User control is a huge feature in this app. Children are free to explore the scenes and decide for themselves where objects go. The ability to control the app environment fosters independence, critical thinking, and an awareness of cause and effect, all elements that fit nicely with the developmental stages of 3-5-year olds. Happy exploring!
Prepare to use the app by introducing one of these activities:
What Do I Do At a…
This app contains 12 different settings. To get your child’s mind ready for them, ask him/her questions about what you would find and do at a grocery store, jungle, playground, beach, city, bedroom, carnival, snowstorm, train tracks, and beach. What sights would you see? What sounds would you hear? Would you see animals at that place? If yes, which ones? What can you do at that place? Which of these places have you visited? What did you think about each of those places?
Person, Place, or Thing
It’s never too early to learn grammar! Let your child know that nouns are words that identify a person, place, or thing. Introduce the concept of nouns with one of these age-appropriate videos:
Take a walk around your home and have your child point out different objects, like a favorite stuffed animal or food. Ask your child to name the object and tell if it’s a person, place, or thing. If your child knows his/her letters, you could also play a noun game where you name a letter and s/he has to tell you a noun that starts with that letter. To make it even more fun, pick a topic first (i.e. the park) and state a respective noun for each letter of the alphabet (i.e. A = ants; B = baseball; C = chipmunk; D = duck). As your child engages with this app, ask him/her to identify as many nouns as s/he can.
Help your child get the most out of an app experience by trying the following activities:
My Vocabulary Journal
Children absorb vocabulary words at a tremendous rate during their preschool years. Luckily, this app taps into that phenomenon with its own vocabulary journal. As your child places an object appropriately within a scene, the object is verbally identified and stored in a vocabulary journal. Every scene has its own vocabulary journal, where each word is also spelled out for the user. There are over 130 vocabulary words within all twelve scenes. What a great way to learn new words!
Wondering About Cause and Effect
This app’s focus on user control lends itself perfectly to a conversation about cause and effect. Explain to your child that a “cause” is something that happens first. Next comes an “effect”, which is what happens because of the cause. Here’s an example from this app: When the stoplight turns green (the cause), cars will start to move (the effect). Tie in wonderings within this conversation. Ask questions like, “I wonder what would happen if you put the sun in the sky?” “I wonder what would happen if you put Beck on the swing?” “I wonder what would happen if you put the dog on the trampoline?” Wonderings are powerful vehicles for learning.
Extend the app experience with a real life activity:
Take your child on an animal adventure without ever leaving your home! Virtual trips are easier than ever, thanks to wildlife cams at local zoos, aquariums, and animal conservations. After you visit one of these places, give your child a piece of paper and crayons to draw his/her observations. Encourage him/her to add lots of details: animals, plants, water sources, etc.
The National Aquarium – Blacktip and Pacific Coral Reefs
Smithsonian National Zoological Park – elephants, otters, leopards, fishing cats, lions, naked mole rats, orangutans, and pandas
Africa – various safari destinations
Animal Planet Live – different animals depending on the day, including sloths and bunnies
One of the first things I noticed when I opened this app is the unique artwork, done in a paper collage style. Have your child look closely at any of the images within the app, such as Bo’s hair or the gorilla’s facial features. Do you see the layers? Let your child make his/her own bird paper collage from Classic-Play using these materials:
colored construction paper
thin black marker
Once you have all of the materials, follow these steps:
First, cut pieces of newspaper to serve as the branches. (Click here for an example)
Glue the branches onto the plain paper.
Using the construction paper, cut out different shapes that will serve as the birds once they are layered. Teardrops, semi-circles, and triangles work well.
Arrange the shapes on the branches to create the birds. Glue.
Then, using a black marker draw a straight line for the birds’ legs.
Hang up artwork and admire your hard work!