Judge Erich Asperschlager's Mighty Math Power is adding hot sauce to everything.
"You can count on us to save the day."
Between TV and the Internet, there have never been more options to keep your kids quiet for twenty-some minutes at a time. Lest you feel bad about sitting little ones in front of the television, programmers have found a way to mitigate parental guilt: educational TV. Some kids' shows focus on social niceties like being polite, helping other people, and not biting your friends. Others deal with more traditional school subjects. Nick Jr.'s Team Umizoomi is all about math, using candy colors and peppy tunes to teach kids about counting, patterns, and shape recognition. Their newest DVD collection, Team Umizoomi: Umi Games, has four arithme-tastic episodes and runs a total of 96 minutes. Can you figure out the length of each episode? You have until the end of class. Please show your work:
"The Umi Sports Games"
At first glance, Team Umizoomi looks like a mid-level CGI kids' show. It doesn't have the cool factor of Yo Gabba Gabba!, or the clearly defined characters of The Backyardigans, but what it does have is serious education wrapped in catchy music and flashy colors. Forget the "Umi"-everything and the generic anime character design, what sets this series apart from its Nick Jr. counterparts is the focus on that least popular of subjects: math. Your kids will enjoy the hip-hop robots without realizing they learned something about pattern recognition and addition.
Team Umizoomi: Umi Games is presented in vivid full screen that fully delivers the world of Umi City, with its combination of animated and live action inhabitants. The palette is bright, and the picture is crisp. It's another solid DVD release from Nickelodeon. Audio comes in an upbeat 2.0 Stereo mix. True to form for these 90-minute TV-on-DVD sets, there are no extras.
Nick Jr. has set the bar pretty high when it comes to kids' TV. Although there's nothing special about Team UmiZoomi, there are far worse ways to distract your kids. In the words of my own daughter, "it's really funny." If it improves her math skills, even better.
I think the Umi Games might be fixed, but who cares? Not guilty!
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