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

Team Umizoomi

Team Umizoomi

Spring 2014 Television
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Producer: Nickelodeon
Rating: TVY

Team Umizoomi is a "tiny team" that goes "behind the scenes" to solve problems using "mighty math powers." This CGI-animated half-hour program premiered on Nickelodeon in early 2010 and since then, tiny superheroes Geo, Milli, and robot Bot have helped preschoolers build basic math skills. The storylines incorporate counting and sequencing challenges, along with number, pattern, and shape recognition. Team Umizoomi also incorporates some live-action kids and adults with smartly detailed elements. And there's music. Lots and lots of energetic music.

In an episode titled Little Panda Joe, the Team escorts a lost baby panda back home to his family at the Panda House. The journey includes basic problem-solving, color and number-recognition skills, and even a lesson about safely crossing streets. In The Sunshine Fairy, a greedy gnome steals a fairy's magical light and Geo, Milli and Bot help the fairy tackle a series of matching, counting, and color-based challenges to recover her powers. Once a problem is solved in each episode, Team Umizoomi celebrates with a high-spirited dance called the Crazy Shake.

For all of its bright animation and whimsical characters, Team Umizoomi sticks to its intended mission of helping preschoolers strengthen their own "mighty math powers" and the educational elements take center-stage rather than feeling like an afterthought. The challenges aren't much different from what you'd find in other educational children's programs, but Team Umizoomi's tone and art direction help to distinguish it from the glut of other preschool programs. It takes a cheerful, even joyous, approach to logic and left-brain education, ensuring kids acquire math skills without experiencing the slightest hint of math anxiety.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2014 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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