SPOILERS! If you’re interested in watching this kids show for it’s content like me, don’t read on. I even tried to write around the spoilers and still gave a lot of the storyline away.
How Our Lives Have Changed (Yes, I’m being dramatic)
My son has recently been obsessed with the Numberblocks show from BBC’s CBeebies and I couldn’t be happier. Not because I like it as well, I mean, I don’t mind it. But he has quickly developed an understanding of addition that baffles me. He’s doing single and double digit addition but turned 4-years-old only a month and a half ago. What he’s picking up from the show and is comprehending so quickly and easily amazes me.
What He’s Learned
He counts to 100 on his own thanks to how they teach numbers. They start off with a rainbow visual for numbers 1 through 6. They keep this color coding anytime they count single digits. Number 7 represents the previous 6 colors as it’s own rainbow. Numbers 8 and 9 are pink and gray to follow up the rest of the rainbow. Then it starts with the double digits. 10, 20, 30, and so on are a lighter shade of their corresponding single digit number. When they want to represent 28 for example, they clump together the lighter shade of the number two in a 20 block character and then attach the number 8 character.
This makes it easier for kids to learn to count past 10 by showing them how to break down the numbers they’re seeing. They can look at 12 and determine that it is 10 and 2 because the character for 12 is the 10 character and the 2 character stuck together. The same stands for the 36 character, it’s the 30 character (who is yellow to reflect the number 3 character) and the number 6 character.
Not only is this set-up helping him to figure out how to count into the double digits but it’s also helping him grasp simple addition. He has figured out that 10 plus 5 equals 15 because he can attach the 5 character to the 10 character.
I kind of discussed how they use the colors for the first 9 digits whenever those single digits come up as anything other than the characters themselves. Whenever the break the laws of physics and start floating around, they generate blaster rays out of two sides. If 18 is blasting his way around, while shaped as he is in the above picture, he generates three rays out of his bottom side and six rays out of his left side. The bottom rays shoot out as the same color as the 3 character (yellow) and the side rays shoot out as the same colors as the 6 character (indigo).
The Voice Actors
Major props to the eight voice actors in this show. Yes, you read that right. All of the different characters in this show but they only have eight voice actors doing all of those different voices and characters. Now that is talent. Most of these actors also voice characters in Alphablocks, the sister show of Numberblocks that works on pronunciation and usage of the letters of the English alphabet.
The Numbers Personalities
Not only does each number have their own voice, they have their own personalities. They’re unique to themselves even when coupled together as 10 and 7, for instance. The number 17 is an artistic number, it’s own unique personality rather than just representing the personalities of the 10 character and the 7 character.
It’s Not Just Counting and Addition
They also cover certain shapes, like in the episode “Square Club” a favorite of ours. The episode “Stampolene” also covers how the Numberblocks change change their shape to make new ones.
Is it bad that I didn’t have to look up a single one of these episode names, I just knew them off hand from over-watching the show?
They also cover subtraction, multiplication, division, and even great than/less than. So far, these concepts are going over my 4-year-olds head but I’ll give them time.
Me: “Why do you like Numberblocks?”
4-year-old: “Because it’s so fun!”
There you have it, from the mouths of babes. Keep in mind, the first time I asked him that, his answer was simple, “20.” I don’t know either.
To show that double digits can be made by sticking a 10, 20, 30, etc. together with a single digit, they have the characters combine to make these larger numbers. But sometimes it gets a little odd separating and re-combining these characters. For instance, in the episode “Five and Friends”, they repeatedly separate and re-combine multiple of the number 5 character and a separate collection of the numbers 1 through 5 as characters. There’s multiple of the number 5, that’s like having clones of your Uncle Ted!
I have not been paid in any way by BBC, CBeebies, Netflix, or their affiliates for my presentation of the Numberblocks series. My review of the show is not swayed at all by money, just by how I feel for the show and what changes in my son that I have seen after watching this show multiple times. I do not own any part of this show or it’s parent companies and am not affiliated with these companies in any way beyond being a fan.