Air Times: Weekdays on PBS, check local listings
Episode Length: Approx. 30 minutes for 2 stories
Target Age Group: 2-6 years
Network: PBS Kids
It's a Big Big World - Overview
It is a big, big world, but the world of It's a Big Big World is very small. The show takes place in and around one tree - the world tree, which is the tallest tree in the jungle - and that tree represents the world and how different animals co-exist and affect one another.
Snook, a sloth with a surfer dude kind of voice, is the central figure in the world tree, and he ties the show together, as he helps other animals, explains concepts, and interacts with viewing children. Other characters include Smooch and Winslow, two marmoset siblings; Wartz, a tree frog; Madge, an ancient turtle with the map of the world on her back; Burdette, a bird who thinks she knows everything; Bob the Anteater, who worries a lot; Ick, a fish; Oko, an old monkey; and more.
The show is animated using a unique technique called "shadowmation," which combines puppet animatronics with computer generated animation.
It's a Big Big World - Curriculum Overview
It's a Big Big World is categorized by PBS as a "preschool science series." Rather than focusing on a bunch of facts, the show approaches science as a process of discovery. Sometimes, the characters have a problem or question to solve whereby they learn about the world around them. Other times, the characters just notice things in nature as they interact.
In addition to life science, the show's curriculum also touches on concepts such as geography, animal facts, and the environment. In addition, the characters on the show employ methods such as compare/contrast and the scientific method as they play, teaching kids about the process of productive exploration.
It's a Big Big World - Guide Review
It's a Big Big World effectively accomplishes it's curricular goals of teaching children about the discovery process of science. This is an important concept, because to succeed, children need to be armed with so much more than just knowing their letter, numbers, and a bunch of facts. Especially at the preschool age, kids need to be involved in the process of learning, playing and discovering. More important than knowing the ABC's, kids need to know how to think and solve problems.The computerized animation is a bit distracting at times, but
It's a Big Big World is rich in content. The show encourages kids to explore and to learn. Kids are also encouraged to be environmentally friendly, a concept which is becoming increasingly popular in shows for preschoolers.
In addition to the more passive encouragement kids get by watching TV, PBS Kids encourages kids through the It's a Big Big World website, where kids can play, and parents can get ideas for activities that help kids learn more about science and discovery.
It's a Big Big World - Expand Upon the Curriculum
- Help kids plant a tree, flower, or other plant and watch it grow.
- Go on a nature walk and find leaves, animals, insects, and anything else kids would find fascinating. You could also point out things that may be harmful or helpful to the environment.
- Help kids make a picture by putting a leaf under a piece of paper and rubbing over it with a crayon or chalk.
- Enjoy the experience of sitting with your child and looking up at the stars together.
- As you play with animal toys or read about animals in books, compare and contrast the animals, and discuss the different ways the animals survive in their environments. You could also discuss how all animals, insects and humans depend on each other to survive.