Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Unleash Your Kid's Mighty Math Powers with Team Umizoomi on Nick Jr.

Nick Jr. recently launched an exciting new children's show, Team Umizoomi, designed to teach basic math skills and make the subject fun and easy for preschoolers.  I've long been an advocate for quality TV programming that focuses on math, and I can tell you that this is absolutely a show your preschoolers should be watching.

Team Umizoomi follows the animated characters Milli, Geo and Bot as they solve problems requiring math skills for the live-action citizens of Umi City.  Visually, the show will remind your kids of Blue's Clues, but everything else is right out of the Dora the Explorer playbook: tons of music, singing, dancing and most importantly repetition and interaction.

Like Dora, the members of the team will frequently turn to their "Umifriends" watching at home for help.  You'll hear these familiar queues throughout each episode:
  • "Can you find the... ?"
  • "Do you see the... ?"
  • "To make [something happen], say [or sing]... ?"
One of my favorite things about the show is the idea that we're using our Mighty Math Powers to solve these problems, making math into something fun and awesome.

In the two episodes I reviewed, Team Umizoomi covered a wide range of math skills: counting, shapes, patterns, matching, and measurement came up repeatedly.  For example, in The Rolling Toy Parade, the team had to compare pictures to identify what pieces were missing from a broken toy, identify shapes to build a hot air balloon, and identify the pattern in a song (then sing along).  These skills will absolutely help prepare your child for math success when they get to school.

Team Umizoomi's website includes a small collection of games, ideas for parents to turn everyday moments into math learning opportunities, printables and the chance to "join the Team" to get a bunch of free stuff for your little Umifriend.  You can learn more about the show from Donovan Patton (voice of Bot) on Wired's GeekDad blog.

I highly recommend this show.  Give it a chance and watch your child's Mighty Math Powers grow!

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