Exposure to the cultures and important features of various countries.
What we’d love to see…
More information about the national treasures and ability to save creative works.
A cute and oolorful app that brings your child around the world learning about the famous icons and flags of different countries through 50 early learning activities.
The app opens with a cute animation of Pacca Alpaca traveling across continents on his magical carousel and when it lands, your child is invited to choose an early learning activity from 50 available on the spinning carousel. Each activity takes your child to a new place and highlights an interesting feature of that country.
For each of the 23 countries that your child will travel to, he/she could be searching for the national animal, piecing together one of the wonders of the world, building a national monument, connecting the dots to draw a historic landmark, making the national food with stickers, spotting the odd national flower, drawing a cultural landscape or playing hide and seek with fun iconic symbols. While there are lots (50 early learning activities) to do, each activity is short and complete on its own, which is perfect for the preschoolers’ short attention span. Even though there is no in-app saving function of the children’s creative works, you can always get round it by doing screenshots.
After completing an activity, your child will be shown the flag of the country and the country name will be announced at the same time. However, I feel that the flag appears too soon and wish that there is a little more time for the children to appreciate their completed work before the flag is shown.
I like the variety of country highlights included in this app. They are all very interesting, I just wish that the app would give the name of these features as well. My favorite country highlight has to be the music that is unique to each country and I hope to see more cultural characteristics like the costumes and festivals being included in future updates.
I love the multi-national and multi-cultural exposure that this app offers. The early learning activities are age-appropirate and the visuals are captivating. It is the perfect app for preschoolers to travel round the world discovering different countries and their cultures in a fun way!
The fun story, characters and the little game included.
What we’d love to see…
Small glitches fixed.
Fun storybook with lots to do throughout.
This interactive storybook takes place in a Museum where a child and the father wonder what places in the world they could visit. The storybook transports them across the world to places like London, Spain, Italy, Mexico, America and many others. It introduces children to the joys of travelling and what adventures they could get up to when they get older.
We liked this catchy 24 page storybook with lots of interactive spots, simple text and great pictures. The narration by Brian Blessed and the characters that move around during the story both suit the book really well. The feature of the book which my daughter enjoyed the most is the little game of finding the child’s dog throughout the story. Once all found, there is a memory game that you can access which is also very entertaining.
This app is really well made, easy to use and with great hand drawn pictures throughout the book. Children are given the option of either being a girl or boy character in the story with the extra option of narration by boisterous English actor Brian Blessed.
Words are highlighted as the story is read out by the narrator, once read the text disappears but can be shown again by using the book icon. There is also an icon to go back to the home menu, one which tallies up the number of dogs you have found so far in the story and a left and right icon for navigation purposes. There are no in-app purchases or ads in this app. It does however have a settings page where you can turn narration on or off, switch characters and reset the app. There is also a help page with a few helpful tips, info about the developer’s other app and credits.
We couldn’t really fault this great storybook however we did encounter a few glitches at times where the app failed to respond for a few seconds. Overall we loved this fun and humorous storybook with lots of sounds, interactions, simple text and cute games.
Just in time for Presidents Day the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum has launched a new FREE app, The JFK Challenge. The app is designed for children from 8-12 years old and teaches them about President John F. Kennedy (JFK) and the legacies his Presidency left behind, focusing on the Peace Corps and the Space Race. The JFK Challenge app is totally free, with no adverts or in-app purchases and was created with support of a grant from Disney. You can learn more about the app by visiting JFKChallenge.org
As the app opens you are transported back in time to John. F Kennedy’s inaugural address as he becomes the 35th President of the United States and the youngest US President elected to office. JFK ‘s voice booms out “Ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country.” Historical photographs, video and audio recordings bring history as we learn about JFK’s life before becoming President of the United States, as well as highlights of his Presidency.
In 1961 President Kennedy founded the Peace Corps, a program which continues to this day and has sent over 200,000 trained volunteers overseas. In that same year he challenged America “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” Players can choose from two missions to complete, where they learn more about the Space Race or the Peace Corps.
In this game you get to take the role of a Peace Corp volunteer who is going to Columbia. First you prepare by learning some words of Spanish. Next you practice digging waterways avoiding obstacles on the way, then learn to make bricks from water, gravel and cement, and use them to build. All of these skills get put to use later in the game once you begin the mission.
You learn some geography as you see countries where other Peace Corps volunteers are going, learn about the projects they will work on, and see photographs of real Peace Corps projects in these countries.
After training is complete you go on your mission to Columbia, where you work to help provide clean drinking water to a village, and construct buildings using the skills learned in training. You will need to work fast to get the projects completed before the rainy season arrives. Once you have completed the building projects you get to explore the village and learn about local culture.
In this mission you get to join NASA as an Astronaut. You learn about the history of the Space race from the time in 1961 that JFK sets the challenge for a man to walk on the moon, until 1969 when that vision becomes reality.
At NASA you first learn to steer a spacecraft and practice operating the lunar module to safely land it. Next as you assemble your spacesuit you learn about its different components and why they are needed.
With your training complete you move on to launch day where you send the crew of Apollo 11 into space and discard the various stages of the rocket once they have done their job. Then you fly your rocket to the moon avoiding debris on the way, before putting your landing skills to the test as you maneuver the lunar module safely down onto the lunar surface. Once you have safely landed you can explore the moon learning about both the moon and the Apollo 11 mission.
This is a great app for teaching children (and adults!) about JFK, the Space Race and the Peace Corps. I love how it uses historical photos, video and audio recordings to really bring history to life. It uses a combination of the old and the new, combining both archive material and engaging video game activities to both educate and entertain. Although it is designed for children from 3rd Grade up I think it will appeal to an even broader age range – I can see children as young as First Grade enjoying it, and even as an adult I learned from it. This app teaches history, geography, science, Spanish and encourages exploration and interest in other countries and cultures. This is a very well made app and I would highly recommend downloading it today. A free app that should not be missed!
To celebrate the release of the app the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is giving away an iPad Mini, you can learn more by visiting their Facebook Page or following them on Twitter .
by John F. Kennedy Library Foundation
Take the JFK Challenge – fly to the moon or help people around the world! This immersive app from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library transports kids back in time to train for the Apollo 11 mission.
Toddler friendly, cute colorful graphics, fun interactions
What we’d love to see…
More educational value, more diversity in parts of Britain included
Eric & Bruce visit Britain is a fun interactive app that will appeal most to toddlers and pre-schoolers. It features many famous British sites and people but misses the opportunity to teach a little about them.
Eric & Bruce Travel to Britain is the first in a planned series of apps for toddlers and preschoolers from Beijing- based developer Eric & Bruce Technology Ltd. Eric is a young boy and Bruce is his puppy and faithful travel companion. The app is child-friendly with no adverts or in-app purchases, website and social media links are in a locked parents area (accessed by pressing and holding). Music and sound effects can be independently turned off in the parents area. In this app they visit some of the most famous sights of Great Britain.
As the app opens Eric is slowly peddling his bike through the streets of London with Bruce following behind. The child can explore the app at their own pace, if they do nothing Bruce keeps slowly moving along, tapping on Bruce changes his mode of transport- he can also ride a horse or fly Harry Potter- style on a broomstick. Swiping forward will speed Bruce up, swiping backwards will change his direction. There are lots of hidden animations to find including: tapping on a cloud to start rain falling, traditional red pillar boxes which will spit out letters if tapped, Tower Bridge will raise to let ships pass, and touching Big Ben will cause it to strike 3 o’clock. As well as famous sights the app also features many iconic British figures such as the Beatles crossing Abbey Road, Sherlock Holmes & Dr Watson in Baker Street, and the Royal Family. The Queen will change outfits if tapped, and her royal corgis will perform tricks; the younger Royals aren’t left out either with Kate Duchess of Cambridge and Princes William and George popping up to give the Royal Wave.
There are 4 mini-games to find, each marked by a star, in each game the child plays as long as they wish, then taps the return button to get back to the rest of the app. The games are:
This is at the London Eye – Bruce and Eric both gets balloons from a balloon seller then more and more balloons float across the screen. Tapping on balloons pops them, and there is no keeping score or penalty for missing balloons.
Eric and a friend are having tea at a sidewalk table outside a Fish and Chip Shop. The child can feed them cupcakes from a never-ending supply and Bruce is waiting patiently under the table to receive any cupcakes that come his way too. It is a little confusing having them drink tea and eat cupcakes outside a Fish and Chip Shop – it would seem more logical for them to be outside a Tea Shop having tea and cakes, or eating fish and chips by the Fish and Chip Shop.
Eric and Bruce are Irish dancing with a Leprechaun, tapping them will change their dance moves. The location of this game seems a little geographically confused – they are dancing near Stonehenge and Westminster Abby, both of which are in England. Ireland is not actually part of Great Britain (although Northern Ireland is in the United Kingdom), so Irish Dancing seems a little out of place in an app about Britain. If the app was instead Eric and Bruce travel to the British Isles, Ireland could be included, but then it would be nice to see Irish dancing performed in front of a famous Irish sight such as the Devil’s Causeway or Blarney Castle instead of in England.
A New Friend
Eric and Bruce have found a new friend- another dog to play with! Bruce will throw the ball and both dogs will rush to fetch it and the new friend will even dig up a bone to share with Bruce.
The app has bright, colorful cartoon-like graphics that will appeal to young children. It allows open-ended play and exploration and is easy to operate. I think toddlers and pre-schoolers will enjoy exploring it and finding the hidden interactions.
As a native Brit myself I was a little disappointed the app didn’t take the opportunity to teach children a little about the places and people in the app. I’d love to see the addition of an interactive map that you could access from anywhere in the app that would show the locations of the various sights and tell a little about them. Similarly it would be nice to have a way that children could learn who the various people are. As it is an app designed for young children this doesn’t need to be in great detail, but as part of a series of travel apps, it is a great opportunity to teach children a little about each of the places Eric & Bruce visit. Apart from Loch Ness all the other sights included are in the South of England (mainly in London) so it would be nice to also see other parts of Britain represented- maybe Caerphilly Castle, or the Severn Bridge, or Edinburgh Castle or Fountains Abbey or Hadrian’s Wall ?
Overall, Eric & Bruce visit Britain is a fun, bright, colorful, interactive app that will appeal most to toddlers and pre-schoolers. It features many famous British sights and people but I feel it misses an opportunity to teach children a little about them.
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