Friday, March 11, 2011

Everything Old is New Again

NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour last week revolved around elements of pop culture that people should be sure to share with their children. (Listen here). The group suggested such entertainment relics as PeeWee's Funhouse and Rocky and Bullwinkle.  Though the suggestions were individualized and varied in both taste and medium, one common factor seemed to be enjoyability for the parent as well as the child. They praised shows that contained wit that operated on dual levels. They also talked about how you should expose children to these types of pop culture early; even if they don't get it right away, they are picking up humor tropes and ways to set up language. It got me thinking about some of my own favorite pop culture that I can't wait to share with my daughter:

 1) Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends

In the spirit of early exposure, this is one of the pop culture pieces I remember fondly that I've already started sharing with my daughter. The poems are funny and smart, and I think that the rhythm makes them enjoyable even for my three-month-old.

2) Boy Meets World

I love this show more than I should probably admit. I didn't have regular television channels when I was growing up (we only had satellite because we lived in the sticks, and we didn't have access to local channels on it), so I was late discovering Boy Meets World, but once it re-ran on The Disney Channel, I watched and re-watched it. Excitingly, and after a long hiatus, the later seasons are supposed to be coming out on DVD. When they do, I'm going to get the series, and I hope my daughter enjoys it half as much as I do.

3) The City Museum
To be fair, The City Museum is not pop culture that can be "consumed" in quite the same way as the other examples, but it's my favorite place, and I cannot wait until I can take my daughter there. This is really the type of place you just need to experience for yourself, but if you aren't coming to St. Louis any time soon, here's some pictures to give you an idea.

4. Blue's Clues
This show premiered when my little brother was 9 months old, so I was well aware of the Blue's Clues phenomenon. Even before he could talk, my brother would scream with glee at the end of the mail song.  At two, my brother was hospitalized after an appendectomy. I recorded (on VHS, no less) episodes of the show to watch while he recovered, and while I was recording them I fell in love with the show (and it's adorable host, Steve). 

The show is smart and fun. It illustrates the value of deductive reasoning, attention to detail, and collaborative thinking. Oh, and it's also crazy cute. 

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