Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Sesame Street

Sesame Street

Fall 2009 Website
Ages: 2 - 6 yrs.
Director: Jessica Yin
Producer: Miles Ludwig
Writer: J Milligan
Publisher: Sesame Workshop

Chock-full of content, the website companion to the esteemed and cherished TV show features the loveable faces and characters who launched a universe of electronic learning forty years ago. Those who have taken the lives and lessons of Sesame Street into the 21st century have done so with research, care, and a trademark sense of humor.

Extra large, bold buttons call out to be clicked; pre-readers can easily decipher where they want to go. A bright yellow star is the child-friendly cursor that is used to click, play and pause. There are counting and spelling games to play, and visitors can even choose which character they want to present the information. My Street, available free to registered users, let's young players customize their Sesame Street website experience and save it for later visits. First, let your child choose her favorite Muppet. (That choice may be tougher for parents.) Then select a subject from a drop down menu and a theme. The resulting playlist shows, for example, all Big Bird's segments about health and safety in and around the neighborhood. Or, if the lesson is about the concept of "next to" all the Muppets say they want to be next to Elmo - and who doesn't understand that?

The site offers resources for parents and teachers and practical tips for ways to reinforce early learning concepts. But the site does have some inconsistencies (different font sizes and types on different pages) and some content is slow to load, even with a broadband connection. And yes, there are ad boxes for sponsors, and suggestions to buy other Sesame Workshop products. Nevertheless, they're tastefully handled, clearly labeled, and sized much smaller than the site's educational content.

From the minute the home page loads, the tone is welcoming, instructive, friendly and playful. And that's just how things are done on Sesame Street.

Claire Green   ©2009 Parents' Choice
Claire is president of Parents' Choice Foundation and cofounder of Sandbox Summit®. She looks for toys and media that will unleash children's interests, and celebrate the fun of learning.

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Sesame Workshop

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