“Elmo and the Sesame Street characters have helped my little sister a lot. She has a hard time when Dad leaves.”
On November 11th, KBTC partnered with the Children’s Museum of Tacoma for an extra special Play Date in honor of Veteran’s Day. The kids gathered at the door in anticipation for this fun-filled Sesame Street themed event! Military families were offered toolkits to help them cope with a family member about to deploy, as well as several fun activities designed to help kids learn through exploration!
There were three PBS Kids workstations. The first was a military themed movie clip of Elmo’s dad deploying. Kids were able to watch and connect with their favorite character as he worked through his feelings around his dad leaving. The movie signups were full as entire families gathered and watched together, allowing Elmo to help them through their own adjustments of deployment.
After the movie, many families ventured into to the station set up for making bravery badges. Kids were able to color a badge of their choice with wording ranging from ‘I’m not alone’ to ‘I’m brave!’ to ‘I’m on an adventure’. Some kids made several and offered them to their siblings, parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles.
In the midst of making several bravery badges, one boy shared, “Elmo and the Sesame Street characters have helped my little sister a lot. She has a hard time when Dad leaves.” The boy didn’t go into further detail, but upon finishing, he handed one of the badges to his sister.
The next station lifted the kids’ spirits as they colored and cut out Sesame Street characters to make finger puppets for the Patriotic Puppet Parade! Kids spent a great deal of time decorating their puppets just right.
Many helped their fellow creators with taping, cutting, or coloring when they struggled. The kids illustrated that they already understood the importance of community and helping one another.
While a family member deploying is never easy, the toolkits for military families provided by KBTC help children to adjust while connecting with their favorite characters. The Play Date brought out entire families and many learned new coping skills while enjoying themselves in the process.