When asked what his favorite show is, my son with autism will say it is The Backyardigans. My guy is nine and even though the show is for preschoolers, I don't mind. The Backyardingans is a cute show that encourages imagination and excellent social skills.
The Backyardigans are five little playmates who have "excellent adventures" in their own backyards. One episode features them as secret agents. In another, they are pirates seeking treasure. In the end of the treasure seeking story they decide to rebury the large diamond they find. Their costumes suddenly disappear and the five characters head to someone's house for the ever present end of the show snack.
The diversity of the characters is subtle, yet apparent. Each of the characters take on a different form. For example, Pablo is a bluebird and Uniqua is, well unique. I guess it isn't an accident that Uniqua was my son's favorite character for a long, long time. However, now he'll say it is the orange Tyrone, a moose, instead of the pink, feminine Uniqua. The two other characters are Tasha and Austin.
Anyway, I love the show for its emphasis on imaginative play. I think the imaginative aspect of the show is a good influence on my son. However, I suspect my young viewer likes the show for its vivid use of color and, in particular, for its great music. Usually the show runs about a half hour (commercials included). The shows are mini-musicals which feature the characters breaking into song now and then.
Occasionally The Backyardigans morphs into hour-long specials. Music stars like Cyndi Lauper and Alicia Keys have performed songs on these longer shows. Long or short the story-lines are always superb, which makes the show much more tolerable for adults to watch than some other older, better known programs for children. Even though the show is geared toward two to five year olds, The Backyardingans is also great for older children like my son who may be experiencing some developmental delays.