It’s been 20 years since Tickle Me Elmo established as a hard rule that every year must have its signature Elmo doll. This year, it’s Love2Learn Elmo, and we got to see him in action at the 2016 New York Toy Fair.
With an Elmo doll, you know what you’re getting at minimum — lots of positivity in that adorable Elmo voice, lots of singing, and lots of belly rubs. Love2Learn Elmo builds on that by being not just an educational toy, but a helpful assistant to parents of preschoolers.
A lot of the value of Love2Learn Elmo is found in the companion app, which parents can download for free on their smartphones or tablets. Using that app, they can cue up Elmo-led lessons in a bunch of different categories, including animals, colors, foods, numbers, letters, and shapes. Parents can also enter their child’s name in the app, which lets Elmo use their name for a more personal touch.
Besides the school stuff, Elmo can help parents teach kids life basics, too. In the parent helpers section of the app, parents can have Elmo say things related to potty training, brushing teeth, and household chores. Elmo will prompt kids to go to the bathroom or clean their rooms and offer positive reinforcement afterwards — this is all controlled and prompted by the parent from the app.
The app also has a bunch of bonus educational games that kids can play, like finding animals in a scene. Again, the app connects with Elmo to make the experience a little warmer, with Elmo giving kids positive feedback and little fun facts along the way.
Love2Learn Elmo seems to do and say a lot that parents would normally have to say. The underlying idea is that little ones would rather hear these things from Elmo than their parents, which is a pretty unassailable thesis. That’s especially true when it comes to chores and potty training — if getting props from Elmo gets toddlers to help parents out and be happy to do so, then that’s a big win.
Love2Learn Elmo will be available in the fall for $69.99.