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

Tumble Leaf

Tumble Leaf

Spring 2016 Television
Ages: 3 - 5 yrs.
Producer: Amazon Studios
Rating: TV Y

STEM education - science, technology, engineering, and math - got a twist in recent years as the Maker Movement noted the importance of art and design in the world of engineering. Behold - STEAM-which stands for science, technology, engineering, ARTS, and math education - and nowhere it STEAM education more evident than in Tumble Leaf, an original series from Amazon Studios.

This inventive program blends genuinely spectacular stop-motion photography with lovely music, stylish dialogue, and a cast of unusual animal characters, all of which will likely mesmerize the target preschool audience.

Each half-hour program includes two separate stories, starring Fig the Fox, in which adventures are themed around artifacts retrieved from an abandoned shipwreck off the coast of the community of Tumble Leaf. Fig's treehouse home includes a room called The Finding Place and that's where the artifacts are stored, admired, and studied. A set of cymbals inspires lessons about properties of sound, teaching concepts such as "loud" and "quiet." A notebook helps Fig and his friends imagine theories to explain an unsolved late-night mystery. Mirrors, pocket watches, holiday decorations -- each new item that turns up in The Finding Place inspires curiosity and encourages observation skills.

As always, the educational "footprint" it leaves will make a bigger impact when parents provide reinforcement and explanation both during and after the program. Very young viewers may need help distinguishing the whimsical elements from the program's nod to scientific inquiry.

This gently-paced and fanciful program will provide a springboard for further learning while it also stimulates imagination, celebrates creativity, and points out the exciting intersections between play and discovery.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2016 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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