A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn alphabet fundamentals -- part of the foundation for learning to read. By playing a series of animal-themed mini-games featuring their favorite Sesame Street characters, kids learn to recognize letters and the sounds they make. Plenty of hints help kids select letters based on their sounds. Bonus: they can also match patterns and colors. There's plenty of foundational preschool content here, though young kids may lose interest due to the game's slow pace.
The main message: Learning is fun! The game is full of positivity, curiosity, and solid educational content.
Positive Role Models
Elmo and friends are sunny, positive folks who exemplify a love of learning.
Ease of Play
The game controls are designed for use by children as young as three. Most mini-games only require one simple motion. Tapping on the touchscreen of the DS offers a bit more specificity of control than tilting the Wii remote left and right. The DS version comes packed with a chunky character stylus for little fingers to hold; the Wii version comes with a Elmo remote-cover that provides extra grip and covers unnecessary buttons. The PC version requires kids can move a mouse and click while using it. Some of the games get bogged down with uninterruptable repetitive instructions. A few make kids wait for the right answer to appear.
Products & Purchases
The game is a tie-in to the classic children's program, Sesame Street.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sesame Street: Elmo's A-to-Zoo Adventure offers numerous educational mini-games that help reinforce reading and letter concepts for preschoolers. The controls are simplified for very young children, but tilting the Wii remote might be a little more challenging for toddlers than simply tapping on a touchscreen, as they would in the DS version. On the whole, the controls work fine for all versions. However, some games make kids wait, which can get annoying. It's also worth noting that parents can set a play-timer, which will alert kids that they have "one more game" before turning off at the designated time.
Is It Any Good?
Sesame Street: Elmo's A-to-Zoo Adventure has been designed for use by preschoolers. It's bright and colorful; it has super simple controls (and the game comes with bonus items -- a chunky DS stylus or a character-themed Wii remote cover -- to make playing with tiny hands even easier); and it is fully voiced-over, meaning no reading is necessary for the instructions. And the educational value is undeniably solid. These cute games reinforce the same early-learning lessons that Sesame Street does on TV.
The addition of the play-timer, which allows parents to set the game to turn off after a certain point is very nice -- but it's even nicer that the timer gives the kids fair warning before shutting down, telling them that they upcoming game will be their last for today. A few of the games make kids wait too long before introducing the correct answer, and the characters can be overly chatty, but the game auto-adjusts its educational content and it has a great hint system to assure success.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.