i Learn With Poko: Seasons and Weather! HD is another creative and fun educational app from Tribal Nova for iPad. Three sections are included that help pre-school and kindergarten kids learn the differences between each season as well as various types of weather. iPhone users keep an eye out for an iPhone version to be released in the future.
My son and I really enjoy this app, and I am happy to see a science app about the seasons and weather geared towards my boy who is only three+, something lacking currently in the iTunes store. Each section of this app has an interesting game where kids use clues they hear or see to complete these activities, helping two friendly and colorful children, Bebe and Poko, along the way.
The section Weather Conditions allows the players to help Bebe fill her photo album by choosing the correct pictures following clues given, narrowing down the choices until the correct picture is left. I like how this section uses the process of elimination to be left with the right answer, with hints such as “find three pictures where the sky is gray,” then “find two pictures where it is spring” and finally, being asked to find the picture where it has rained earlier that day. The magic behind this section is the logic and understanding used to follow through on these clues, as to find the spring photos, one must notice the flowers in bloom and the player becomes aware of which photo has puddles from previous rain as apposed to the photo where it is currently raining. I enjoy watching my son play this game, really focusing on the hint being narrated as he taps the correct photos in question.
In What To Wear, help Bebe and Poko take a photo, but be sure to correct any clothing errors or other mistakes they make in terms of seasonal appropriateness. You may find a winter hat or gloves being worn in the summer, shorts worn on a snowy winter day or objects that are out of season, such as a snowman in the summertime. Sometimes these mistakes are obvious, like wearing winter layers on a hot sunny day, but sometimes this section can be a little tricky, even for me as an adult. The first time I played this section with my son, I thought the rain boots the kids were wearing looked pretty good until I realized there was a better choice offered of winter boots with snow on them.
After playing this section once, it became clear to me what choices exist, but it may be a nice addiction to add seasonal or weather-appropriate closets one could look at to see what choices are available. I like that the camera which will take the photo when these mistakes are found has buttons that will light up when the errors are solved, showing how many problem areas are left to discover.
Another section, Fill Poko’s Calendar does a nice job of teaching about weather conditions and corresponding activities kids may do during these conditions. Fill in calendar days by tapping and dragging activities that match what the weather is like on a specific day, such as kite flying on a windy day or playing inside the house on a day that was stormy. I also like how the seasons are further demonstrated as each of these weeks takes place in a specific season, with weather that may occur during these times of the year and that each week has a corresponding month as part of the calendar as well. This also being a nice introduction to days of the week, months of the year, and calendars in general.
What impresses me about this app is how much listening and focusing on the task at hand is needed to solve these puzzles. My son really listens to the various clues and is able to make good choices on his own with some explanation of what he was looking at from me. I really like how this app prompted me as a parent to teach about weather, such as how one can tell by looking at a picture if it is windy, or what to look for to see if it had just rained or why is it incorrect for flowers to be blooming in the fall.
As with Tribal Nova’s earlier app, this application can be enjoyed by a child alone, but it is best used with an adult who can go into greater detail about all that can be learned here. I also appreciate how this app re-enforces my rules of needing a hat in the summer, something my son sometimes protests. I think it would even be nice if the characters were also wearing obvious white sunblock on their faces for the summer, something that may however be lost to children as many sunscreens these days go on clear. This would be a nice app for any child in the target age of 3-7, but also kids with special needs who may need help in remembering to dress appropriately for the weather, or who may benefit from exercising their listening skills.
In each of these sections, one can tap Murphy the monkey if in need of a hint, but it would a nice addition if Murphy’s hints were more teachable moments, giving specific hints about puddles after a rain storm, or leaves being picked up by the wind rather than more generic hints on game play. This one note aside, this is a lovely and fun learning app that teaches a lot about weather and seasons, something kids experience every day. I really like the clues given to these various sections, teaching kids not only about science, but in helping to strengthen listening comprehension skills in general.