Peapod Labs has developed a favorite series of educational ABC apps and has recently added two new titles - ABC Aquarium and ABC Bugs, each terrifically educational and including exceptional photography to allow children to view these different creatures in a way that highlights all of their unique attributes.
Each of these apps, now eleven and counting, features a wide amount of content, including terrific, detailed photos of each subject as well as narrated fun facts, curated videos gathered from the Internet and simple, intuitive interactions which young children will enjoy a great deal.
A menu of contents is featured prominently as here one can choose from many words associated with the chosen from this series - each arranged alphabetically.
To choose a word, simply tap in order to be taken to a page dedicated to this animal or object, be it a sea horse, dolphin, ladybug or louse, as one has the chance to explore the interactions, gaze at the wonderfully detailed photographs, watch short video clips or read along as interesting facts are narrated.
Do note that one can jump to another letter with a tap from the available letters that make up the word in question as seen at the bottom of the screen - another fun way of working one’s way through this app as well as spend a little time on letter recognition.
I also appreciate how many of these words include multiple images, videos and facts that go into further details about each subject as well as showing what a variety of related creatures may look like such as different kinds of eels, coral, or butterflies.
I have enjoyed each of these apps, but I must admit the photos found in the new ABC Aquarium and ABC Bugs apps may be my favorites as the colors and details found on these creatures really pop off the screen of my iPad such as the star fish or anemone found in the aquatic app or the harlequin beetles from ABC Bugs.
I have learned a lot from these apps, and I enjoy how beavers and frogs are included in ABC Aquatic as well as other fish and marine mammals found in the oceans, as well as including bugs in ABC Bugs who are not true insects such as a millipede or scorpion. I have become smitten with creatures I never gave much thought to until now such as the charming and handsome Beluga whale.
It is also nice to say that the detailed facts found within these apps are upbeat and child-appropriate. Although it is hard to avoid the topic of predators when talking about certain fish such as barracudas, it is done so with grace, and I was pleased to see how non-confrontational the included information is, such as how wasps help farmers or that the Brown Recluse spider has six eyes instead of the typical eight. Although the educational videos do go into more depth about these characters, such as the venomous stings of some spiders, this info can easily be curtailed by turning off the Internet connection, disabling the videos if a parent feels the need.
Even with no Internet access, there is a tremendous amount one can look at, learn from and interact with as children of varied ages can enjoy this app in different ways, with the very young simply swiping the pages looking at the different images and hearing the names of each animal or other subject narrated.
One can scroll though from A to Z while older children can use these animals or objects of interest to springboard their own research.
It is impressive how these apps have been improved from their earliest inception, now including Spanish as a language, with the included facts fully translated into both Spanish and English as well as the included narration.
A simple notation is also made naming the source of each tidbit of information - a nice touch that will aid older children in possibly doing their own research online.
Also new to these two new apps is how an adult will need to enable Spanish as a language choice for use in these apps, presumably so toddlers will not turn on the other language by mistake - which could be confusing to these young app users.
When installed, however, the switching back and forth between these languages is effortless - great for teaching both Spanish and English to older children as well as adults.
Also new is the ability to create multiple users' accounts so different children can explore this app at their own pace, as the words from the menu that have been opened will then be marked with a thumbnail image of these words as well as further label pages which include videos or interactions - fun discoveries each child can now make on his own, progress that can now be in sync between one’s iPad and iPhone.
I look forward to the new themes that may be included into this series. I greatly appreciate the consistent updates these apps have received, making them even more engaging with added content and other tweaks based on user feedback - something other developers should take note of.