Can you remember watching Sesame Street in your youth? Perhaps you sat down with your children and watched it as a family. Either way, if you’ve watched it, did you notice the fun games that they play to help kids learn and to teach them life skills? One of my favourites that I can recall when thinking back to that time in my life were the matching games. You know, “one of these kids is doing his own thing, one of these kids does not belong.” When I was a child, that game was just plain fun, but as an adult, I can see the great benefit which it has to children’s observation skills.
Sesame Street games are interactive. They are designed in a way that makes the young viewers feel like the characters on the show are speaking directly to them. On the current Sesame Street shows, there is a segment that airs which my daughter loves. I am not sure when this segment was added to Sesame Street, but it is called Journey to Ernie. It is basically a hide and seek game played between Big Bird and Ernie. This is another valuable game for childhood observation skills, Big Bird asks the kids to help him find Ernie and they go through different areas and listen or look for clues as to where Ernie may be.
Another segment of the show I recall from my childhood was the two headed monster putting words together. The word would be broken into two syllables, and one head would pronounce one half, and move it a little closer to the other, then the other head would do the same with the other half. They would do this quicker and quicker until the word was together and they pronounced it correctly. This is a very helpful scene in that the kids can make the pronunciations along with the monster and can practice recognising words.
For the much younger viewers, the show has the letter of the day and the number of the day. Each of these is remarkable in its own sense. First of all, the letter of the day helps kids to recognise each letter. They use the letter during the show and keep reminding the children what the letter is. The number of the day not only helps kids to recognise numbers by sight, but it also does more than that. It helps the kids learn to count, because The Count will count until he reaches the number of the day. The number can be has high as 20, so it is good practice for children.
Whichever segment you like the most, or which one you think is most helpful to your child or was most helpful to yourself as a child, there is no denying that Sesame Street and the well thought out segments that they air are useful to children. There is no doubt that they have in mind a sincere desire to help kids in all areas of life, but especially in making learning fun for them. For any educational system to have any hope, the children have to buy in, they have to be getting something out of it, and in all honesty, knowledge isn’t always very enticing to kids. So with limited options, to gain buy in from the kids, fun has to be at the top of the list. Too many of the youth in today’s society don’t like school, not that any of us ever did, but it seems different today. It is more than not liking school, it goes past that and into either not caring about or not finding any hope in their futures. With that kind of an outcome, we should be doing all that we can do to get them excited about learning at an early age and Sesame Street has the corner on that market. Make learning fun and hope that the long term outcome of that is beneficial to those kids and in turn, society. If you haven’t seen it in a while, sit down on the couch today with your child and turn on Sesame Street, you probably still even remember the song.