Physical activity and imaginative play are essential for development, but this generation of kids should add a new essential: using technology. As toddlers, their capacity to pick it up is already incredible. A friend’s two-year-old was known to try ‘unlocking’ their TV by swiping his finger across the bottom.
But is it possible to harness the power of technology to teach, or are kids doomed to be screen zombies playing first person shooter games? We think it can be done, as long as there are educational, interactive games like Safari Tales by Kuato Studios.
Safari Tales is an animal adventure app that sends kids on quests to explore the African Savannah, learn facts about the animals and their environment, and develop hand-eye coordination.
Players choose from five baby animal avatars, and Darwin, the little meerkat narrator, sends them on adventures like ‘find the baby crocodile at whirlpool waterfall’. Along the way kids can paint their avatar, swipe to make it do tricks and ask Darwin questions. There are also mini games to play and prizes to collect along the way.
At the end of each session, Safari Tales converts the player’s adventure into an interactive storybook that helps kids with their reading skills and vocabulary.
There’s also a Parent Corner that lets you put PIN restrictions on the game, set a reading age and adjust the game session time. And as a bonus, the sound effects and music won’t drive you nuts. In fact, they’re varied and pleasant, the sort of ambient forest sounds you’d hear on a white noise machine.
The game’s target audience is kids aged four to 10. With help from a parent, young kids can definitely play some aspects of the game, although steering the animals is a bit tricky, even for me, but maybe I’m just a noob.