Dora the Explorer has fearlessly leapt from television to the silver screen to star in Dora and the Lost City of Gold – and everyone in our house is very excited.
Even my husband and I have a fondness for Dora after sharing so many hours with her endless energy and amazing parent-free adventures.
It took a while for my daughter to discover Dora the Explorer, but when she did, there was no going back. While there were times when we wanted to hide the DVDs somewhere ”unfindable”, it’s easy to see why Dora is such an appealing character.
And when you have an early riser who wakes at 5am every day without fail, a bit of Dora can be most welcoming. She not only gave a sleep-deprived mum a chance to wake up and have a cup of tea, but she also taught my kids a lot at the same time.
1. Speaking Spanish
While “Say map” was one of the first phrases my oldest daughter said with great relish, it was actually the Spanish words that stuck. From my experience, learning a language comes from exposure, practice and a lot of repetition.
If you’ve ever watched an episode of Dora, then you’ll know repetition plays a huge role in the show’s format. My daughter couldn’t help but pick up a few words here and there.
When she started Kindy, she did weekly before-school Spanish classes, but now the only Spanish she remembers is from the many hours spent listening to Dora say basic things like the colours in Spanish, phrases like “Vamonos!” and “Hola, soy Dora,” over and over again.
2. The alphabet
My daughter also learned the alphabet thanks to Dora. Maybe it was the catchy song or the fact she watched that particular episode time and time again (as I said she was an early riser), but for whatever reason, it inspired her to learn the alphabet off by heart – and what’s not to like about that?
3. Learning numbers
Learning to count was another skill both my daughters practised endlessly with Dora. Once again, it’s the repetition that really helped it to sink in. Did I mention, Dora the Explorer uses a lot of repetition? Well, she does, and it works!
4. The importance of friendship
Dora has the ability to make and maintain strong relationships with her friends, even if they are mostly animals, like her bestie, Boots the Monkey. She never lets them down and will do anything to help them out of a spot of trouble. She’s also very close to her family members, including her equally energetic cousin Diego.
Watching her gang of friends made a huge impact on my kids. In fact, a number of their imaginary friends clearly resembled characters from the show.
Although none of these ‘friends’ are around anymore, they certainly came about while watching Dora the Explorer. Both girls made lovely friendships at pre-school and then Kindy and I can’t help but think maybe Dora had a helping hand.
5. Girls can do anything
Dora is confident, brave and can do absolutely everything – a great role model for little kids, particularly girls. Along with her friends, no task is too challenging, no forest too scary and no mountain too high. She finds solutions to any problem, stands up to the artful sticky-fingered Swiper the Fox and cleverly defeats those who are up to no good.
Plus, she approaches every day with positivity and energy (sometimes a little too much) – and at the end of each episode, she happily sings, “We did it!” As annoying as that song can be, you can’t dispute the sentiment.
My girls have now outgrown Dora, but I still haven’t been allowed to get rid of the DVDs, books or the Dora the Explorer floor puzzle. Every now and again, they secretly watch an episode for old time’s sake.
And of course, we will definitely go and see the movie these holidays. We’ve seen the trailer and we can’t wait! Vamonos!