Elmo Calls

Common Sense Media says

Favorite character delivers fun, supportive messages.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

This app is fairly easy to use, but does take some figuring out. The main screen has "telephone" and "voicemail" tabs with three options for calls and two voicemail messages. They don't give specific descriptions as to what will Elmo will say on the call you're choosing for your child from this menu. Parents can swipe the parents tab at the top of the screen to access a list of all unlocked calls, in-app purchase options, plus a scheduling feature.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Many of the calls can only be heard once you buy the in-app purchase pack that features that call for $.99, such as the ABCs pack, the Sing with Elmo pack, and the Special Visits pack. You can purchase all calls at once for $4.99. A More Apps tab on the Favorites screen advertises six more Sesame Street apps. Elmo, of course, is one of the most famous characters of the Sesame Street monsters, so there's some branding on this app, too.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

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

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition

Math

  • counting

Skills

Emotional Development

  • handling stress
  • identifying emotions

Communication

  • listening

Health & Fitness

  • preventing sickness

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

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.

Learning Approach

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.

Support

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition

Math

  • counting

Skills

Emotional Development

  • handling stress
  • identifying emotions

Communication

  • listening

Health & Fitness

  • preventing sickness

Kids can learn about identifying feelings and handling stress with the support of Elmo, who offers encouraging words in situations that can be scary for kids, like bedtime or going to the doctor. The variety of calls also allows kids to practice their letters or numbers with Elmo and learn about healthy habits such as brushing teeth and getting dressed. While role-playing the phone conversations with Elmo, kids can improve communication and listening skills. Elmo Calls offers kids supportive reinforcement, but the short messages and calls don't offer a deep learning experience.

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

Parents say

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Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:$.99
Release date:February 11, 2012
Category:Family Games
Size:19.10 MB
Publisher:Sesame Street
Version:1.1
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later

This review of Elmo Calls was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written bydavestrider May 26, 2013
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

so nasty

this is one of the grosses things ive ever seen because elmo calls you insults and lowers your self esteem like a lot

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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