Animal Planet Hide & Seek Pets is a lovely application young children can explore, as this app includes a variety of pet-centric activities.
This app opens up to a unique menu page, that of a hamster on a wheel which when tapped will spin and ultimately land on one of six mystery animals who are introduced by both simple word questions and related icons, such as a bone for a dog, bubble for a fish or yarn for a cat. Later children play a game of hide and seek to find the animal in question, be it with a flashlight to discover a turtle, tap to remove flower petals to uncover a rabbit or cut tall grass away to find a hidden dog.
Once the animal is discovered, children will be able to interact with photo realistic animals, moving them around the page, dedicated to each of these creatures such as a fish in a fishbowl, complete with classic underwater toys such as a castle, chest of gold and a vintage diving man.
I really appreciate how many fun facts are included, heard when triggering a hotspot and complete with highlighted narration - a very nice element that children and adults can learn a lot from.
On the bottom of the screen, children have access to some fun activities, such as a puzzle to complete, a tracing section and a hide and seek activity. Each of these sections has both “easy” and “hard” modes, and is thematically specific to the animal in question, be it about a bird, turtle or bunny.
Also included is a painting section with a large variety of pictures to choose from and brushes to use, including a paintbrush, chalk, crayon, spray paint and “paint bucket” mode where a section of the drawing is filled in with a single tap.
A music area complete with animal piano is included, as well as a section with re-sizable stickers that one can move around the screen and a learning section for parents that includes topics of conversation to share with their children.
I appreciate how this app is intuitive and thoughtfully designed, avoiding some of the pitfalls I have seen in other applications. Coloring pages are often included in other such apps such as this which can seem like an afterthought, but very nicely done within Animal Planet Hide & Seek Pets.
I love the choice of the soft, sheer coloring choices of the watercolor paintbrush and the chalk, as these colors can be layered and mixed together while coloring for a very nice effect, and I am also impressed by the simple decision to allow children to “erase all” with a “yes” or “no” instead of red or green “X” or check - signs that adults may understand but that can be confusing for children.
Also of note is that when coloring within a specific section of an image, one cannot color outside the border of this section - wonderful for children who hate the sloppy look of coloring with a finger because without this feature, staying within the lines of a picture can be frustrating and difficult.
An eraser as well as “go back” buttons are included, and it is also great that the colored-in pages are also saved within this app to be worked on further in the future, as well as giving children the option to save to the camera roll of their iPad.
I also really like that within the tracing section, when children trace either the first letter of the pet, both in upper and lower case letters or the entire word in the harder section, this app includes the direction children should trace as well as being quite sensitive to the movements of the finger creating the tracing. It will not accept random scribbling over the template - an issue I have with most over-tracing apps.
There is definitely a lot of content to keep children occupied, with a fun mix of realistic animals as well as bright and colorful illustrated spaces for them to occupy and explore.
Because of this, Animal Planet Hide & Seek Pets is an easy app to recommend for toddlers and young preschool children who love animals, coloring, and other activities.