The word 'Tikkabilla' is derived from the name of a game played in parts of India which is similar to hopscotch, and the programme takes a hopscotch approach to its format - hopping on stepping stones from story to song to visiting a real place. There are six presenters and each episode is presented by two of them.
Tamba - the puppet - is in every episode, joining in with the fun. Tamba plays the surrogate child asking those tricky and naive questions. The style of the programme is inclusive and interactive, directly addressing the viewing child - making links with their own experience and encouraging them to join in wherever possible.
The eight presenters are Justin, Lorna, Paul, Sarah-Jane, Simon, Amit, Veejay and Toni. They sing and dance, tell stories and perform rhymes, and make and decorate things. They lead your child through the 'window on the world' with entertaining, easy-to-understand commentary. They talk directly to your child in an engaging and chatty tone but occasionally take on the role of parent to Tamba.
The Tikkabilla house is brightly-coloured, flexible and comfortable with different levels and areas. There's a cosy attic for storytelling, a make table, swing seats, somewhere for pets and a large performance area. The round, square and arched windows have been retained from the trusted Play School series and provide a way into the real-world, insert material. The Tikkabilla Clock also builds on the original Play School brand. In each episode the clock helps your child with time-telling skills and also provides visual clues to the story coming up with a rotating display of related items.
'Through The Window' offers an interactive opportunity for your child to anticipate and predict which window will reveal the next real-world item. The real-world inserts include animal and natural history sequences, children from around the UK going about their daily lives, films about how things are made and children talking about their favourite things.
A story is at the heart of so many pre-school series, and Tikkabilla is no exception. Visual clues are displayed beneath the clock each day, to give children the chance to guess the theme of that day's story. There is a mixture of new and traditional, specially-written and published stories, including some from around the world. Children have further chances to play with language in the poems and rhymes which are a regular feature of the show.
There is a dressing-up box in the house. Children love dressing up, and they can watch the presenters (and occasionally Tamba!) dress up to get into character - for a story, poem or song. Afterwards, they could be encouraged to explore different characters themselves.
Songs are a vital part of the programme. There is a combination of traditional and specially-written songs, including new words to well-known tunes. There are lots of action songs, with plenty of scope for the viewers to 'jump up and join in' and songs with a particular theme, such as the weather, transport, feelings, opposites and the very lively 'Tikkabilla Jive'. There are also opportunities for your child to develop their musical listening skills.
Make and do
The makes featured include art, crafts and cookery ones. They are paced slowly to allow your child to follow them and have a go themselves after the programme. Tamba asks the questions that your child might ask, to clarify any aspects of the make process. Some of the makes are featured on the Tikkabilla website.
The educational value of the show
Tikkabilla helps children to:
- Understand and appreciate cultural diversity in a way that resonates with young children.
- Process emotions in a healthy way.
- Increase musical ability.
- Increase their understanding of geographical awareness.