Sometimes when I think of Mister Rodgers’ Neighborhood, I could cry. It’s like a flood of sweet childhood perfection comes rushing back at me. Those moments when I felt little and happy and thrilled to just be learning how to tie my shoes. It is without exaggeration that I say Fred Rodgers was huge part of my formative years, and I consider myself a die-hard fan.
I read The Simple Faith of Mister Rodgers with delight a few years ago, but remember feeling sad at the time that this inspiring man would not be part of my kids’ childhoods.
Well…maybe now, that isn’t true. A little while ago, my son chanced upon a treasure on the iPad, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. He fell in love, and I was soon to follow suit with crushing on this program. You see, it’s ADORABLE. Long story short, about a year ago, The Fred Rodgers Company started producing an animated program on PBS that is dedicated to carrying on the message and nostalgia of Mister Rodgers. The are many parallels between the original show and this new one: did you notice Daniel rocks the same red zip-up sweater Mister Rodgers did for so many years? The songs are familiar, the Land of Make Believe makes an appearance in the scenery, and while the original character have grown up and moved on, their cute little kiddos are on the scene.
It’s not just the carryover of characters, music, and sweaters, though. This company is dedicated to instilling the values of my childhood hero into this new show: not just entertaining children, but teaching them to be comfortable with their feelings while learning important, practical lessons along the way.
I hugely credit Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood with assisting our potty training efforts with the show’s catchy jingle, “If you have to go potty, STOP, and go right away…”. And what parent who has seen this program doesn’t love on the tune about how “Everyone is big enough to do something” (read: maybe you can’t do Mommy’s mountain of laundry yet, but you can still find some way to put your 4 yr. old self to good use ).
Then the company took it one step further. After a bunch of research about how kids best develop creativity and imagination, they created a whole line of toys that promote open-ended play. You can snatch them up just in time for the holidays at Toys R Us. Head over to the website to case out all the reviews and details, but a personal note on these toys? My son has slept with his stuffed Daniel Tiger every night since he got him and even invited Daniel TO WATCH FOOTBALL WITH HIM ON SUNDAY (I know–huge honor). And when we opened our trolley toy? It already was Christmas in this household.
The summary is that I loved Mister Rodgers Neighborhood as a kid and I am beyond tickled to know that his legacy can live on in a new generation through Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Check the show out. Check the toys out. And fall in love with Mister Rodgers all over again.
I participated in this program on behalf of The Fred Rogers Company and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.