During the COVID-19 pandemic, children around the world are facing the same enormous challenge – not being able to go out to play. Do your children need good exercise with fun to release stress of being cooped up inside and keep fit? Hello Kitty can help!

She has teamed up with her friend Shimajiro, a learning buddy, to encourage young children to move their body through the new “Exercise with Friends” video series.

“The COVID-19 global crisis has brought Sanrio and Benesse together to join forces for the common public aim to cheer up children when they are confined at home and feel sad without being able to physically meet up with friends,” Makoto Kimura, Chief Marketing Officer at Sanrio, said.

Sanrio is Hello Kitty’s corporate home; Benesse is Shimajiro’s.

“The sense of urgency has inspired us to team up to reach more children, and to encourage them to think about making friends in new ways. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting children globally, we also produced English and Chinese versions of the exercise video so that a wide array of children can also have fun and keep fit.”

The video reflects public health advice from the World Health Organization about the importance of exercise for physical and mental health.

Collaboration on the “Exercise with Friends” series has expanded to include other popular characters, like Kumamon, who represents Kumamoto prefecture, and Mellchan, a Japanese doll. Each of these characters is popular, so the spirit of solidarity has made these unusual joint appearances doubly popular.

It is an effort to meet children where they are: their friends are the people (and imaginary characters) they play with. An added benefit: this “has also helped boost up staff morale at Sanrio at a time when the entertainment industry as a whole is facing tremendous challenges,” says Kimura.