Happy Birthday Dora, Why Life Is Better with This Particular Explorer

When my first kid was all of eight months old, my friend's daughter uttered some phrase about “choco-latte.” I looked at her sideways. “Is that from a kindermusik class or something?” I asked. "No, it’s from Dora the Explorer,” she said. “Dora the what?” I replied. “You don’t know Dora?” she said, shocked. “Don’t worry you will.  You will.” Sure, I will, I thought. My son isn’t going to be into some girly show like that; not when there’s Elmo, The Wiggles, and the oh so masculine Barney to entertain him.

Well, if I could open my mouth and insert my foot, I would. In the eight years following that day I first heard of the little Latino lass, I’ve watched my two children follow Map up every purple mountain, over every flowy river and past every troll guarded gate. We’ve seen Dora and her helpful friends in the flesh, in the felt, and on the screen too many times to count.

My son would repeatedly scream, “Swiper no swiping!” much to the dismay of anyone in earshot, as loud and fast as he could. From the show, he learned about following directions in order and about extending kindness to people you meet in your travels. My daughter’s interest in speaking Spanish was piqued by Backpack, Tico, Abuela, and the rest of the crew. (Yeah, I live in bilingual South Florida and it took a TV show to spark her desire the speak the language.) Now that she’s past her Dora days she still recites her numbers and recalls all the Spanish words she learned watching the show.  The best part is that she still has an interest in learning Spanish, which I seriously think is thanks to that girl and her pet monkey. So, happy anniversary to Dora and the gang -- the show turns 10 this Sunday -- you inspired many a child in the last decade… my kids included.

Do you have a great Dora story? Chime in below!

Like This? Read These:
- What Dora's Doing for Her 10th Birthday
- 101 TV-free Alternatives
- Tips for Safe TV Viewing with Your Kids

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