West Michigan is preparing a unique invitation for children to “Come On Over” – a first-of-its-kind television show designed to reacquaint young people with the joys of everyday play, creativity and imagination. The new show, which began shooting and production May 22 at Hope College in Holland, Mich, is the creation of Enthusiastic Productions, LLC, a recently formed venture involving the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum and Joel Schoon Tanis, a seasoned children’s performer and West Michigan native. The show’s initial 13 episodes are scheduled to air this fall on WOTV4.
Designed as a half-hour, weekly program for children ages five to nine, “Come On Over” will blend the tenderness of Fred Rogers’ Neighborhood with situations from the everyday world and silly graphics evoking those in Monty Python’s Flying Circus. In each episode, viewers will join Tanis’ uniquely childlike character in his backyard and studio/garage for a different adventure themed around an extraordinary, and sometimes surprisingly ordinary, activity that enables children to explore their environment through play.
“In a world where play is dominated by video games, television and organized sports, there is a vital need for a resurgence of unorganized, backyard imagination,” continued Ms. Thome, Grand Rapids Children's Museum's Executive Director. “’Come On Over’ takes us back to entire afternoons played with a single stick. It is a return to mornings with mud pies – and without electronics, joysticks or organized sports leagues. It is the imaginative medicine kids and parents alike have been waiting for."