“Won’t you be my neighbor?”
Many parents today have fond memories of this question, posed by the iconic Mr. Rogers. So many of our childhoods included watching Mr. Rogers begin each half-hour episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood by changing into sneakers, donning a sweater from his closet and welcoming us into his neighborhood.
Now, the parents who grew up watching Mr. Rogers can share his legacy with their own children. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, a half-hour animated show on PBS, carries the nostalgia from the original Mr. Rogers series into present day, as the creators re-imagined it for today’s audience.
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood premiered on September 3, 2012, with 40 half-hour episodes in the first season. Every episode includes two stories that focus on a theme applying to a child’s everyday life, such as dealing with emotions and new experiences, plus memorable songs that parents can use as teaching tools. The show is among the top 10 highest-rated programs for preschoolers and among the top 5 highest-rated programs among moms since its premiere.
Both Mr. Rogers and Daniel Tiger open with the characters putting on signature red sweaters and shoes, and in a nod to his predecessor, miniature models from Mr. Rogers’ Land of Make Believe can be seen on Daniel Tiger’s bookshelf.
In fact, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is an extension of the Land of Make Believe. Much like the original fans of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, the beloved characters from the Land of Make Believe have had their own children, which is where the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood stories start.
As an extension of the creativity and imagination ingrained in the TV show and Fred Rogers’ belief that “play is the work of childhood,” Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood toys, available exclusively at Toys ‘R’ Us, now offer parents and children beautifully detailed plush characters and figurines, a miniature version of the iconic trolley, several playsets and more. Each toy is made to inspire the kind of open-ended, imaginative play that was so important to Mr. Rogers.
Pretending is one of the first steps of symbolic thinking, which is critical to reading and writing skills, and research shows that children make strong connections to characters on TV. The Daniel Tiger toys were designed so that children can also use them for different purposes – they can make up different story lines from the show, use the characters to test out scenarios they’re facing themselves, like moving to a new house, and explore the depths of their imagination to transport them from a spaceship to a tree house.
The Motherhood is honored to support a fellow Pittsburgh institution, The Fred Rogers Company, as it carries on the wonderful legacy of Mr. Rogers through Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
Join us for a #DanielTigerToys Twitter party on December 4, 2013 at noon ET. Ten randomly selected participants who answer the trivia questions correctly will receive a plush toy! Here’s a link to the Twtvite for more info: http://twtvite.com/danieltigertoys.