If you’re the parent of a young girl, you’ve probably noticed that cheetah, leopard and zebra print designs are everywhere on kids’ clothing, backpack and shoes. I’ve never been a fan of the animal print look, but my 6-year old Hope assures me it is “definitely cool” to be sporting spots and stripes at school. And for her, the cheetah print reigns supreme.
What makes me smile is that my kid’s love for cheetah couture is not fueled by a goal of being cool or fashion forward. Nope, Hope’s inspiration comes from her love of actual cheetahs, a passion inspired by books and educational programming.
It started with the PBS Kid’s show Wild Kratts, a popular hybrid educational program and cartoon featuring real-life naturalist brothers Chris and Martin Kratt. During each episode, the Kratt brothers take kids on educational adventures to learn about land and sea creatures in their natural habitats. They do this by first donning “creature power vests,” then morphing into animated half-human/half-creatures themselves (hey, how else are you going to get creature-perspective?)
My kid loves Wild Kratts in general, but it was with the cheetah episode (and their cleverly named cheetah, Blur) that my kid was hooked.
“I just LOVE cheetahs!” Hope tells us on a repeat basis. She imitates cheetahs in play with friends and asks for books on cheetahs, big cats and “cool creatures” more generally.
When kids tell you they love a topic, run with it! Get them the books that will make them smile!
We’ve made library runs and devoured all of the Smithsonian titles in the Bookboard library, a series Hope calls “the cool science-and-nature creature books that I love!” (though she’s patiently waiting for a cheetah title to appear).Thanks to all this great educational content, Hope now regales us with intriguing creature details on a daily basis:
- Mommy, did you know a narwhal’s horn is actually a tooth??
- Daddy, did you know giraffe’s tongues are blue?
- Hey guys, did you know that swordfish mommies can lay, like, a million eggs?
And – of course – did we know that cheetahs run up to 70 mph? Actually, this was the only creature detail we did know, so it’s cool to have our kid teaching us what’s she’s learning.
In other cheetah news, I have to mention the holiday just passed. Thanks to Santa for paying attention and bringing Hope this beautiful, realistic cheetah plush toy (props to parent pleasing toymaker,?Melissa and Doug.) Our ears are still ringing from the sound of my daughter opening this gift and shrieking – “Oh my GOSH, it’s Blur! IT’S BLUR!”
Blur makes a proud, fierce addition to our home. Well, most days, anyway. Today, he’s the guest of honor at my daughter’s tea party.