Your child’s imagination is sure to reach exciting heights when “Sesame Street” heads to the Grand Canyon National Park. That’s right; a new project shows beloved monsters Elmo and Murray tour Grand Canyon in several videos that motivate preschool aged children to experience the great outdoors. Ranger Amala from Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona encourages Elmo, Murray, and children across the country to use all of their senses to investigate and observe the outdoors.
Sesame Workshop and U.S. National Park Service have partnered to promote scientific skills which kids can learn through Elmo’s and Murray’s experiences at the Grand Canyon as well as in their own backyards. According to Rosemarie T. Truglio, Sesame Workshop’s senior vice president of education and research, the project is very child-focused and stimulates a child’s natural curiosity to exploration to the natural environment.
The videos can be viewed on the national park service website which also proposes related activities materials for parents to share with their children. In each video, the furry Muppet monsters (dressed in ranger regalia) meet with a park ranger from the National Park. In one video, Elmo and Murray are greeted by Ranger Amala, who introduces them to the word “habitat.” “Habitat!” Murray says proudly. “I know all about bad habitats. Like burping, biting your nails.” Elmo and Murray soon find out otherwise from Amala as she explains all the different Grand Canyon habitats.
Truglio adds that since children are natural scientists, they should be encouraged to go outside and explore nature using all their senses.
The videos also aim to help kids make the connection between Grand Canyon and nature in their own vicinity. The Grand Canyon habitats show them that there are similar habitats close to them, says Jon Jarvis, National Park Service Director.
The magnificent Grand Canyon setting for the videos seems like a no-brainer since nearly 5 million people plan a Grand Canyon vacation each year, but meanwhile, kids will be reminded that there are numerous local parks and yards where nature is just waiting to be found. After all, Americans have access to nearly 400 park areas, including 59 national parks. Grand Canyon tours, for example, are a great way for all ages to explore heritage and habitats.
“Be a ranger like us!” urge Elmo and Murray. “It’s great to go outside and look for animals in their natural habitats.”