by Lori Cunningham
Before BlogHer ’12 began, National Geographic invited 20 bloggers to a tea nearby Sarabeth’s Central Park restaurant. A beautiful setting with delicious finger foods. National Geographic shared with us a lot of their fun book titles, science projects, magazine, and new apps they have been working on. My daughter is a huge fan of the Weird But True series. I found out that National Geographic actually has an app for that too, more on that later.
Nonetheless, one of National Geographic’s newer apps is the Look & Learn Animal Alphabet App. It’s a cute, colorful, and an informative way for preschoolers and pre-K kids to learn about animals while working on their hand-eye coordination. The app features 60 animals, 100 fantastic pictures, 6 fun games, and realistic animal sound effects.
The six games include…
A to Z Animals
A to Z Animals shows one colorful picture of an animal that starts with each letter of the alphabet. Pressing on the pictured paw (though not shown in this pic) gives you another picture of the animal and 1-2 facts about them. The animal makes their native sound when you tap on their picture. A to Z Animals is also a fun learning tool for babies and toddlers.
Find the ABC’s
Find the ABC’s shows you six letters and asks you to find a particular letter. Once you find the letter, it shows you an animal that begins with that letter and tells you a little about the animal.
Connect the Letters
You can chose any color pencil and connect the dots between the letters, in alphabetical order. My six-year old son really likes this game. As you continue to play the game, the difficulty level gets harder with more letters to connect. The next dot to connect glows to help young learns figure out which dot is next in case they are having trouble with their ABC’s. After you have connected all the dots, you see a picture of an animal and receive some animal facts about it. This game is colorful, fun to do, and the pictures of the animals are adorable.
Flamingo Flyer is a fun game where you guide a flying flamingo through different continents of the world by tilting the iPad up and down. The goal is to “bump into” all the letters of the alphabet in alphabetical order. As you collect each letter, you see a corresponding animal below that begins with that same letter. Kids will love this fun way of playing the game using the tilt feature.
Learn to Write
In Learn to Write, you’re given the dotted line outline of a letter and are shown in which direction you should trace the letter with your finger. After you’ve traced the letter, you are shown a fun picture of an animal and given facts. This is definitely for the older child of the recommended range because you need to be pretty precise in order for your traced letter to count.
This was one of my kids’ favorites. You take a picture of your parent, brother or sister, or friend and then you can add fun animal masks to it. There’s an elephant, moose, tiger, koala, rabbit, and walrus mask to try on. Unfortunately, you can’t take a picture of yourself because it only uses the outside camera, so it’s too hard to put yourself in the viewfinder correctly for it to work right. Nonetheless, the pictures are a lot of fun and you can save them and/or e-mail them to a friend.
A Mother’s Perspective
I love all of the colorful pictures, they are fun and engaging, kids are sure to love them as well. I know the app is aimed toward preschoolers and Pre-K kids, but I can see how babies and toddlers would love it as well with its fun pictures of animals and animal sounds. I’ve been pretty impressed with how 9 month old’s and toddlers can get around on an iPad. I hear stories all the time from parents and grandparents how kids know how to turn the iPad on and get to the app they’re interested in. The Look & Learn Animal Alphabet App is definitely one of those apps kids will look for.
The only thing that could be improved upon is allowing the child to take pictures of themselves in the Mask Maker with the front camera. Of course, perhaps National Geographic Kids did this on purpose so you could control how many pictures your child is filling up on your iPad hard drive!
The Look & Learn Animal Alphabet App sells for $1.99 in the Apple iTunes store.