The Next Wave of Entertainment for Kids: Interactive TV?

Kinect Sesame Street TV in action

This week, the folks at XBox Kinect invited us down to New York City to hear about their latest innovations for kids. In addition to a whole bunch of exciting new titles coming in time for holiday (watch our gift guides for these!), they also announced partnerships with Sesame Street and National Geographic to launch something brand new: Interactive TV.

With a view to create “playful learning experiences,” Kinect and these venerable brands will offer interactive TV shows—kids can watch shows as they always have, but some segments will be interactive. Kids can jump right into Elmo’s World, or become grizzly bears themselves and try to catch some dinner while watching National Geographic.

“Children learn through play,” says Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, Vice President of Education and Research at Sesame Workshop. “Play has been underestimated in education.” And through the interactive TV initiatives kids will have the opportunity to learn and play at the same time. Referring to a segment in Kinect Sesame Street TV where kids throw coconuts to Grover and count to five, she says “I don’t want kids to count [to five] without knowing what five means. Actually throwing the coconuts as they count helps to give them context for the concept of five.”

You won’t see Interactive TV coming to an XBox near you until Spring 2012, but we think the wait will be worth it.

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