WhooHoo! Who’s………Hungry? Well, The Very Hungry Caterpillar in StoryToy’s new app is very hungry. Based on Eric Carle’s beloved books “The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, and Mr. Seahorse amongst others,” preschoolers try and win badges whilst completing an assortment of early learning tasks. Filled with Eric Carle’s illustrations and references to his books, select and choose activities to accomplish different goals and objectives through 3D interactive activities and games. Skills of matching, sorting, puzzles, colors and counting, are all portrayed using animations based on the original glorious artwork of Eric Carle.
The developers have really used the integrity of the original books and integrated concepts of listening and comprehension as well as skills of waiting and following through with multistep direction to successfully complete a task, which gives this app a full array of skills to be used and practiced. I love how each section brings in new ideas and concepts about our natural world. Within each section or chapter, there is an introductory story page with interesting facts that can be explored and developed further for off screen play. For example in the first chapter, StoryToy has given a brief history of the metamorphosis of a butterfly and geared to a preschooler’s comprehension. The following activity has you then directing the caterpillar into making healthy choices for eating. Wow, there are so many things in this one chapter alone to explore for off screen learning, play, and fun. Topics such as healthy eating, how caterpillars grow and change like we do, as well as activities of watching butterflies hatch or making butterflies out of tissue paper are a few of the possibilities for extended play. There are eight chapters within the app and it covers a great deal of material for preschoolers.
One of the exceptional things about playing the games, and earning badges, is that there is no negativity associated from giving a wrong answer or not earning a badge. The badges are intended as reinforcers, but if you don’t earn one, you just carry on and can choose to play again or go to the next chapter. Most of the kids, who played this app with me, enjoyed it for the intrinsic fun of the activities themselves and the story pages rather than even attending to whether or not they earned a badge.
Optional settings of Read it to Me, Read it Myself or Autoplay are placed on top in a banner along with the ability to turn off/on the music. Choices for 5 different languages and the Parents Section are also at the top. The Parent’s Section is tucked under a rotating swipe pattern, and is different every time you access it. Within it are links to social media, and options to turn off messages, store links and links to additional apps. The story pages and activities are tied into the books, so a trip to the library or familiarity with the books and their characters is beneficial. I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to see characters you know, come to life and want to play. This app will have a long shelf life for any family, teacher or clinician.
- Can easily be incorporated into any early learning curriculum
- Reinforces basic preschool activities such as learning colors, counting, spatial orientation (puzzles), matching and sorting
- Promotes early cognitive skills of learning to listen, wait, and follow directions
- Familiar characters help provide support to young children when trying to learn new and challenging concepts
- Opportunities to extend play for off screen exploration and fun
About the Author
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years, and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play everyday; so that “her kids” grow up to be healthy independent learners.