Yesterday I was talking with some colleagues on the subject of using well-known branded characters in games for learning, and suddenly the phrase “Factor Me Elmo” popped into my head. So of course I started trying to imagine what such an educational game might actually be like.
Instead of tickling Elmo to make him giggle (the basic premise of the popular toy “Tickle Me Elmo”), you and your child would factor numbers with him. If Elmo says “forty eight”, and your child responds “six times eight” or “three times sixteen”, Elmo starts to giggle. If your child says “two times two times three times four” Elmo laughs out loud. But if your child says “two times two times two times two times three” then Elmo just totally loses it, and starts rolling on the floor laughing. Pretty soon your kid is laughing too, you’re laughing till your sides ache, and you’re both wondering why you’d never realized math could be so much fun.
But why stop there, when there are so many other educational possibilities? How about “Tackle Me Elmo”? This educational game would have two levels. In level one, young learners would use Elmo for football practice: Kids place the adorable red Muppet out in the middle of a yard or other open area, put a football in his hands, and then take turns knocking him over. This game level helps your child to build valuable self-esteem through healthful physical exercise. In level two, a six foot tall robotic Elmo attempts to tackle your child every time the young learner picks up a football. This game level teaches your child valuable lessons in proper balance and self-defense, as well as such advanced philosophical concepts as “moral relativism”.
Maybe the most daring game concept is “Pickle Me Elmo”. In this game your child takes Elmo out and gets him drunk. After he has knocked back a few shots, Elmo starts saying things about Kermit and Miss Piggy that he will come to dearly regret. At some point the sodden Muppet staggers outside and steals a car, which he eventually crashes. The next morning Elmo wakes up to find himself in a fleabag motel somewhere in Tijuana, married to a stripper from Salsipuedes.
This game teaches your child valuable lessons in social responsibility.