I have to say that I love a good app and I have reviewed a few in my time on this blog, however, one of the things I have found extremely useful is when those apps are created for educational purposes.
Gingersnap, a company set up by a group of geeky dads, approached me with their brand new idea. As their children – and ours – have gravitated more towards tablets and smartphones they wanted to find a way to include both the parents and children in order to bridge any technology divides so, over the last year they have been developing an app to do exactly that.
They are keen to ensure that their new brand of technology is educational so they have been working with museums, educationalists and other organisations in order to come up with something that will spark kids imaginations and curiosity and inspire their creativity.
Combining a child’s appetite for wanting to know more with creative minds and adding in the personal touch of a familiar face, I am really liking what they have come up with.
With more stories to follow, Grace was given the option of a story about Henry VIII called ‘Chaos in the Kitchen’ or a story called Shakespeare with Saddlebags, placing the playwright in the Wild West. Grace chose the man with eight wives!
This adventure is set in 1530 just as King Henry VIII is celebrating 21 years on the English throne. Having recently taken ownership of Hampton Court Palace, he is throwing one of his extravagant banquets.
Once you have downloaded the app onto your iPad (from the Apple store) you are then quickly transported to the palace kitchens where a bossy yeoman is ordering everyone about in anticipation of the big meal. With just a few taps of the screen, you then become a star in the story, in charge of serving food, recharging the guests’ tankards and even leading the musical interlude. Firstly you choose the child’s name to who you are sending it to – I was creating for Grace – and then who you are known as – in my case ‘Mum’. Then you select either the male or female costume and then you need to insert a photo of yourself. This is done easily using the camera on your ipad. If you are a bit camera shy then you can use a cartoon – but I think this would take away from the experience for your child.
You can then send this personalised story app, with your photo composited as one of the characters, to a young relative who will help you save the day by cracking clues, solving puzzles and learning a little along the way.
Grace was able to play the story instantly on my iPad as soon as I had created it. First up, she had to help me plate up the food as the Yeoman called out the instructions for the next dish. Once this was done, she had to catch droplets of beer – making sure to avoid the red wine and finally she was to catch musical notes for the lute to play. I featured throughout the story in costume, which Grace found highly amusing.
Once the story is over, your child is given the option to create an in-app picture using props that featured during the tale. You can then save this in your photo gallery on your iPad.
The story lasts around 5 minutes and I have to say that Grace found it really engaging. I know that these apps are in their early stages right now but I am expecting to see lots more great things from them in the months to come!
Please note there is an small in-app purchase to save or send your story.
Disclosure: We compensated for our time on this review. Please note that all words, images and opinions have been formed by the owner of this blog and have not been influenced in any way. Please do not reproduce any of the content or images on this post without prior agreement from Verily Victoria Vocalises.