“Smelly and Dirty Show” Teaches Children to Ask “What If?”

There is a problem in the city. A dump truck threw a trash can of bowling balls into the street without realizing it – balls that were supposed to be delivered to the bowling alley. Stinky, the garbage truck, and Dirty, the backhoe loader, see this happening and decide that they will deliver the balls to their destination. But how? They try different strategies. What if they put everyone in Stinky’s trash bin? ( It will take forever. ) What if they rolled them in there? ( This will work, but then the truck will become too heavy to move .) What if they had pushed balls in there? ( Hmm, we’re going somewhere now .) What if they put them in a giant nest so the massive bird thinks it’s her eggs and puts them in its mouth? ( Ummmm, let’s get back to brainstorming .)

What if?

The issue is constantly debated on The Stinky & Dirty Show , the original Amazon series for preschoolers, which is releasing its newest semi-seasons this week . The show, based on the Kate and Jim McMullan I Stink series of books, is stunningly drawn and has an insurmountable premise (trucks? Dirty? What’s not to love?), But it also carries important information for kids to understand. it’s okay to hear over and over again that it’s okay to fail.

“‘What if?’ it’s kind of a dawn of hope, “says Jessica Lahey, who helped develop the show’s curriculum.” ‘What if?’ the birth of creativity and “what if?” always a source of sustainability. “

The lessons from Smelly and Dirty Show align with research from Lahey’s bestselling book, The Gift of Failure: How Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed . In each episode, Stinky and Dirty’s best friends start with a problem they don’t know how to solve and end up solving it – talking to each other, identifying potential solutions, and trying, failing, and trying again. “It has a lot to do with design thinking,” Lehey says, referring to a method of solving problems experimentally rather than relying on what has worked in the past. As Stinky and Dirty try to deliver the bowling balls in a different way, a song plays in the background: “You can do this. You can do it. So what if it didn’t happen before? Try, try, try a little more. ” They ultimately get their job done by building a life-size marble site with pipes and concrete blockades, and then rallying the community to help.

As a parent always looking for smart, thoughtful kids media to show my 5 year old, I love The Stinky & Dirty Show . In the new season, the characters will face more serious dilemmas: how to get through a slow-moving traffic jam with many irritable cars, how to remember a list of things they must bring to a construction site, how to help a buoy that is afraid to end up on land. Lahey says the team created the show in a way that sparks family conversations. Here are some ways you can help your kids relive the lessons of the show in their everyday world:

  • Use the power of “What if?” to help them change the way they see themselves. “I teach at a drug and alcohol rehab center,” says Lehey. “So I teach children who have never had people who believe in them. So often they come up to me and say: “Well, I can’t do this because blah blah blah,” and I say: “Well, let’s pretend for a minute that you can.” Let’s show our creativity and say: now I am capable of this. What if you believed it? What would it look like? “
  • Stop giving them answers. Lehi says our job as parents is to discuss options with children, not give them answers. For example, leaving the house in the morning can be unpleasant for everyone. When you leave the house, instead of telling the children, “Hey, you forgot your backpack, lunch and jacket. Come back and get them, ”- share the strategies you have developed over the years. As Lahey says, “You can tell them,” You know, before I leave the house in the morning, I love to think about everything I need to do and make a little checklist. ” Then they can come up with their own solutions.
  • Let them screw up. Lahey believes mistakes are where “the best place to learn.” And there will always be new problems. “I started driving thinking about Stinky & Dirty and the different scenarios they could get into,” she says. “Like, what if they need to deliver water to the water tower? How would they do it? Or what if they need to pour water into a fire truck? How would they do it? It was so much fun to brainstorm. I like it.”


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