A new interactive tv show on Sprout called Tree Fu Tom has made its way over the pond from the UK. It is aimed at children ages 3-7 and my 4 year old has been asking to watch it again and again.

The show is about a boy named Tom who shrinks and turns into a cartoon to enter the world of his garden. Tom and his friends encounter challenges and have to problem solve solutions. This is where the magic comes in.

Tom calls upon his “Big World Magic” that he needs help from the viewers to get. Kids are encouraged to do the Tree Fu movement sequences along with Tom. Parents may be concerned with the martial arts name, but be sure that there is not fighting in this show. Just like Dora has her backpack and Diego has his rescue pack, Tom has his Tree Fu Magic. The difference is that these movement sequences were created by OTs and PTs in the UK to help children master the foundations of movement. The 12 skills/abilities integrated into the program are: balance, trunk rotation, shoulder stability, pelvic stability, trunk/arm separation, trunk/leg separation, fluency of movement, proprioception, reflex integration, spatial concepts, midline crossing and fine motor skills. The movement patterns were developed to provide all children a fun way to practice the foundations of motor skills, but particularly to help children with dyspraxia and other coordination difficulties to develop these skills. In the UK the program is incorporated into therapy programs in clinics and schools.

Children with coordination difficulties, autism spectrum disorders and sensory processing challenges will all benefit from watching and interacting with this show. It provides more than just entertainment!

The following link is an article written by an OT in the UK on the movement patterns in Tree Fu Tom: http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/grownups/article/tree-fu-tom-movement-skills/

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