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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Splash and Bubbles is a preschool series from the Jim Henson Company that explores ocean science and marine biology concepts in fun, age-appropriate ways. Titular characters Splash and Bubbles serve as kids' guides through the deep as they embark on adventures to experience new places and meet new ocean species, learning about different creatures' adaptations to their habitats, as well as unique characteristics like bioluminescence. Every episode ends with a live-action sequence that reinforces the story's concept with real footage of ocean creatures in action. With music, friendly faces, positive messages about healthy expression of emotions, and lots of laughs, this fun series is a great pick to inspire kids' curiosity about the natural world.
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What's the story?
SPLASH AND BUBBLES follows two best friends -- a yellowback fusilier named Splash (voiced by John Tartaglia) and a mandarin dragonet named Bubbles (Leslie Carrara) -- on their far-flung adventures in their ocean habitat to learn about other species and their underwater surroundings. Their Reeftown home is a lively, colorful place, but Splash and Bubbles yearn for the great beyond and the secrets it holds, so they set off with their pals Dunk (Raymond Carr), a somewhat timid pufferfish, and Ripple (Aymee Garcia), a sensitive seahorse, to make new acquaintances and see the sights. Inevitably this leads them to discoveries about the ocean and its inhabitants but also about themselves.
Is it any good?
This charming series inspires respect for marine life and the ocean's diversity by pairing the characters' comical adventures with more traditional educational segments. Splash and Bubbles entices youngsters much the same way Finding Nemo's vibrant scenery and endearing characters did, bringing a certain intimacy to the vast expanse of the ocean through its friendly characters. Reeftown is a bustling community of all different kinds of marine life, but when Splash and Bubbles explore beyond its boundaries, they discover even more diversity and fascination.
What really distinguishes the educational quality of this show, though, is the pairing of the characters' stories with the live-action "Get Your Feet Wet" segments that reinforce the oceanography concepts. When an animated octopus shows how being an invertebrate lets him move in unusual ways, it doesn't resonate quite as much as does seeing an actual octopus squeeze into a narrow bottle, for instance. These close-up views of the wonders of marine life will amaze preschoolers and inspire curiosity about more wonders of the underwater world.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different creatures Splash and Bubbles meet. What makes them similar? How do their differences help them survive in their unique surroundings? Why is diversity important even within the same habitat?
Do your kids like science topics? How does marine biology rank among their interests? What practical applications of science do you see in your own life?
- Premiere date: November 23, 2016
- Cast: John Tartaglia, Leslie Carrara, Raymond Carr
- Network: PBS Kids
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Ocean Creatures, Science and Nature
- Character strengths: Curiosity
- TV rating: TV-Y
- Available on: Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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