Dora the Explorer has firmly established herself as one of the most loved and watched of all children’s characters.

Dora: A brand, not just a TV show… toys, games and more!

Backed by an extensive range of merchandise including toys, games and clothing lines, Dora enjoys an incredible presence on our screens and online. Toys featuring Dora and other characters from the television show are popular with children and are even acknowledged for their potential to teach children valuable skills and knowledge, including words from the Spanish language!

How did Dora the Explorer start?

Chris Gifford, Valerie Walsh and Eric Weiner are the creators of Dora the Explorer, an animated television program that made its official debut in 1999. However, it was in 2000 that Dora the Explorer became a regular series. Dora the Explorer is aired on the Nickelodeon cable television network and it’s Nick Jr, channel, developed especially for children. A number of supplementary video series have been created and make it possible for a child to take an adventure of exploration with Dora and her friends at any time.

A Spanish version of the program formerly screened on Nick en espanol on the NBC-owned channel, Telemundo until 2006, but as of April 2008, the program has featured on Univision and is part of the Planeta U block.

It is understood that early in the conceptual stage of the program, Dora was a blonde girl of European heritage. The character was originally developed around Lilli, a niece of Rick Velleu, who was central to the creation of the show.

Originally, Kathleen Herles voiced the character of Dora. Caitlin Sanchez then provided Dora’s voice for a time until Fatima Ptacek took the role.

What is Dora the Explorer all about?

The main character, Dora Marquez, is an eight-year-old girl and in every episode of the series she takes a trip to find or help somebody or something. Viewer involvement is encouraged as Dora asks the audience to assist her to find new ways to get to particular places, with the help of ‘Map’. As well as teaching problem solving, negotiation skills and concern for others, Dora teaches her viewers short words and phrases from the Spanish language. Witnessing how many young children can repeat and use Spanish words, numbers and phrases is testament to the popularity and impact of Dora the Explorer!

Why do children (and adults) love Dora?

Dora is a much loved and respected character for many reasons, not the least of which is the way she values her friends and family and goes to great lengths to provide assistance. She always invites her viewers to help her along the way, making the experience of watching Dora the Explorer a less passive experience than that of viewing some other children’s programs.

Dora maintains a positive and optimistic view of life and the characters that she encounters — even Swiper, the tricky and mischievous fox who tries to pilfer items from her party. It is only when compromise is impossible that Dora acts against antagonists and, even in these situations, she does not become angry or unreasonable.

Dora gives other characters the opportunity to ‘have a try’, even when she could possibly handle the situation more quickly and effectively on her own. Dora definitely promotes being outdoors and being active (she and her monkey friend Boots play on a baseball team) and for those who are not familiar with them, she subtly weaves exposure to her customs and traditions into situations.

The effect of popular toys, such as Sylvanian Families:

As with other popular toys, such as Sylvanian Families, children feel a connection to, fascination for and affinity with Dora the Explorer.

Dora’s friends:

Pivotal to the television series are a number of characters that accompany Dora and assist her in her pursuits. These characters include Boots and Dora’s cousin Diego, who all enjoy popularity and their own following among children.

Dora’s explorations and adventures have been incorporated into interactive children’s books and other sources to assist early learning and skills such as basic geography. Using Dora the Explorer as a catalyst for learning effectively engages many children.

There is a lot to love about Dora the Explorer and many good reasons why she is so popular and endearing to children.

A Short History of Dora the Explorer