A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
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
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.
Products & Purchases
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.
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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
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.