon
Network: Nickelodeon
Rating: TV Y

Any kid who's ever uttered the words, "I'm bored," needs to meet The Backyardigans. The half-hour program airs on Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. channel and in each episode, a collection of neighborhood pals use their imaginations to turn their common backyard space into an unlimited world of adventure.

Bright CGI animation brings five little animal-like pals to life as they explore new worlds and, along the way, address themes of friendship, teamwork, and simple problem-solving. In the episode "Dragon Express," two kids in the gang operate a delivery business. It is kind of a pony express, but they deliver the mail on flying dragons. Ultimately, the simple storyline teaches kids that exuberance needs to be tempered by respect for safety, but there's nothing preachy about it. Kids will get the message and along the way enjoy the bright musical numbers and inventive animation.

Each adventure ends in the back yard space where it all began, and the Backyardigans conclude their play session with a snack, singing a gentle tune about seeing each other again soon for more backyard escapades.

With so many so-called kids' programs rushing little ones into a grown up world, parents can rest assured that The Backyardigans promotes and preserves the sweet, gentle pleasures of childhood. It's fun, it's educational, and it's the kind of cheery television that will inspire kids to get up off the couch after the credits roll and run outside to explore the adventures that await them in their own backyards.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2013 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

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