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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Backyardigans is a popular preschool series that celebrates the value of imaginative play by way of colorful, friendly characters who take on new roles in each episode. As their adventures take them to far-flung countries and through different eras in time, kids get an age-appropriate picture of basic geological and cultural references for the various settings. Song-and-dance routines enhance the show's quality content, which is so enjoyable that it will win over parents as well as kids, so both groups of viewers can relish in these fun, roaming stories.
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What's the story?
THE BACKYARDIGANS is set in the neighborhood of its five main animal characters: Austin (voiced by Jonah Bobo), Pablo (Jake Goldberg), Uniqua (LaShawn Jeffries), Tasha (Gianna Bruzzesse), and Tyrone (Chris Grant, Jr.). Each story begins with the friends at play in one of their backyards, which evolves into an imagined setting for an epic adventure. Recent episodes have transported the Backyardigans to ancient Egypt, the underwater city of Atlantis, the Canadian frontier, and the vastness of outer space, where they must tackle some sort of problem and fend off enemies both familiar and unfamiliar. When the dust settles, it's back to real life as kids in their neighborhood.
Is it any good?
This vibrant preschool series has won over fans of all ages with its endearing stories and fantastic incorporation of music and dance. Each episode plays out like a mini-musical with a handful of unique songs interspersed throughout the day's story. Because they're acted out by the Backyardigans themselves, kids can easily make the distinction between what's real (at least for the characters) and what's make-believe, and this can translate to new inspiration for their own imaginative play.
As the stories evolve, kids also see other positive qualities demonstrated through the characters, such as conflict resolution, effective communication, and creative problem-solving. And because their settings are constantly changing and the show pays close attention to how it portrays different places and cultures, there's also an appealing educational element to the stories. The bottom line? It's not always easy to find a show you like as much as your youngsters do, but The Backyardigans definitely has the potential to fit that bill.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Backyardigans' many adventures. What places and/or time periods did they visit? How were their surroundings different there? What problems arose for them? How did they solve them?
Kids: In what ways can differences between friends be a good thing? What are some traits you really admire in your friends?
Parents can use the premise of this show to encourage imaginative play with their kids. Pretend you're visiting another place or time, and draw pictures of what you and your surroundings might look like. What sights would you see? What kinds of food would be customary?
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