A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this series explores lessons in cooperation, common fears, and getting along with others. The short vignettes are told in storybook style by an unseen female narrator; the animal characters don't speak. The stories are relatively conflict-free and alternate with brief segments that present early math concepts like counting, quantity, and more than/less than/same as. Audience participation is encouraged in these segments; young voices are heard calling out answers to the narrator's questions, and your kids will eventually call them out, too.
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What's the story?
MIFFY AND FRIENDS is a gentle show for the youngest TV viewers. Based on the beloved children's books by Dutch illustrator Dick Bruna, this stop-motion animated series about a little white bunny and her animal pals deals with all things preschool. Miffy and her friends learn lessons from one another, their parents, and other adults -- lessons such as how a caterpillar changes into a butterfly or how to build a doghouse. When Miffy and a friend sleep outside in the garden, they learn to deal with their fears of unfamiliar sounds -- never any scarier than a parent's snoring -- and to support each other through the experience.
Is it any good?
The interstitial math segments are participatory and engaging, encouraging kids to get up and dance, call out answers, and interact with the characters. Kids will identify with many of the things that happen to Miffy and her friends.
At the very least, Miffy and Friends is a sweet, benign, gentle show for preschoolers. At its best, it offers an engaging, encouraging, educational opportunity for little ones to learn early mathematical concepts and to explore their world in a safe, non-threatening way.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the lessons learned within each episode -- from behavior to analytical thinking. How do kids feel after watching the program: excited, relaxed, or enthusiastic to watch something else? Parents may want to initiate follow-up discussions on the themes and concepts in order to allow kids to apply their newfound knowledge to their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
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