This year, families are facing a holiday season like no other. Travel plans may be canceled. Traditional gatherings may not be possible. Kids may feel restless after a long autumn of in-home learning. As these unusual holidays get closer, Sesame Street is here to help with new books, apps, free resources, and more.
The holidays are an occasion to spend time with loved ones — but that can be hard across long distances, especially while travel is limited. With Caribu, an activity-based video calling app, faraway parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles can connect with little ones by reading Sesame Street ebooks together during video calls. (Caribu recently added more than 100 Sesame Street titles to their ebook library, including a selection of holiday titles.) For families who will be enjoying in-person story time this winter, Cookies for Elmo from Sourcebooks offers a timeless message about the importance of sharing – and it even includes a cookie recipe that’s perfect for baking together.
As temperatures drop across the country, parents may be looking for new ways to keep kids active indoors – like dancing with their friend Elmo! The Monster Hits: Rock & Rhyme with Elmo video collection from Shout! Factory Kids is packed with singalong songs and nursery rhymes, paired with favorite monster moments from Sesame Street – available now on DVD and digital download. Hasbro’s Rock and Rhyme Elmo plush is a cuddly companion for toddlers ages 18 months and up, singing five songs to the tunes of beloved nursery rhymes and saying 14 phrases in English and Spanish. (Kids can strum along on his Elmo-sized guitar as he sings or squeeze his nose for silly honking sounds.) An “It’s Time to Rock & Rhyme” album offers a mix of Sesame songs and familiar classics to get kids moving – available on streaming and digital download platforms from Warner Music Group’s Arts Music.
Other kinds of self-expression can also help kids process big feelings in a positive way. For little ones, Sesame Street-themed Magna-Tiles® sets from CreateOn spark creativity while building fine-motor skills; included curriculum guides help parents take kids’ play in an educational direction. Older children can find their creative voice with Kwame Alexander’s Free Write: A Poetry Notebook from Sourcebooks. (It’s part of a companion series to Sesame Workshop’s Ghostwriter on AppleTV+, but you don’t need to be familiar with the show to write along with Kwame!) In Free Write, this Newbery Medal-winning author offers poetry starters, inspirational quotes, fill-in-the-blank activities, and lots of space for kids ages 8-12 to scribble and create.
“The holidays are going to look different for all of us this year. But one thing hasn’t changed: Elmo, Big Bird, Abby Cadabby, and all kids’ Sesame Street friends are ready to offer comfort and spread holiday cheer all the same,” said Gabriela Arenas, Sesame Workshop’s Vice President of Licensing, North America. “Working closely with wonderful partners, we’re happy to offer a variety of fun and educational products to help families make the most of the holidays in this difficult time – however they’re celebrating.”
For more support from Sesame Workshop – the nonprofit organization behind the beloved show – parents can visit the Sesame Street: Caring for Each Other hub, updated frequently with new videos, free printable activities, and articles for parents. (Resources on missing friends and understanding the difference between needs and wants may be particularly helpful at this time.) And stay tuned in December for a holiday-focused Caring for Each Other update and curated holiday playlists on Sesame Street’s YouTube channel.