There are few characters that have managed to captured kids’ hearts and stay relevant throughout time. Almost every kid has grown up with Elmo, the little red monster that lives on Sesame Street, and after more than 40 years, Elmo is a staple in practically every home with little kids.
Thanks to Playskool, Elmo has become kids’ best friend in different ways throughout the years, from a ticklish furball with a contagious laugh, to an interactive friend with a monster imagination. This year, the toy manufacturer is kicking things up with—hands down—the best Elmo yet.
Play All Day Elmo is Hasbro’s newest Playskool Elmo pal, and he does everything from play games to respond to the way kids play with him. Elmo was one of my favorite characters while I was growing up, and even as an adult I could play with him all day long (no pun intended).
Play All Day Elmo is one of the most interactive toys of the year. The magic is in the five sensors in Elmo’s nose, mouth, two hands, and tummy. Kids will light up when they realize that Elmo is soft and huggable (practically as good as petting a puppy). The only parts about him that aren’t 100-percent cuddly are his mouth and the back of his head. Thoughtfully designed for little hands, Elmo stands about 21 inches tall, so he is the perfect size to be kids’ favorite companion.
One of the best parts about this Elmo is that he grows up with kids, featuring two modes of play: toddler mode and preschool mode. In toddler mode, Elmo will interact with kids with more than 150 responses. If you hop, Elmo will make boing noises; if you spin him in the air, he will tell you how much he loves somersaults; if you swing him by the arm, he will make animal noises; and so on. My absolute favorite is that kids can give him a kiss, and Elmo responds with an adorable, “Mwah!” (and kids will be giving Elmo kisses all day long because he is just so darn cute).
In preschool mode, all of the responses in toddler mode are still active, but Elmo will also play eight games and activities with kids. Elmo can play Red Light Green Light, Pat-a-Cake, Freeze Dance, Elmo Says, Hop and Count, Guess the Color, Animal Sounds, and What’s Up In the Sky.
When kids are ready to play, they can squeeze his nose, and Elmo will respond with a cheerful, “Oh, hi there! Elmo wants to play a game with you!” He will speak the name of the game or activity, and kids can keep squeezing his nose until they pick the game they want to play. Or, Elmo will prompt playing these games based on how kids play with him. For example, if kids start clapping his hands, he will want to play Pat-a-Cake.
In Hop and Count, Elmo will ask kids to jump a certain amount of times (which also teaches kids how to count, so kids will be learning without even knowing it); Elmo Says is just like Simon Says; and Elmo will play Red Light Green Light. I played a pretty intense game of Freeze Dance, which is probably my favorite game out of them all! Elmo will know whether kids actually stop dancing or not, and if they don’t stop, he will give them a friendly reminder to freeze!
Parents will love that Elmo isn’t only down to play all day, but he also can also calm kids and get them ready for bedtime. When switched from play mode to nap mode, Elmo will sing a lullaby and then ask for a kiss goodnight (my heart is melting, by the way). He will then play a soft instrumental lullaby for two minutes, and a nose squeeze will replay the lullaby for another two minutes. Kids can snuggle with him as they’re falling asleep and listening to the lullaby (remember: soft like a puppy). After that, Elmo will not speak again until his switch is moved back to play mode. That means no accidental movements will activate him and wake kids up in the middle of bedtime! When I made the switch from nap time to play time, Elmo yawned and said that he dreamt of how much fun we had the day before!
Play All Day Elmo will give kids laughs, smiles, and tons of playtime, and I can’t say how much I love this toy enough! Because remember: Kids love to play all day, and Elmo does too.