Photo Credit: Nickelodeon
Math. Historically, it’s something children avoid. So many kids seem to hate it instinctively (either that or they pick up on the fact that their moms cringe at the mere thought of it). This is probably why you don’t see many math-themed kids’ shows. Outside of PBS’s very good Cyberchase, which is aimed at older kids, it’s hard to think of one that's even remotely math-centric. It's even more difficult if you try to name a math show for preschoolers. Of course, our cultural math-phobia is also exactly why we need preschool shows that teach math. Luckily, Nick Jr has come to the rescue with its new math superhero series, Team Umizoomi.
In the show, two pocket-sized mathletes and their little robot friend help out regular-sized kids with a slew of different problems — problems to which math is always the solution, of course. These adventures are exciting enough to draw little ones in, and then the math lessons are absorbed as part of the action. Team Umizoomi’s distinctive look (the live action-animation mix) and its fourth-wall-breaking interactive style are both reminiscent of another groundbreaking, highly influential preschool show: Blue’s Clues. That’s probably because both shows come from the same creative team. Oh, and if the voice of the robot, Bot, seems familiar, that’s because it’s performed by another Blue’s Clues alum, Donovan Patton (a.k.a. Joe).
For the sake of our country’s future accounting practices, I hope Team Umizoomi is as popular as it deserves to be.