There are very few people in the world aged fifty years old or less who have not been impacted by Sesame Street in their childhood years. So, it only makes sense that Sesame Street Day was created to celebrate the tremendous influence that this maverick television program has had upon the lives of so many people around the world.
History of Sesame Street Day
Sesame Street Day was first established in 2009 to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the show’s original broadcast. While initiated in New York City, it should come as no great surprise that this occasion is now recognized by tens of thousands of individuals from all over the planet. In fact, the number of followers for this particular day continues to grow each year.
Beginning in 1969 in the United States, Sesame Street is a creation of the Children’s Television Workshop (CTW), which is broadcast on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). It’s an educational series that combines live actors with animation as well as special puppets by Jim Henson, known as “Muppets”.
Many of the recurring characters have remained with the show for many years, particularly Kermit the Frog, friends Ernie and Bert, Big Bird and Cookie Monster. Elmo came into the scene in the mid-80s and many more characters have joined since then as well.
Through short vignettes, songs, skits and cameo appearances, the show seeks to create educational opportunities for children of all ages by fostering learning, engaging their minds, building social skills, promoting self-esteem and offering basic academic skills.
While the finances of the show started out as a collaboration between government and private corporations, they have become mostly financially independent due to their licensing agreements and corporate deals that help to keep the show alive.
Over the years, Sesame Street has hosted hundreds of famous guests. It all started with James Earl Jones back in 1969, going through the alphabet in delightful voices. Since then, over 800 guest stars have joined the show including politicians (President Bill Clinton), musicians (New York Philharmonic), journalists (Katie Courick), actors (John Krasinski), athletes (Michael Phelps) and so many more.
In the more than 50 years since its inception, Sesame Street has gained quite the following with The first international version of the show didn’t take long to come about, which was in Brazil in 1972, just three years after the original show aired. It is broadcast in more than 140 countries in at least 70 languages, and has over 30 different international versions that are adapted to local cultures and issues. And all of it is with the intention of creating healthy, happy, well-rounded kids who are engaged in learning and life.
Now those are some great reasons to celebrate Sesame Street Day!
How to Celebrate Sesame Street Day
Commemorating Sesame Street Day has no real conventions, so everyone can choose to celebrate it as they see personally fit! But here are some interesting ideas for ways to get in the spirit and celebrate the day:
Enjoy Some Sesame Street Episodes
Some people might wish to relive your youth by watching old episodes of the show. Others might want to grab a child or grandchild and watch some of the newer versions of the show that have a modern take. Because it has been airing since 1969, the show has released more than 4,500 episodes that cover all kinds of subjects that are appropriate for kids but also entertaining for adults.
Just because it’s a kids’ show doesn’t mean there aren’t important and serious topics to be discovered that adults can also benefit from. Topics have ranged from how to deal with feelings to dealing with divorce, from children in foster care to being HIV positive, from dealing with grief and loss to homelessness, and just about everything in between.
Watch Sesame Street Feature Films
While they’re mostly known for their thousands of episodes that air on television most every day, Sesame Street also made it to the big screen a couple of times and these movies can now be found on dvd or online.
The first was a film featuring Sesame Street’s largest character, Big Bird. In the musical road-comedy, Follow That Bird (1985), Big Bird faces a crisis when is sent away from Sesame Street to live with a family of actual birds, but he runs away and heads back home to Sesame Street.
The second film zoomed in on the Street’s beloved furry red character, Elmo. Released in 1999, The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland was a musical adventure comedy that tells the story of how Elmo, in search of his missing blanket, ended up in the world at the bottom of Oscar the Grouch’s trash can.
Get Some Sesame Street Merch
Head to the local toy store and pick out a favourite Muppet toy or other Sesame Street character item. Fisher Price Little People Sets were produced many years ago and now the licensing has been picked up by Lego. Plus toys, puppets, greeting cards, games, books, figurines, party decor, clothing, pajamas, household items and pretty much everything else can be found in support of this delightful show.
Grab a Cookie Monster T-shirt or complete Big Bird costume and wear it to enjoy the day. No matter what is chosen, Sesame Street Day is a true celebration of the importance of valuing children and reaching them on their level.