Arizona Science Center takes a walk on Sesame Street with ‘The Body’ lessons in health - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Arizona Science Center takes a walk on Sesame Street with ‘The Body’ lessons in health

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Michelle Reese covers education for the Tribune and blogs about motherhood and family issues at http://blogs.evtrib.com/evmoms. Contact her at mreese@evtrib.com

Michelle Reese covered education for the Tribune, also blogging about motherhood and family issues at http://blogs.evtrib.com/evmoms.

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013 8:13 am | Updated: 3:34 pm, Tue Aug 20, 2013.

Grover and I go way back. Being a child of the ‘70s, “Sesame Street” was a part of life. The characters and songs from the show still flow easily through my head: “Around. Around. Around. Around. Over and under and through.”

I sang that ditty for my high school show choir audition.

So when asked to check out the new “Sesame Street Presents: The Body” exhibit at Phoenix’s Arizona Science Center, I jumped at the chance to take my nearly 3-year-old.

Then I realized she and Big Bird really don’t know each other real well. How would she like it? Would she understand?

I needn’t worry.

From the moment we arrived on Sesame Street, she and I were both transfixed. The special exhibit, which opened June 30, starts off with some of the most familiar images from the show. You really feel like you’re on the set as you walk past the street apartments with the overhead lights.

Our first stop was to check out how our feet measure up with different characters. I discovered Elmo and I have pretty similar shoe size.

Around the exhibit are televisions showing different skits from the show. Older adults and those who grew up with “Sesame Street” will recognize many of them, including “Talking with your hands.”

The entire special exhibit is designed to help kids understand how their bodies work, how to eat healthy and how to take care of their bodies.

There’s even a display on the digestive system – my 11-year-old would have gotten a kick out of the “poo” representation.

Yes, we’re entering the potty humor stage.

Two areas transfixed my daughter. The first was “Elmo’s World” where she could use giant magnets to dress Elmo appropriately for the weather. She followed the pictures pretty well and, if not for a misunderstanding of where a knee pad went for the “Skateboarding summer Elmo,” she did pretty well. She even crawled onto the bean bags, sat down and watched a bit of “Elmo’s World.”

(The cute display of Dorothy the Fish is included in the mock set.)

But the best area for her was Mr. Hooper’s Store and Baby Bear’s Mini Mart. There, visitors can pull up a stool and make mock meals using puzzles, gather plastic vegetables in shopping baskets or follow a menu plan to “buy” items for healthy recipes.

She could have stayed there all day. Her shopping basket was stuffed with all the tomatoes and cucumbers it could fit.

After learning how to brush our teeth and fix our hair, and after doing a few exercises with Elmo, she wandered back to the start of the display to look again at the overhead lights.

Museum organizers have even created a little party room and plan to open it for special events like birthday parties and breakfast with Elmo.

Oh, yeah. Elmo.

He made a special appearance while we were there. Since my little girl isn’t quite into big, furry, life-size images of her favorite characters, she followed him around but hung out behind my legs.

She does the same thing with Mickey Mouse, Dora or the cow from Chick-fil-A. I’ve seen it.

But a few older kids visiting the same day enjoyed it and even posed for a few photos.

The exhibit is around until September. I’m planning to take my big kids there in a week or two.

Besides, “The Body” is located right next to the Arizona Science Center’s weather exhibit. If they feel too old for Sesame Street (which I doubt), I can just throw them into the “Forces of Nature” show.

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