What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Elmo Calls mimics a smartphone's calling interface, allowing kids to get voice and video calls and voicemail messages from Sesame Street's Elmo. Topics of the calls include special trips like going to the dentist, the ABCs, and more. The app comes with a sampler of unlocked calls. Parents can purchase themed sets of calls for $.99 or all seven sets for $4.99. The main screen allows kids to get randomly selected calls, or parents can choose specific calls for kids from the parent section.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- letter or word recognition
- handling stress
- identifying emotions
Health & Fitness
- preventing sickness
Engagement, Approach, Support
Whether you're trying to get your preschooler to take a bath or feel better about going to the dentist, a fun call from Elmo is likely to help. Still, this app doesn't live up to the quality that's expected from the Sesame Street brand.
With the support of Elmo's calls, kids learn about identifying feelings and handling stress. The variety of calls also allows parents to adapt the experience to their kid's needs, whether practicing numbers or learning about getting dressed.
Elmo offers encouraging words in situations that can be scary for kids, like bedtime. However, the setup for optional features can be a bit confusing. Additionally, many of the more helpful calls require in-app purchase.
What's it about?
Kids can receive a randomly selected call from Elmo by tapping one of the buttons on the main screen, or parents can choose specific calls (and purchase more) from the parents section. Parents can choose to send audio or video calls and voicemails to iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches, or set a timer for the message to arrive later (be sure to allow push notifications, or timed calls won't work). Parents can also add specific calls to kids' favorites list.
Is it any good?
As usual, Elmo is cute, positive, and supportive. Whether you're trying to get your preschooler to take a bath or feel better about going to the dentist, a call from Elmo is likely to help the cause. That said, ELMO CALLS doesn't quite live up to the simplicity or quality that's expected from five-star apps affiliated with the Sesame Street brand. The setup for optional features can be a bit confusing, and the app seems to be created for (and makes more sense to use on) the iPhone, rather than iPads or iPods. Additionally, many of the more helpful calls require in-app purchase. That said, the overall concept is fun, and Elmo's delivery is as sweet as ever.
Families can talk about...
Set up calls to help your kids with difficult situations. For example, schedule the "Going to the Doctor" call before their next checkup.
Use the app to help your kids establish healthy habits. If your kids need help remembering to brush their teeth, schedule the "Brush Your Teeth" call from Elmo at the same time every day.