C is for collaboration.
While PBS and Sesame Workshop have more than 75 apps between them, the new Cookie Monster iPad app debuting this week is the first time the two organizations have worked together on a mobile project.
The result of the year-long collaboration is Cookie Monster’s Challenge — a $2.99 tablet app designed to teach kids aged 3 to 5 skills around problem solving, self-control and following directions. In the app, which hits Apple’s App Store on Thursday, children have to solve various challenges to get to higher levels, earning parts along the way to help Cookie Monster build a cookie-delivery machine.
Cookie Monster’s Challenge arrives just as the venerable children’s show kicks off its 45th season, with school readiness skills such as self-control making up a big part of the curriculum.
Sesame Street VP Nadine Zystra said she knew they had a hit on their hands while watching her 4-year-old son engage with tasks, such as one in which the player has to avoid touching a pig to make it to the next level. Sometimes he would sit on his hands, while other times he would touch the pig just to enjoy Cookie Monster’s reaction.
“We’ve got something pretty special here,” Zystra recalls thinking.
As for why it took so long for the longtime partners to work together, both were just doing their own thing.
“I don’t think there’s any real reason we didn’t do it before other than — we didn’t do it before,” Zystra said.