Sesame Street: Elmo's Playdate

Movie review by
Angela Zimmerman, Common Sense Media
Sesame Street: Elmo's Playdate Movie Poster Image
Cheerful special celebrates virtual fun and friendships.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 25 minutes

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Kids say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

This entertaining, explanatory special can help young kids understand and appreciate how technology brings friends together. It can help them understand how video chats work, the various challenges they pose, and the way they work as an effective tool to bring people together one-on-one or in groups even when physically apart. 

Positive Messages

Elmo's Playdate can reassure kids that their friendships are still intact and technology can help them maintain those connections. The friends all miss each other and share what they've been doing during their quarantine. Singing, dancing, and laughing together can help alleviate stress and give them a boost of love. Elmo and friends also take time to thank all the essential workers, from garbage collectors and nurses to grocers and police officers. Kids are also reminded to wash their hands, try not to touch their face, and look for materials they find at home to create fun craft projects. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Elmo's dad Louie is helpful and supportive during the playdate, but he also leaves Elmo alone to talk to his friends so he can feel autonomous in his own relationships. The cast includes real celebrities who are all very cheerful and fun and can serve as a reminder to kids that there are lots of people all over the world who are thinking about them and miss them. Everyone in the playdate gives thanks to all the men and women working hard throughout the quarantine to keep everything going. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Though the specific video chat platform is not specifically named, the special promotes the technology. Sesame Street has tons of marketing and merchandising associated with the series and the characters. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sesame Street: Elmo's Playdate is a half-hour special on PBS that brings Elmo and a crew of friends together through a video hangout. With help from his dad, Elmo dials up a number of Sesame Street pals and real-life celebrities, and they share news about what they've been doing, play games, sing songs, and find other ways to connect virtually. For kids still getting used to virtual learning and online playdates, this special is a great way to help them understand how it works. It can also spark joy and appreciation for the ability we have to connect with friends and loved ones through technology. Elmo and friends share reminders about things like washing hands and the power of imagination, and they take time to thank all the essential workers and other everyday heroes who are making a positive difference during the quarantine. 

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Kid, 11 years old May 1, 2020

For little kids

If you have a little kid this is the show for them. I don't like it that much but that's probably because I'm older. It's definitely a show... Continue reading

What's the story?

SESAME STREET: ELMO'S PLAYDATE is a half-hour PBS special that brings together Elmo and some of his furry (and not-so-furry) friends over video chat technology. With help from his dad Louie, Elmo calls up Grover first, who is having problems with his "new phone" and keeps getting muted and then accidentally projects himself upside down. From there, Elmo calls up a number of pals. Tracee Ellis Ross shares what she's been doing during quarantine (walking on the treadmill and knitting -- though she's sure to mention not at the same time). Cookie Monster has been trying to make cookies, but he ate the recipe. Taye Diggs and Elmo share a flashback to the time they sang the "Let's Go Driving" song together. Abby and Rosita count together in Spanish and English (during which the Count pops up to finish counting). Lin Manuel Miranda says he's playing "pretend" and then he and Elmo sing "Old McDonald Has a Farm."

Throughout the playdate, there are quarantine-related messages lightly sprinkled throughout, with friends talking about delivering groceries for others, washing their hands for the duration of the birthday song, and getting creative at home using materials they find around the house. Anne Hathaway and Elmo sing "Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," while suggesting they only point towards their face during those parts, rather than touch. They collectively thank all the medical professionals, garbage collectors, grocers, police officers, and other essential workers before all the friends get back together on the screen for a singalong of the Carpenters' iconic track "Sing" in closing.

Is it any good?

Part of Sesame Workshop's Caring for Each Other initiative, this sweet special starring Elmo and friends is positive and cheerful while subtly acknowledging the changes and challenges of isolation. Grover's issues with his technology, Cookie Monster's inability to get to the store to buy more cookie ingredients, the reminder that Julia's dad is an EMT so he isn't able to be home with his family right now... they are a subtle reminder to kids that life is indeed different right now, but we're all in it together. Kids will be drawn to the virtual fun in Elmo's Playdate, like the silly dance they're called on to do when Elmo blows a horn and seeing what kind of activities their friends have been getting into. Parents will find reassurance in the positive exchanges between friends and important messages about gratitude and staying safe and healthy. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Elmo and his friends use technology to connect with one another. Have you had any video chats with friends or family? What did you like about connecting this way? What were the challenges? Would you rather chat one-on-one or in a group?

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  • Talk about what the characters have been up to during their isolation. What has Grover been up to? Cookie Monster? What about Taye Diggs and Lin-Manuel Miranda? How do different people find ways to have fun? 

  • Did Elmo's Playdate inspire you to reach out to some of your own friends? What are some ways you could show your friends and family you care about them and are thinking about them during these times of isolation? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Elmo and friends

Themes & Topics

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