Watch our chat below then check out clips and episodes from many of the titles we discussed.
I Can Remember (Bread, Milk, Butter):
Muppet Babies "The Muppet Babies Show" - Series Finale (clip):
Dog City "The Big Squeak":
Schoolhouse Rock! 50th Anniversary Singalong is now streaming on Hulu.
Available now on Peacock is the first direct to video "Muppet Sing Along": Billy Bunny's Animal Songs.
Gabriela Arenas, senior vice president of global products licensing at Sesame Workshop, said Just Play was the right fit for this partnership because of the company’s wide-reaching retailer and distribution network, experience across multiple product categories, and — most importantly — values.
“Just Play stands for exactly that — they believe kids should just play and thrive,” Arenas says. “Strategic partnerships like this work because we’re mission aligned. It extends beyond product. It’s about collaborating to make a positive impact on kids and families.”
According to Sunny Lauridsen, senior vice president of licensing and brand strategy at Just Play, says that is exactly what the company plans to do with its new Sesame Street products: emphasize the core values that define the show. “Sesame Street is a place where all kids are welcome,” Lauridsen says. “We pride ourselves in bringing toys to market that invite all children to play and imagine.”
And Just Play is jumping right into keeping that promise, launching multiple Sesame Street product lines for its initial offering. These include some classic play items, such as the Sesame Street Friends 8-inch plush assortment and the Sesame Street Neighborhood Friends 3-inch figure packs. These toy lines feature a variety of characters from the series, including both classic characters — like Elmo and Cookie Monster — and newer faces, such as Gabrielle and Julia.
There are also interactive toys on the way, perhaps most notably the Sesame Street Dino Stomp Elmo, which depicts the popular character dressed as a dinosaur. According to Lauridsen, this toy was inspired by the classic nursery rhyme “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and viral, dinosaur-themed Elmo content that has amassed millions of views on YouTube. “We can’t wait to see the videos of kids dancing and stomping along with their best friend Elmo,” she says.
Incorporating this viral moment into the products is one way that Just Play is appealing to today’s kids and families.
“While there are more preschool brands today than ever before, Sesame has never slowed down,” Arenas says. “Our success can be attributed to the continual innovation in product and content, and accessibility to all of our fans. Just Play will help ensure we remain innovative and accessible.”
Another key component of these new toys is learning through play, which is a central pillar of the Sesame Street brand and this partnership. “If you can hold a child’s attention, you can help educate them,” Arenas explains. “By offering engaging toys kids love to play with, we’re able to infuse key learning opportunities — including potty time, ABCs, and developing a positive self-identity — while having fun.”
Some of the educational Sesame Street toys coming from Just Play include Elmo’s Learning Letters, a bus-shaped activity board with removable letter pieces that kids can use to practice spelling, and the Learn with Elmo phone, which features more than 50 learning phrases, songs, and sounds.
Having beloved characters along for the learning experience also enhances these products, as both Arenas and Lauridsen note, because kids feel connected to these furry friends. And on top of that, the show’s deep-rooted nostalgia makes Sesame Street toys multigenerational.
“Sesame Street characters that kids love today are the same ones that their parents grew up adoring,” Lauridsen says. “By having these characters that have been trusted for more than 50 years, there is a familiarity — and a cross-generational comfort level — that makes it easier for parents and caregivers to nurture children’s educational and emotional growth.”
As parents who fondly remember their own Little People Sesame Street playsets — or who begged for a Tickle Me Elmo in its ’90s heyday — begin shopping for toys to enrich their preschoolers’ playrooms, they will have plenty of options.
Beyond the initial launch this spring, Just Play will release new Sesame Street products in additional categories, as the licensing agreement includes vehicles, role play, bath toys, and more. These toys will incorporate the nostalgia, interactivity, and educational value that parents expect from Sesame Street.
It’s sunny days ahead for this play-filled partnership!
Lloyd leaves an outsized and indelible legacy among generations of children the world over, with Sesame Street only the most visible tribute to a lifetime of good work and lasting impact.
An experimental psychologist by training, Lloyd was a Vice President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York when he posed the question that would revolutionize children’s media: Could television be used to educate? In 1968, with fellow visionary Joan Ganz Cooney, he created Sesame Workshop, where the answer was proven to be a resounding “yes.”
As a wise, thoughtful, and above all kind leader, Lloyd was a profound and invaluable guide for 30 years as Chairman of Sesame Workshop’s Board of Trustees, then Trustee and Chairman Emeritus and, finally, a Lifetime Honorary Trustee. He was fascinated by the power of technology and constantly thinking about new ways it could be used to educate.
We have been influenced by his passion, dedication, and firm belief in the transformative power of educational media. Lloyd’s presence will forever be felt in our halls, in our hearts, and in our work on behalf of children and families around the world. Joan Ganz Cooney, his co-founder and close friend, put it best. “Without Lloyd Morrisett, there would be no Sesame Street. It was he who first came up with the notion of using television to teach preschoolers basic skills, such as letters and numbers. He was a trusted partner and loyal friend to me for over fifty years, and he will be sorely missed.”