Sesame Street Family Play

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Sesame Street Family Play App Poster Image
Quick offline games for parents and kids to play together.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn and practice social, emotional, gross motor, and fine motor skills, as well as basic academic concepts, through play with a parent or caregiver. For example, in the game "Box Balancing Special," players try to balance the most dry-goods boxes on their hands while they walk around the room. This helps kids learn physical skills and spatial relations. In "Bathtub Sonar" kids close their eyes and guess what something is by listening to it splash. This game can enhance listening and critical thinking. Sesame Street Family Play offers fun, interactive offline games for parents and kids.

Ease of Play

So long as parents and caregivers understand that this app is primarily for finding ways to play with their kids, it's very easy to use. But this is not an app with games for young kids to play alone. It requires adults to input where they're playing and how many kids they're playing with, to read game options and instructions, to find some real-world objects for many games, and to play along. Also, Sesame Street's "New on the Street" includes videos and new Sesame Street-approved weekly parent tips.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

The app's home screen includes an "Unlock more games" tab and a shopping cart icon that links to a kid-protected shop where more Sesame Street Family Play games can be purchased, as well as more Sesame Street and Tiny Games apps. An in-app purchase screen that advertises "Complete your Sesame Street Family Play games collection" for $1.99 also suggests making the in-app purchase. After kids or parents tap "Play," the app asks, "Where are you?" and then provides three options: At Home, Away from Home, and Traveling. Away from Home and Traveling require the in-app purchase. The Sesame Street "New on the Street" parents section lightly promotes the television show and brand.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that they can discover real-world games to play with their kids by using Sesame Street Family Play. The app includes instructions for 150 simple games categorized by location of play. The games are designed to be led by parents or caregivers and played with common, everyday items. Game options include At Home (in the living room, kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom), Away from Home (outdoors, in a restaurant, shopping, or waiting), or Traveling (in a car, plane, or train/bus or on a walk). In addition to location, the app also suggests games based on number of kids playing. Once parents read the ideas and items needed for these simple games, they can play them as many times as desired without a mobile device.

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What's it about?

Open the app and read, "Where are you?" Then choose from At Home (in the living room, kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom), Away from Home (outdoors, in a restaurant, shopping, or waiting), or Traveling (in a car, plane, or train/bus or on a walk). Tap on the number of kids playing (from one to four or more). Read the name of the game, the object of the game, and what you need to play. Tap "Play this game" or "Show me another game" to view more relevant choices.

Is it any good?

For parents who are looking for an alternative to screen time to keep their kids occupied and learning at home, in the car, or when traveling long distances, this app is simple, old-fashioned fun with a modern tech twist. The games all include a Sesame Street character's endorsement ("Hey, buddy! Ernie has a game for you!"). Kids can learn important skills as they have lots of fun with a mom, dad, or caregiver.

The lists of instructions for the offline games are organized in a very pragmatic way, according to where parents may find themselves with kids in need of something fun to fill time or of bringing some fun to a mundane activity -- bath time, car rides, dinner prep time, and more. The items needed to play games are typical around-the-house stuff, such as cups, balls, stuffed animals, or a bag. SESAME STREET FAMILY PLAY offers lots of ideas for playing real-world games and discovering new ways to interact with your kids to promote learning and banish everyday doldrums anywhere, anytime.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Daily transition times in the car, kitchen, or bathtub can be great opportunities for fun activities, such as the games on this app. Try a new one each day to mix things up, or play a favorite one at the same time to create a routine.

  • Many of the games suggested by Sesame Street Family Play borrow ideas from classic childhood games. What are some other games you remember from your childhood you can introduce to your kids?

  • Check out the "New on the Street" kid-protected area to read the parent tip of the week, videos, recipes, and more.

App details

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