Who is your favorite Sesame Street character? You probably won’t pick Elmo. But what if we asked your kids? There’s something about that little furry red monster — a toddler himself at two-and-a-half years old — that simply grabs kids’ attention. It might be his falsetto. It could also be his history of getting things wrong sometimes, but always doing a great job of regulating his feelings. And even we have to admit (begrudgingly) how weirdly endearing it is that Elmo always refers to himself in the third person. Or maybe kids go ga-ga for this particular muppet because he’s so dang cute (#BigFacts). Regardless, the odds are good that your toddler would be pretty pumped to know they can call Elmo.
Sure, many old-school Sesame Street fans hate that adorable monster. They refer to him as the “furry red menace” and blame him for the lack of screen time given to everyone from Big Bird to Oscar. Times (and strategies) change, though, and it seems our kids gravitate more toward Elmo than to even our favorite dude Snuffy. On some level, perhaps, maybe Elmo is just more relatable.
Elmo’s popularity has come at a perfect time, too, as it also coincides with the ever-advancing world of technology. Growing up, we had to wait until the next episode to talk to Count and Grover. However, new resources make it much easier for our kids to get their Muppets fix. Thanks to new money brought in by the HBO acquisition, kids today get meaningful Sesame specials to deal with significant and timely issues. Plus, Sesame merch has never been better and more widespread. The best perk? There are now even ways for our kiddos to call Elmo and friends.
“Uh, my kid can call Elmo?” Yup! Check it out.
The Cost and What You Get
We should start with the basics: The app is $1.99 and comes with one “pack,” which includes about a half-dozen messages from Elmo. After that, each additional themed pack is $1.99, or you can spend $6.99 and buy all the packs at once. That’ll give your Elmo-obsessed little one another 45 videos and 71 calls. We dropped the $9-ish and bought everything off the bat since the toddlers in our lives looooooove Elmo!
Real talk: Elmo can persuade our kids into doing just about anything, and Sesame Street knows it. Aside from some super-cute and silly songs and jokes, the Elmo Calls app features some truly handy “calls.” There are educational calls for each letter of the alphabet, a couple of learning ABCs and counting songs, and several other learning-focused chats Elmo can have with your kiddo. Then, there’s a pack dedicated to hard or scary things like fighting with siblings, going to bed, or going to the doctor. You can even get a pack that helps your child talk about their feelings. They’re useful for the entire family and, because it’s Elmo, they’re super-engaging.
Features and Customizations
Many apps targeted towards kids aren’t actually “kid-friendly” at all. But as luck would have it, this app makes calling Elmo a total cinch for even the tiniest fingers. In “Grown-Up Mode” (accessed by typing in the number they spell out for you), you can choose which calls and videos you want to “favorite” and make them readily available. In other words, if you’re not ready to start potty training yet, you can leave the call “hidden” until you and your child are ready. The app also gives you the chance to rotate through songs. No listening to the same sound bites over and over (and over and over) again!
However, if you are looking for more ways to teach your kids to potty, Elmo can help with that too. The Potty Time with Elmo app allows you to keep track of your child’s potty progress. Your kid will transition out of diapers into undies in no time, and Elmo is there every step of the way. A few features include “I Am Waiting on the Potty” and “Flush Goes the Potty.” Kids can check off when they go, wipe, flush and wash their hands!
The fun doesn’t stop there, either. You can also schedule calls. Set-up a call from Elmo to say “Good night” before bedtime each night. Or, if you’re quick with your fingers and know your kiddos well, go ahead and schedule that call about sharing to happen two minutes from now when a fight inevitably breaks out at the train table.
What more could a mama ask for, right? OK, OK… so, Elmo doesn’t deliver Starbucks or wine yet. But we’ll keep our fingers crossed for that in a future mamas-only app update.
Call Cookie Monster
Elmo isn’t the only furry puppet you can call from the Sesame Street gang! Give Cookie Monster a ring through the Call Cookie Monster app. You can video chat and leave voice messages. And you won’t have to worry about him not answering your calls, because Cookie Monster always has time for his pals. Kids can even receive calls from the cookie aficionado and listen to the voicemails he leaves.
Sesame Street PSAs
Looking for more ways for your child to connect with their favorite characters from the Sesame Street gang? Instead of calling them, your child can still hear their fun voices via Instagram. If you want your kids to keep up with good behavior, have them follow the KPCC public radio in Southern California on Instagram. They have a few of their characters on their page. Below, Grover reminds kids to practice self-care.
In this PSA, Oscar the Grouch encourages kids to stay home during the pandemic. It’s probably the rudest service announcement you ever heard, but we know Oscar means well.
Sesame characters don’t just talk to kids. In this PSA, Elmo’s dad has a message for overwhelmed parents who may not be feeling their best. He tells fellow parents to take a minute for themselves and reminds them that they’re doing a great job.
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