Sunday, November 10, 2013

Playing On Sesame Street’s Digital Playground

This littlest blogger gets tech-savvy with the help of some friendly muppets!


This week I played on a very different type of playground: the Sesame Workshop Digital Playground. Children like me were invited to explore the digital playground and uncover the way Sesame is transforming how we kiddos use electronic media. Mommy and I were so impressed by the extensive educational and fun offerings and especially enjoyed that many features encourage Mommy (or caretaker) to play along with me so it is a family experience (and not just me with a screen). There is so much fun to be had on the digital playground that I can only include some of my and Mommy’s favorites below. There is endless opportunity to explore and there are tremendous resources available so let this be a warm-up lap for our first visit to this palatial playground.

Sesame Street Family Play
What I learn according to Sesame: family play and team building
How to play: This recently released app is aimed at parents to involve kids in fun, family games. It has over 150 family games in one app! I can choose my location such as at home, away from home, or traveling to pick a fantastic game for my current location whether in the living room or at a restaurant. The text is given onscreen and I get to go and play wherever I am! For example, we played an at home game where there were three objects and I had to guess which one went under a sombrero! It was mucho mucho fun!
Why Mommy loves it: It is the most interactive app that allows the entire family to be involved and play together. Also, the games are parent led. This is sure to help give your caretaker a little inspiration to keep things interesting.

Big Bird’s Words
What I learn according to Sesame: Word recognition tools to learn vocabulary and to help kids familiarize words in context.
How to play: I create a shopping list for Big Bird using the pictures of the grocery store. And it always has milk (my favorite)! I get to choose the words based on pictures and then look for the words in the scene. I get three hints and then a visual glow helps me find the object (just in case the hints didn’t do the trick). Big Bird also helps me sound out the letters and words.  Then he gives me definitions and descriptions of the words. I learned so much!
Why Mommy loves it: This is a great way for Mommy to connect words to real life products

Elmo Loves ABCs
What I learn according to Sesame: Learn all about letters through songs, videos, coloring pages, and games
How to play: I learn to recognize and write upper- and lower-case letters by tracing the letters with my finger (and as I do a dotted yellow line appears and lights up to show my work). Once I complete the letter, I can color that letter’s words with the coloring the objects, see three pictures of words that start with the letter (and can get hints, too) and also hear the sounds that the letter makes and words that the letter begins with.
Why Mommy loves it: The app allows Mommy to track and monitor my work and IDs my favorite letters (E for Elle and Elmo, of course!) with the app’s features.

Explorer! Sesame Street on Leap Frog
What I learn according to Sesame: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) concepts
How to play: I explore one of three magnificent missions with Elmo, Abby, and Super Grover.  I chose the magnetics mission (to help with my budding math and science skills) and in the game, used a magnet to recover Elmo’s toys from a tree while learning about the levers and weights to get the toys down. Then, I got to try to catch the toys as they fell back down. This was a bit challenging for this near two-year old as I need more hand eye coordination but look forward to playing better soon.
Why Mommy loves it: I get to discover my super powers while secretly learning math and science!

Elmo’s Story Maker
What I learn according to Sesame: Develop your imagination and storytelling
How to play: I let my imagination run wild as I created my very own adventures for Elmo based on the television segment “Elmo the Musical.” I can select settings, themes, characters, and other key features that allow me to create an infinite number of adventures for Elmo. I had a blast as I figured out how to structure stories by learning about the beginning, middle, and end.
Why Mommy loves it: Once I create my story, Mommy and Daddy’s voice can read me the story or Elmo will read it to me himself until I learn how to! I can also send the stories to my friends and family who can in turn build on my story and send it back to me with a plot twist!

There are so many educational apps and over 150 eBooks, all available to make me and my friends smarter while having fun Sesame style. Find them all HERE!

Birthday Guide: The Best Kids’ Party Venues In NYC

As seen in New York Family Magazine

Check out some cool birthday themes, ideas, and top NYC party venues–all inspired by our favorite kids’ movies:


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dreading Date Night

A toddler’s perspective on staying home while Mom and Dad hit the town.


Dream: I am ready to hit the town and check out the new sweet shop that opened down the street. Mommy and Daddy really don’t want to be left alone and have a lunch date all by themselves, but I insist that they deserve it. While they get ready I slip into my favorite high heels (they used to be Mommy’s) and beckon for puppy and together we head out for a candy-filled adventure. Mommy reminds me that she installed the Elle Belle Tracker App on her iPhone so she can watch over me and puppy from afar. We all hug and kiss and I go on my merry way!

Reality: After a fun day asserting my toddler independence, the doorman rings up at 6 p.m., which only means one thing: a babysitter. See, I have it all figured out. It’s too late for a play date, but too early for an evening food order, so it must be what I fear most…Mommy and Daddy going out without me. Or so they think! This time I got it covered because I installed the Elle Belle Parent Tracker App on my pretend champagne-colored iPhone 6. It tells me where Mommy and Daddy are so I can find them. Surely they don’t want to be gone too long from their prized child?

Yet they do. I can tell Mommy is going out because she is wearing my favorite high heels. Upon seeing this, I immediately put on my cutest pouty face and cry Mommy and Daddy a river. But in return, they just hug me and tell me they love me. I already knew that–I just don’t want them to go! So this time I wrap myself around Mommy’s leg. She takes off her shoes, bends down to console me, and hugs me tight. Now I am in business! I keep crying to make sure I get the effect I want. I know Mommy feels icky leaving me because she gives Daddy a confused look that I have learned to love.

Mommy hugs me tighter while reminding me that wherever she is, her love is with me. Then (you won’t believe this) she goes on to tell me how much fun I am going to have with the babysitter and that she will see me in the morning. Daddy pulls Mommy away from me and tells me he loves me and to have sweet dreams. Sweet dreams my bum bum! My favorite people in the world are abandoning me at bedtime and I am expected to have sweet dreams? I don’t think so.

I continue to fuss until I am sure I have sufficiently sabotaged Mommy and Daddy’s plans and they will stay home for bedtime. But tonight Mommy and Daddy mean business. After a few (well, maybe several) more tears, kisses, and hugs for reassurance, they leave. Couldn’t they have just waited for me to fall asleep and sneak out like they used to? At least then we would read and sing lullabies together before they “abandoned” me.

I hear the elevator door close and have my confirmation: they really are gone. Even though I feel sad, I run to greet the babysitter with a smile. I ask for a tissue to clean my nose and then sit and play with my new iPhone app, secretly tracking my parents’ every move. I think of all the fun Mommy and Daddy must be having without me. Maybe they went to my favorite toy store. Or my favorite restaurant. Or maybe they are not having fun? Maybe they are crying because they miss me? That must be it!

At least puppy chose to stay home with me. Before I know it, I hear the babysitter saying something about bedtime. I decide to ignore that reference to dreamland and keep playing. Luckily, the babysitter goes along for a while; after months of playing with me, she still doesn’t know all of Mommy’s silly rules. We have a grand old time–we even pause to have cookies and milk! Yum! And before I know it, I ask to go to read books, puppy gives me kisses, and I willingly go nighty night.

And Mommy and Daddy were right about me having sweet dreams. My dreams were so happy that I woke up in the middle of the night to dish all about them and realized I had a really wet diaper. And guess who was there when I beckoned? Mommy and Daddy! I bet they were so glad they didn’t have to wait until morning to see me again!

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Frightfully Fun Time at the Count’s Halloween Spooktacular

A Frightfully Fun Time at the Count’s Halloween Spooktacular



I just had a frightfully fun time celebrating a not too spooky Halloween at the Count’s Halloween Spooktacular at Sesame Place! It looks like they did an Extreme Makeover: Sesame Place Edition because the park was transformed into a silly and fun Halloween haven. There were Halloween decorations everywhere, Halloween-themed shows, a character hayride, character mazes, and even a rubber duckie costume disco!

It all started when I woke up on Saturday morning and asked for Elmo and Mommy and Daddy replied that we were going to visit him at Sesame Place in honor of my BFF Fiona’s birthday and an early Halloween. I immediately got dressed as quickly as I could and ran down to the car with Mommy so Daddy could drive us to Sesame in a hurry.

We arrived at Sesame Place and the welcome sign with Big Bird was replaced with a special sign featuring the Count. There was purple garland and Halloween decorations and numbers everywhere. In the spirit of the Count, I started counting! By the time I counted to ten and we were inside the park and once inside, I got dressed for the occasion (you are encouraged to attend in costume!). I wore my Abby Cadabby costume of course! Now I was ready for action.

I started running uncontrollably around the park with excitement. Everyone couldn’t help but notice how cute I was dressed as Abby Cadabby. Lots of other toddlers thought I was Abby’s look-a-like and asked to take a picture with me. I was happy to do so for my fans. Then I was off and running (literally) to Elmo’s World Live! The show informed us all about Halloween. I learned all about this fun holiday with the help of everyone’s favorite monster, Elmo! And Dorothy, Mr. Noodle, and Telly joined Elmo to teach us about Halloween. I was taught very important lessons about costumes, trick-or-treating, and more.
It was so much fun that I worked up an appetite so we went to celebrate at the Count’s Batty Birthday Bash! “One bat, two bats, three bats!” Count said as he welcome us and gave us a bat noise maker. We had a yummy buffet lunch followed by cupcake to celebrate the Count and Fiona’s birthday. Yummy in tummy! And then we had an educational dance party in true Sesame style. I danced like a ballerina with Zoe, did a yummy cookie dance with Cookie, soared across the dance floor with Super Grover, and partied like a Sesame monster with my best friend Elmo. Elmo loves me. He told me so!
Next it was off to the Countdown to Halloween musical show where I was trick or treated to a performance starring Count, Elmo, Zoe and Abby. The show followed Count as he started a journey alone but was joined by more and more friends on his favorite night of the year – Halloween!
After protesting nap time, I channeled my inner Abby Cadabby as I weaved and rambled through Abby Cadabby’s Magical Halloween Maze. It was so magical – even the pumpkins were pink like Abby! I went in the enchanted maze and using all my senses helped Abby find her wand. Poof!
I next poof-ed myself to Ernie’s Rubber Duckie Costume Party. There was a rubber duckie bigger than Daddy! And Ernie and Bert were there dressed as a duckie and a pigeon. We all gathered in the larger than life bathtub disco and danced up a storm. Rubber Duckie disco made dancing oh so fun! Quack! 
The party continued as I danced my way over to meet and greet my best Sesame friends. Everyone was dressed in costume just like me (I always have been a trend setter). I ran to greet my Sesame friends one by one but I stopped in my tracks when I saw Elmo! “Elmo” I squealed, saying hi with a sweet wave of my Abby wand, and ran like a bull in a china shop straight to Elmo. Elmo gave me a big smile and hug. I was tickled red! Elmo was dressed like a kitty cat, Abby like a fairy princess, Ernie like a pirate, and I could go on and on. I ran to each friend, gave them a great big Elle Belle hug, then I told them to snuggle me close for a picture, and I posed for the camera. We worked it baby! Then I thanked my favorite friends for the pictures with high fives and saying thank you!
The last stop of the Halloween hay ride for me was The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular “Neighborhood Street Party” parade. It was a blast! And the finale was a happy Halloween song that is so catchy that Mommy, Daddy and I all couldn’t stop singing it!
I am walking on sunshine, scratch that, I mean pumpkins, after a visit to the happiest street on earth to celebrate the Count’s Halloween Spooktacular!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Happiness is...

Happiness is...a trip to Sesame Place to celebrate Fiona's birthday and play at the Count's Halloween Spooktacular!

A beary fun time for big and little cubs alike!

A Beary Fun Show in Bear Country

Elle Belle Reports On “Berenstain Bears Live”


The Berenstain Bears Live
I am still smiling after going to Bear Country and seeing the “beary” wonderful adventures in “Berenstain Bears LIVE.” (which runs now through January 2104).  I almost could not “bear” the excitement and had a grizzly good time!

The set was bright and colorful and the bears looked just as they do in the books. It was so inviting that this very important bear (V.I.B.) parked herself on the grassy knoll and took in the story up close and personal with all her favorite bears.

The show was just an hour long, the perfect length to keep any little cub’s attention, and the story was sweet as the sugary snacks the bears love. The show weaved together three different stories (The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers, The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food, and The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble at School) so seamlessly I didn’t even know it was a three in one! Triple score!

The show captivated me from the start when the bears appeared on the set and started singing to me. Brother Bear got sick and was sneezing and wheezing—his nose sounded so silly. Dr. Grizz made him all better but he still had to stay home and rest and miss soccer. And Brother was so upset about missing soccer that he didn’t do his math homework (even though he was having a math quiz). Then at school he had to sit out at practice to stay healthy but still didn’t do his homework. Then in math class he failed his math quiz. Uh oh.

Meanwhile, Sister Bear loves making new friends with other bears, and even a special frog friend, on her way to school but Brother Bear warns her not to talk to strangers and Mama Bear already told her she can’t bring frogs home. When Papa Bear hears about this, he tells a scary story about strangers which scared me (and Mommy, too, but don’t tell her I told you). Now Sister doesn’t want to talk to anyone.

And all the bears love their sugary snacks, especially Papa Bear. But the sugary snacks aren’t good for you. I learned that little cubs need good nutrition and healthy snacks to grow big and strong. And even big bears like Papa Bear need healthy snacks. Papa Bear grew wide instead of tall and said there was just more of him to love. But he grew so much from junk food that he split his pants right on stage. I laughed out loud! I even saw his red polka dot underwear!

And guess what silly things happen? Brother Bear tries to hide his failed quiz, Sister Bear sneaks the frog back to the bear tree (I was in suspense the whole time the frog was hiding and kept calling ribbitt!), and Papa Bear secretly eats junk food. By the end, Mama Bear figures it all out and helps solve everyone’s problems while reminding everyone of important lessons. Brother Bear learns to do his homework and succeed at math, Sister Bear learns to be cautious making new friends, and Papa Bear learns to be a good role model by eating healthy for him and his cubs! Also thanks to Mama Bear brother learned his division, the frog found a safe home outside the tree, and everyone ate healthy. The family learned important lessons from each other making them an even happier family. They even ran a race together as a happy, healthy family and won a shiny trophy. Go team go!
And the show stopper was at the end when the bears taught us to do Papa Bear’s pants splitting dance by pointing our fingers, rubbing our tummy, and jumping for hip hop hurray! This little cub had a “beary” good time.

After the show, the Bear Family came to greet everyone! Mama Bear asked me if I wanted a bear nose painted on but I said no. And Brother and Sister Bear stayed for photos but I said no, too. But lots of other kids got bear noses and “beary” special photos. I just hugged my new Mama Bear doll and went home with my own “beary” loving family.