Lessons from Ms. Frizzle

As today is the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street, I can’t help but remember everything the likes of Big Bird and company taught me in my early childhood years.

I really learned a lot from the folks on Sesame Street. After all, it was the Cookie Monster who taught me that the word “cookie” does indeed start with the letter C.

Remembering Sesame Street also brings to mind some other favourite childhood characters that have recently come back into my early adulthood.

For instance, the opening of Where the Wild Things Are last month and news of a summer 2010 release of Toy Story 3 have made me both excited and nostalgic.

The recent returns of all these childhood favourites really got me thinking how great it was to grow up in the ’90s. Not only do we know every Spice Girls song, the Macarena and the names of every Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, but I think we have an advantage over kids growing up today.

This advantage comes mainly in the form of our childhood television. No one can argue the educational value of our favourite characters from the past. That one hour of television time, whether granted after school or on Saturday mornings, helped us learn about many subjects.

For instance, remember Bill Nye the Science Guy?

Come on, what didn’t we learn from this guy? He taught us everything there is to know from dinosaurs to static electricity to how to get an egg into a bottle (using fire)!

Then there was The Magic School Bus. Ms. Frizzle taught me many things, like how sound waves work, what’s in space and food’s journey from one’s mouth to the toilet. I still resent that my school bus never got baked into a pie.

One favourite book-turned-television series I’ll never forget is The Berenstain Bears. That family of bears taught me important life lessons ranging from the dangers of becoming the jealous “green-eyed monster” to why I should clean my room.

Finally, I’m sure everyone remembers Arthur. Who knew I would relate to—and learn life lessons from—the everyday experiences of an aardvark and his group of animal friends?

Maybe it’s my bias, but I can’t help but feel like the kids of this generation are missing out when it comes to television culture. The Hannah Montanas and Dora the Explorers of today simply don’t match up to our favourites from the ’90s. I don’t necessarily want to trade the latest drama on Grey’s Anatomy to go back in time to the latest adventures on Rugrats, but it’s fun to take a trip down memory lane once in awhile and embrace my inner kid. See you in line at Toy Story 3!

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