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

Team Umizoomi

Team Umizoomi

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

As you'll quickly discover in the energetic opening theme song, Team Umizoomi is a "tiny team" that goes "behind the scenes" to solve problems. This program premiered on Nickelodeon in early 2010 and since then, tiny superheroes Geo and Milli—and their robot pal Bot—have encouraged preschool-aged viewers to use basic math and sequencing skills to solve problems.

Team Umizoomi is mostly animated, although it incorporates live-action kids and adults in the storylines. The "problems" involve completing a simple task using "Mighty Math Powers," and they weave counting and simple arithmetic skills, as well as number, pattern, and shape recognition, into every element of the plot. Sometimes they also explain a responsible habit such as making a bed, featured in the episode "Job Well Done." Or, the characters describe how an everyday object works. Once the task has been successfully completed, the tiny gang breaks into a song and dance number called the Umi Shake.

While many shows claim to help build preschooler-ready math skills, too many just squeeze in a few forgettable lessons between music numbers and trivial storylines. Congratulations to Team Umizoomi, because it promises to focus on math skills and then actually sticks to that mission. It almost feels like an educational video game because it focuses so fully on the math component. With Team Umizoomi, kids can count on a bright and lively story, and parents can count on truly educational television that will help build skills in an entertaining way.

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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