When I think of my childhood favorite characters, I think about Winnie the Pooh. I suppose many of us do!
In fact, I raised my own kids, on the A.A. Milne stories too. My son with autism learned about friendship, courage and dealing with emotions from the iconic books, TV cartoons, and movies.
So, this month, as Disney is ready to release its latest movie Christopher Robin on DVD, I thought it would be fitting to remember the different ways parents can introduce their kids to the magic of Winnie the Pooh.
#Movies and Cartoons
With the upcoming holiday season, it is a great time to go back and re-screen some of the classic Pooh movies, and TV cartoons. Though most movies are on available on DVDs, you might discover some that have not been converted but can still be found on VHS tapes. And of course, there’s always the option to find many on streaming services like Netflix, and Hulu as well as YouTube.
Not many know that Milne was inspired to write the Winnie the Pooh books for his son Christopher. Christopher got a toy bear he named ‘ Edward Bear ‘ as a gift for his birthday but changed the name to Winnie after he saw a playful bear at the zoo in his hometown of London.
A.A.A Milne first wrote about the adorable bear in a poem published in 1924 but expanded it to a storybook by 1926. He followed up with four additional volumes that were illustrated by E. H. Shepard. Since the charming stories are perfect for children of all ages, the books have become very popular around the world and have been translated into multiple languages.
While many parents limit their kid’s video playing time, the rated PG Winnie the Pooh video games are designed to help kids use their imagination. Many of the Pooh games will teach the alphabet, numbers, reading and even math. One of my son’s favorite games was Winnie the Pooh: Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood.
#Theme park rides
If your family likes theme park rides, then Disney’s The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction is perfect for you! What is great about this ride, is that it is suitable for everyone. With no age or height requirements, this is a wonderful family ride. Fans will find this ride available in several Magic Kingdom Disney parks around the world; In China’s Shanghai and HongKong Disneyland as well as California’s Disneyland and Florida’s Disney World Resort.
Family vacations can be even more fun when you have a reason for the visit. And in this case, tracing the beloved character of Winnie the Pooh can be it.
When visiting California, you can ride the Pooh attraction and meet him in Pooh Corner in Disneyland. But that’s not all. Visitors can head on to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and take a selfie with the bear’s very own star on the Walk of fame.
New York City
Since 1987, Winnie-the-Pooh and friends have called the New York City Public Library their permanent home. Well, sort of! Located on the main library’s the ground floor, the Library’s Children’s Center has a donated vintage toy set of Winnie-the-Pooh and friends.
However, these stuffed animals bear no resemblance to the ones in the Disney movies or even E.H. Shepard’s illustrations for the books. These toys look like they really were some kid’s childhood companions. In fact, they still appear worn out and faded even after the extensive restoration they have undergone in 1988 and 2015.
Now the third option is heading overseas to England where your family can explore firsthand all the places that inspired Milne.
The top spot would be the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in South-East England. Spread over 560 sq miles, it extends across the counties of Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex, and Kent. The lush area boasts quaint farms, woodlands, and small villages.
According to the author, Ashdown Forest aka the Hundred Acre Wood was the place his son loved to explore during their family summer vacations. A second noteworthy location is the Pooh Bridge where Christopher used to play ‘Poohsticks’ with his nanny.
The last place to visit is Winnipeg’s, Assiniboine Park. This Canadian zoo has an entire pavilion dedicated to the original female black bear, Winnie, that initially captured Milne’s imagination. The exhibit traces the bear’s life. It starts with its adoption by Canadian born, Lieutenant Harry Colebourn. It then proceeds to describe to the cub’s trans-Atlantic journey and subsequent arrival at the London Zoo where it became s a local celebrity.
Introducing the Winnie the Pooh stories to kids never grows old. The tales are timeless and relevant now as they were when first inked by Milne for his son. Between Pooh’s lust for life, Piglet’s insecurities and Tigger’s restlessness ( some say ADHD) kids learn to understand, sympathize and become tolerant of others.
So, if you haven’t already done so already, be sure to pick up a copy of Disney’s newly released DVD Christopher Robin today and fill your holidays with childhood magic.