The Backyardigans

 

Learning(i)

Fine but somewhat repetitive preschool TV show game.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game reinforces that pretending and using your imagination is fun, and a good way to spend time with friends. Learning basic concepts (shapes, colors, numbers, etc.) can help you accomplish things.

Positive role models

The Backyardigans are good friends, with powerful imaginations, and they put their creativity to use to dream up fantastic adventures.

Ease of play

During the steering levels, of which there are three, navigating around obstacles takes a bit more dexterity than anything else in the game and could cause frustration for some very young children. The rest of the controls should pose no difficulty for preschoolers.

Violence & scariness

During the pirate adventure, Pablo and Austin have a "duel," which consists of shouting "Arrgh!" and shaking spyglasses at one another. In the superhero adventure, the characters playing heroes and villains blast each other with "superpowers." These mostly consist of energy-type rays zooming from one character to another. Being hit by these rays shows no effect whatsoever. Austin throws a shield, Frisbee-style, at the villains; this also does not actually hit anybody and causes no damage.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The booklet contains three pages of ads for other Nick Jr video games.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this three-episode collection of Backyardigans adventures freatures the endearing characters from the Nick Jr preschool series and provides players with an opportunity to use basic early-education concepts in order to advance the story. Each adventure can be completed relatively quickly and, while the scenery and storylines change from adventure to adventure, the actions the player must perform remain basically the same.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • patterns
  • shapes

Arts

  • rhythm
  • music

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • part-whole relationships
  • solving puzzles

Communication

  • listening

Collaboration

  • respecting other viewpoints
  • teamwork
  • meeting challenges together

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Learning Approach

Support

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • patterns
  • shapes

Arts

  • rhythm
  • music

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • part-whole relationships
  • solving puzzles

Communication

  • listening

Collaboration

  • respecting other viewpoints
  • teamwork
  • meeting challenges together

Kids can learn a variety of basic early-learning concepts, including color and shape identification, pattern recognition, number order, and rhythm. Kids tap musical instruments to a designated rhythm, match items of similar color and shape, and hone their hand-eye coordination by steering through a maze-like obstacle course. All instructions are spoken aloud, so following directions is also a major part of the lesson. By having to overcome obstacles with the help of others, players are introduced to the benefits of collaboration. The Backyardigans engages preschoolers with early learning, although somewhat repetitively.

This Learning Rating review was written by Christopher Healy

What's it about?

The Backyardigans game, just like the TV series, follows five animal friends who play together in their backyards, which they imagine to be different wild and exotic environments. In this game, the friends act out three different adventures -- pirates on a treasure hunt, superheroes stopping supervillains from stealing a giant key, and space garbagemen hounded by space junk collectors who want to swipe trash from them. As classic as the themes of those first two may be, no one can accuse that third story of being clichéd.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The Backyardigans is a fine, if unexceptional video game for preschoolers. The characters and stories are cute, and all the right early-learning concepts are called upon during play. But the adventures are over quickly and the same activities -- guiding a vehicle around obstacles, hitting numbers in order to create dance steps, shouting words into the microphone when cued -- are repeated from story to story. Too often, the game actions are unconnected to what's actually going on in the story, like matching shapes in order to hoist a sail. The addition of a freestyle music game helps add an extra fun element. In the end, though, this game is best for fans of the TV show who  will enjoy the chance to interact with beloved characters.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the value of imagination. How can the adventures the Backyardigans undertake seem so real to them when the stories only exist in their heads?

  • Parents can also use the game as a jumping off point for reinforcing basic preschool concepts, such as numbers, shapes, and colors.

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
Price:$29.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:2K Play
Release date:November 5, 2009
Genre:Preschool
ESRB rating:E for (No Descriptors) (Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi)

This review of The Backyardigans was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old November 10, 2014
age 10+
 
LEARNING

Great but not for learning

There is sort of violence when the pirates have a duel and Captain Hammer (Austin) throws stuff at Yucky Man (Pablo) and there is no learning involved. Unless you count learning to have fun and play videogames as learning!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 4 year old Written byKimmies Mom March 21, 2010
age 4+
 

Great game for pre-schoolers!!

My daugher really likes this game. I like that she is learning while she is having fun, she likes playing the mini games. She LOVES feeling like she is in the show, helping the charaters solve the problem!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass