Curious George at the Zoo

Curious George at the Zoo
iTunes

My kids love Curious George because they know him and his adventures from the TV. They actually visited the only Curious George shop last week, (right next to the Harvard University) and they were very excited to see all the books, toys and puzzles .under one roof. 

The graphics in the Curious George at the Zoo app is astonishing and looks high quality, as would be expected. The main menu has several “worlds” but only has one to choose from because only the Zoo is open for exploration from the beginning, with each world costing 0.99 after purchase. On a personal note: I would rather pay $4 for the app initially and not have to deal with in-app purchases later on. The kids did try to go into the un-purchased areas and that put me in an awkward position, where I had to let them down or cave in (lose/lose situation for me).

The Curious George at the Zoo app basically tells a story about George’s interactive adventures in the zoo/outback/farm/north pole. George gets to wake up the animals, wash, and feed them. If the toddler is successful in the wash/feed mission, he/she is awarded a sticker for the sticker page. There is also an informational video of each animal.

The usability is not linear and therefore, quite challenging for toddlers to negotiate. For example, finishing with one animal wouldn’t lead the kids to the next mission but instead prompts the child to choose if he wants to go to the main screen, to the sticker page or maybe to randomly choose another animal. In my experience, the way to do a toddler friendly linear navigation is basically to lead the kid forward to the next mission, without letting him get into multi-choice interactions, which younger children have trouble understanding. Some good examples can be found in the TOCA Train app and the Fish School app.

What happened when the kids used it?

The kids loved meeting their “old friend” George. However, when introduced to the main screen, they almost immediately tried to enter a “world” that required an additional in-app purchase. Kids younger than 3 years old needed some over the shoulder help during the first use of the app and the 3.5 year old kids had easier time washing the animals and dealing with the stickers. However, none of the toddlers managed to operate the camera or save correctly. Therefore, it may be that this feature is redundant.

Although this app had a lot of challenges for toddlers, I observed that it is still popular with the kids and they tend to open it when they use the iPad.

In conclusion, I’m not sure this is one of the best iPad apps for toddlers, but it is popular with the kids, even the young ones. I guess they like spending time with George, even if he gives them a hard time. It’s just this kind of relationship. BTA Score: 4/5

App Details:

This app received the "Top 10 App for Toddlers" Award

Ages: 3 – 5 (2½ with Parental guidance)
Price: $0.99 + $0.99 per additional area (in app purchase)
App name: Curious George at the Zoo for iPad / iPhone
Released by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Platform: iPad / iPhone

Download (iPad):
Download app from iTunes

Download (iPhone):
Download app from iTunes



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