Even before we gave Harley her own tablet, we were looking for video content for her. The reality is that screen time isn’t evil, and honestly, sometimes we all need time to zone out – her in front of a video and me without a little one demanding my complete attention. That said, I still like to encourage her to watch things that expand her mind, teach her something, or are generally worthwhile. I’ve found a bunch of awesome shows for kids, and I thought I’d share them with you. This time, it’s Team Umizoomi.
What is Team Umizoomi?
Team Umizoomi follows Milli, Geo, Bot, and Umi car as they solve everyday problems in Umi City. This can including finding a lost stuffed animal, fixing a crack in a fish tank, rescuing missing chicks who disappeared from a classroom and going on an egg hunt.
In order to do these things, they use their “Mighty Math Powers”. Milli has “Pattern Power”, changing her dress to match whatever pattern they need to remember or find, as well as pigtails that can change length when they need to measure things. Geo is all about shapes, with a shape toolbelt. He will help the team come up with a blueprint for what they need, and then break it down into the different shapes that they need to find. Bot and Umi Car are more functional, with the car getting them around and Bot showing off problems or videos on his belly screen.
What Do I Like About It?
I think Team Umizoomi is phenomenal for making math something tangible. So often in math classes, people wonder WHY they have to learn these things, how it will help them in daily life. Younger kids immediately get this sense that math is learning another language, that it’s hard. Instead, Team Umizoomi shows kids that they’re already great at math and even says so when breaking the fourth wall.
Math isn’t just about calculations, or about complex formulas. It’s a way that we can understand the world around us. Patterns, shapes, basic arithmetic and more are all presented in Team Umizoomi as part of life’s normal problems. By solving them with mathematical principals, it shows kids that math can be useful and even fun.
Harley really likes the show, too. She thinks that the characters are silly, and she loves to scream at the screen when she sees the necessary shapes. She also has grasped some early counting skills already. In the episode with the missing chicks, they keep saying “how many do we have? Is that all of them?” And she understands that when they’ve found 2 chicks, that’s not all 6, they need to find 4 more. Which I think is pretty remarkable for a 3-year-old.
She also loves the dance at the end. They celebrate their victories and invite the kids to dance along with them, doing the Umi Shake.
What’s not so great about it?
When presenting the problem at the start of the episode, everything is shown as an emergency. No ice cream? Emergency! Going to be late for the race? Emergency! It’s not the biggest deal, but in trying to teach a kid about a problem vs emergency, this show might not be ideal.
Where is Team Umizoomi Available?
We watch Team Umizoomi primarily using Amazon Prime video, which has season 1 and 2 included for free. You can also view it for free on the NickJr website and app. Seasons 3 and 4 are available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube.
If you’re looking for more fun shows, here are some other kids’ TV series I’ve looked at: