When I got an iPad for my birthday last April, I said over and over how I wouldn’t let my kids play with it. Mostly because I didn’t want them to ruin it or fight over it. Fast forward almost 10 months later, and neither has happened. It’s still in tact and there have been no arguments. Hooray!
I did change my rule on letting my children use it though. I softened my stance because there are some wonderful educational apps out there, (some free, some not) that have been great learning tools. I use this screen time as I do with television. It’s timed and we only use it when I say.
It’s hard to avoid these learning tools because we live in a digital age and users are getting younger and younger.
Recently, I was introduced to Captain McFinn’s Swim & Play app.
It’s a one-of-a-kind children’s app, aimed at kids 3-5 years old, that allows the users to interact and communicate back with a live host all in a secure setting alongside their friends. The host navigates you through an interactive experience, teaching important pro-social life lessons in a fun way.
During the experience, you and your child swim alongside Captain McFinn (a fun, super nice shark) and his friends in Sand Dusty Reef, chatting with other characters, participating in games, all while learning.
The live host (Deep Sea Explorer whose head appears in a submarine) only sees how a child’s fish avatar is exploring the underwater world and creates a fun experience based on the activities your child completes.
Each time the app is opened your child gets to choose which color they’d like their fish avatar to be.
The pro-social topics include:
– Sharing and politeness
– Playing as a group
– Asking for help
– Being thankful
– Respecting other
– Live video stream that lets kids interact with a real McFinn Explorer
– Daily learning activities guided by the Explorer
– 40 plus animated hot spots with silly McFinn characters
– Badges for completing activities
– Drawing tool
– Various games
– Ability to share creations with the Explorer
– Chat box for asking the Explorer questions
– Clap button for cheering on other users
– Full length McFinn episodes and music videos
I’ve played this app with my daughter a few days in a row and each day we had a different, very pleasant live host. They were very engaging and called on my daughter by name, and encouraged the other users to give her a round of applause when she did something notable.
I felt it was a safe environment for my daughter and I and that it was time well spent. She told me her favorite thing about the app was collecting badges while helping clean up the ocean.
I just checked the reviews on iTunes and parents are raving about it. It’s received five stars from users!
This interactive app is going to change the game on how kids learn on tablets and other devices. Check it out if you have time!
You can download and experience the app here.
Important note for parents:
It is important to highlight that the app complies with all COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) safety standards, so although parents/children can see the host, the host cannot see them. Through proprietary technology, the host reacts to prompts, responses and creations by the child and texts from the parent (through a secure chat box) to make the interactive experience truly customized.
Disclosure: I was able to test out this app for a couple of weeks for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and I was not told what to say or how to say it.