Exploring the world with a preschooler is always an adventure. Their eyes grow big and their faces light up when they make discoveries about the world around them. It’s not uncommon for parents’ faces to light up, too, as they share in the magic.
“Preschoolers love to have opportunities to explore!” says Susan Michal, director of early childhood education at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. “It’s part of their social emotional development. Children can further develop their independence when they are given open-ended time to explore and discover in a safe environment. They can use their own creativity to create their own meaningful adventures.”
Preschoolers need social-emotional learning opportunities now more than ever, Michal says. “During this time of remote learning and social distancing from extended families, friends and neighbors, children need opportunities to identify emotions and practice social situations with others.” They need opportunities to explore, create and understand.
In Nickelodeon’s hit preschool series Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go!, preschoolers and their families explore the enchanting world of Dora the Explorer and her animal-rescuing cousin, Diego. They use tools like Map and Backpack while teaming up with friends like Tico, Isa and Boots, which teach preschoolers fundamental concepts like colors, numbers and shapes. They also touch on social-emotional learning, including the value of caring for others through problem-solving, sharing and kindness.
In the spirit of these shows, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis created Nickelodeon’s Dora and Diego—Let’s Explore! exhibit to give grown-ups the opportunity to join these favorite characters in modeling ways for preschoolers to care for others. After 10 years of touring the country, the exhibit returns to The Children’s Museum in February 2021.
Dora and Diego will introduce Spanish words and phrases throughout the entire exhibit, and will introduce visitors to many of their traditions and customs. Preschoolers and families can explore the world around them in five specific areas within the exhibit:
- Families are invited to sail the high seas in the Pirate Piggies’ Ship. Make sure you follow the Pirate Rules while you’re there!
- Travel through space in the Rocket Ship and help Dora’s friends find their way back to the Purple Planet.
- In the Animal Rescue Center, children can help care for endangered baby animals.
- Families can help Tico in the Nutty Forest. He needs to gather nuts to fuel his car before Swiper swipes them. If you see Swiper, be sure to say “Swiper, no swiping!”
- Preschoolers can also help tend Isa’s Garden by sorting her flowers by shape.
Throughout your trip with Dora over the sea, through space, into the jungle and gardens, little ones will learn a lot about friends, teamwork and problem solving — concepts that aren’t necessarily as concrete as the ABCs.