Everyone’s favorite monkey is back and he is looking better than ever. In the brand new app released yesterday by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Curious George is helping feed, clean and look after the zoo’s many animals. Aimed at children aged 3-5 years, the app incorporates engaging animation, fun game-play and gorgeous graphics in what is all round a beautiful educational app.
Developed out of HMH’s Irish R&D hub in Dublin, a lot of work has gone into ensuring the much loved children’s character makes the digital transition in style. Curious George At The Zoo is available from the App Store for free up until May and is available for all iOS devices.
So what is it that the creative team behind the app have done to bring this cheeky monkey to life? And what are some of the highlights you and your children can look forward to?
Curious George At The Zoo
Look and Feel
The Curious George books use a style based around watercolour, charcoal and paper. The creative team at HMH have worked extremely hard to replicate this same look and feel in the app. The result is a very unique and beautiful game for children, blending the paper reading experience with the engagement that comes for multimedia apps. This works extremely well on the iPad device with its high resolution screen and multi-touch interface.
Children are led through the game by a very familiar character – “The Man with The Yellow Hat”. Always in the top right hand corner of screen, “The Man with The Yellow Hat” offers instruction as well as useful learning throughout the game. Children are given the truly interactive task of waking, feeding and washing animals. This involves taking advantage of many modern features of mobile gaming where children are instructed to shake, speak to and touch the device.
As well as direct instruction, there are many exploratory features in the app to encourage children to experiment and discover how objects work and interact. A great example of this is dragging the rain cloud across the sun for a beautiful hand drawn rainbow to appear. These are the kinds of surprise interactions that encourage creativity in children as well as the desire to keep playing and exploring.
Games And Video
Once Curious George has completed his jobs with each animal, children are offered the reward of mini-games and educational videos. Games are interactive and fun, but also offer educational value. Each game requires children to use the knowledge they have learnt to complete the game successfully. Video content is a mixture of live footage and animation that keeps students engaged while they learn.
One of the most well thought out features of “Curious George At The Zoo” is the sticker book. As children complete tasks in the game they are awarded stickers to mark their success. These stickers can then be used to create pages in a virtual sticker book, encouraging another level of creativity, as well as the inspiration to continue learning. This is the exact type of gamification discussed in our “4 Lessons Elearning Can Take From “Draw Something”” article.
More To Come
With a high level of buzz already surrounding the release, the app is certainly proving popular with children and parents alike. Promising expanded sections of the zoo and many more features, games and interactions, the app is likely to remain popular for a good time to come. As an Aussie, I have to admit, I am particularly excited to explore the soon to come “Outback” section of the zoo :)
What is it you look for in “great” educational apps for students? What aspects of Curious George would you like to see used more in developing apps for children?