Here at Collider, we cover a lot of stuff, be it Star Wars, superheroes, or cinephile fare, and everything from movies and TV, to video games and web series. There’s something for everyone. But there’s so much stuff out there that sometimes our younger audience members get left out. So every once in a while, we’d like to shine a spotlight on some family-friendly content that parents and caregivers can confidently watch with the little ones.
In today’s Collider Kids segment, we’ve got some news on the first new animated series from the makers of Sesame Street in more than a decade. Sesame Workshop and HBO recently announced that Esme & Roy will debut on Saturday, August 18th at 9:30AM on HBO. The program follows a young girl, Esme, and her best monster friend, Roy, on their adventures as the best monster babysitters in Monsterdale. Aimed at children ages four to six, it offers a creative new approach to teaching “learning through play” and mindfulness strategies.
With loveable characters who spark strong emotional connections among preschoolers and parents alike, Esme & Roy invites children into a colorful world where even the littlest monsters can overcome big challenges together. Across 26 episodes, Esme and Roy will use the power of play to help younger monsters through familiar situations like trying new foods and feeling scared during loud thunderstorms. Little viewers will look up to their new favorite monster-sitters as positive role models, learning how to manage strong emotions with simple mindfulness practices alongside Esme and Roy’s charges. Infectious humor, imaginative design, and expressive voice talent including Millie Davis (Wonder, Odd Squad) and Patrick McKenna (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (TV), Hotel Transylvania: The Series), bring the world of Esme & Roy to vibrant life.
“We’re thrilled to present this innovative new series as part of our overall partnership with HBO,” said Steve Youngwood, President of Media and Education and Chief Operating Officer, Sesame Workshop. “Packed with humor, heart, and valuable lessons, Esme & Roy represents the kind of quality programming that families have trusted Sesame Workshop to deliver for nearly fifty years, tailor-made for a new generation of kids and parents.”
As Sesame Workshop’s newest addition to the educational entertainment landscape, Esme & Roy underscores how vitally important play is to early childhood development. Whether they’re pretending to be veterinarians to model how to hold a pet gently, or sticking to a shopping list by turning a trip to the grocery store into a matching game, the monster-sitters help their little friends learn a range of lessons while they have fun. When children play together, they are physically, cognitively, and socially engaged. Motivated by their own curiosity and interest, they learn to collaborate, self-regulate, communicate, and empathize with others during play sessions. As modeled in Esme & Roy, “learning through play” allows children to develop these critical life skills in a safe environment.
Children are most ready for this kind of engaged, productive playtime when they can manage challenging feelings like worry and frustration. Esme & Roy offers easy-to-adopt strategies that can help even very young children regulate their emotions. Tactics include: taking slow belly breaths, which provide a pause for children to be reflective instead of reactive; self-talk that uses positive statements to remind kids of their strength and capability; giving oneself a soothing hug; and using a “glitter jar” to calm the body and mind, shaking a sparkly snow globe-like jar and taking deep breaths while watching the glitter swirl and slowly fall.
“We can’t wait to share the vibrant and textured world of Esme & Roy with kids,” said Kay Wilson Stallings, SVP Creative Development, Sesame Workshop. “By incorporating the latest thinking about mindfulness and learning through play into the fabric of this show, we hope to reinvigorate playtime and give today’s kids the tools they need to manage their emotions in a positive way.”
Created by TV veterans Dustin Ferrer and Amy Steinberg (Peg + Cat, Team Umizoomi, Wonder Pets! and Shimmer and Shine), Esme & Roy is produced in partnership with Corus Entertainment’s animation studio Nelvana, with illustrations inspired by renowned artist Dan Kerleroux.