New 'Sesame Street' game teaches healthy habits
If your kids love the "Sesame Street" TV show and you are interested in engaging them in healthy fun using your Wii, then the new "Sesame Street: Ready, Set, Grover!" should be on your radar. Created for preschoolers, this game makes doing physical activities fun while also teaching nutrition and health. Plus, the game incorporates learning concepts such as counting, identifying colors and shapes, classifying and listening.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment specifically designed the game to incorporate Sesame Workshop's "Healthy Habits for Life" curriculum. They created games that would emphasize personal hygiene, physical activity, nutrition, and rest and relaxation.One of the personal hygiene games involves kids brushing a cute horse's teeth by moving the Wii remote back and forth in a sideways motion as they learn about the importance of brushing their own teeth for two minutes every morning and night. For physical activity, they will dance, run, jump and stretch with Grover. Nutrition is brought into the games by having kids sort or catch different foods and then give them to specific monsters. When a monster drinks a glass of milk, Grover mentions that the milk has calcium, which helps to keep the monsters' bones strong. Discussions of rest and relaxation occur in-between physical activities by having Grover remind players to pause and get a drink of water.To make this game accessible for the youngest gamer, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment streamlined the controls so that kids play by simply holding the Wii Remote sideways in both hands and only using the "2" button. Kids then do actions with the control, including touching their toes and making large circles in the air. The game even comes with a special Grover cover to slip over the Wii Remote to hide most of the buttons other than the "2."Grover acts as the host for the 20 minigames, which incorporate such actions as jumping, crouching, twisting from side-to-side, raising arms, dancing, lunging, and more. While preschoolers are doing these motions, they think that they are wiggling like an earthworm, jumping over mud-puddles or even rowing a boat.Kids can approach the 20 minigames in a story mode or by just selecting the games. In the story mode, Grover takes Elmo and Abby to four different locations to play five games at each place. In between each minigame, Grover, Elmo and Abby have fun playing together. Fans of the show will enjoy this banter.Before each minigame, Grover demonstrates how to play the game in a short video. The video will also reappear if your child is having trouble playing the game. Additionally, the game offers help by highlighting things or drawing kids attention to where they should look next."Sesame Street: Ready, Set, Grover!" sets some lofty goals of making learning about fitness and health fun. It does a good job of meeting those goals. With 20 different games, there is a lot for preschoolers to explore. Most of the games work well. Kids will love playing Grover's Freeze Game where, when he is hiding behind a tree, kids are supposed to dance like crazy; but the minute he reappears, they must freeze. Also fun is a game where kids jump continuously to keep a beach ball bouncing up in the air. The controls seemed finicky in the Three's Sneezes game where kids are asked to tilt and then shove forward the Wii remote so as to send a tissue flying over to one of three monsters who is about to sneeze. Luckily, the game allows parents to pick up a second controller and provide help when needed.Another excellent feature of this game is the auto-leveling that occurs when playing the story mode. Most minigames can be played on three levels of difficulty, and the game auto-adjusts depending on how your child is playing. When playing a minigame as a stand-alone, parents can adjust the level of difficulty.Parents will also like that the game comes with a timer under the separate "Parental Controls" area. Adults can set the number of minigames their children can play before the game quits. This kind of feature makes it easier for some kids to accept that it is time to leave the Wii and go on to play other things.Score: 3.5 (out of 4).Rating: EC for Early Childhood.Best for ages 3-5.Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Sesame Street.Platform: Nintendo Wii.