Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab by Fat Red Couch Inc and in conjunction with Genius Brands is an adventure in finding out about the roots and origins of discovery. The app is based on a TV show from Genius Brands International. The show takes place in a secret lab where Edison experimented, built a hologram of himself, and a robot with a secret code. It is portrayed through the eyes of Angie and her friends, and she was the one to crack the secret code that allowed she and her friends access to the his magnificent lab. It is the virtual space where Edison invented, but also played too. And it’s now available for kids everywhere on both Desktops and apps for iOS and Android devices. In Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab, kids learn about past inventors, tinker with experiments, but most of all learn that Science is fun. To learn more about the show, visit the Secret Lab’s website here or find out more about Thomas Edison’s Innovation Foundation here. It can be viewed on Xfinity cable, Netflix, or PBS stations in the U.S. Kids that are allowed to flex their creative muscles are our future. Dreaming, playing, and creating, often leads to making the impossible possible; and it is a great way for little minds to simply see what happens when they do X. So let’s go in and play – I’ll hold the torch!
The app, Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab, opens to his virtual playground to help introduce and expose kids to the show. There are 5 areas to explore, and each is filled with activities and surprises. Tip: Some functions may need to be explored through a browser. The app provides notice, but it would be a nice feature if that somehow it could be turned off in the main settings panel. A getting started guide is located under Edison’s face, and can be accessed by all, giving early readers the chance to independently read and follow directions. This is important in that it empowers kids to initiate, and discover what to do without being prompted by adults. That empowerment is what gives rise to confidence – it’s that little train in all of us that says “I think I can.” Of course as in all apps for kids, I would strongly recommend giving them a whirl or two before handing them off, so that you can discuss activities later or be available to answer questions.
- The Secret Lab is a place to discover scientific equipment. Find off screen experiments (under the little light bulb tab), and build a robot as big as can be! The robot is a little bit different every time you play, which ups the replay value and interest in finding out more.
- In the Holo Center, meet the gang – from VonBolt, the group’s mascot and forever subject in the kids experiments to Thomas Edison himself.
- The Theatre holds video clips of the show’s Episodes and Music Videos. Hits such as Doughnut Zombies which is about vaccinations and Honeybees and Bumblebees and their roles in our ecosystem are catchy, as well as leaves the door open for some off screen “research and fun” for classes and families.
- The Library, which is my favorite place, presents inventors across time that have contributed to the health and welfare of others. Some are easy to spot, but others require some digging to find. Tip: They could be hiding anywhere – try the floor panels and sliding book panels! By tapping on an inventor, a screen pops up with a short bio of the inventor, their inventions, and quotes. When I was a kid, I loved those biographies for early readers. They were really beginning chapter books, and I devoured a number of them every week. Learning about the lives of others, indirectly teaches kids about intention, motivation, and that we are all empowered to make a difference.
- Last but not least is the Arcade. Where there are 4 different games to choose from: Kafloooey Ka-Splat, a fun matching problem solving game, much like a gross science Candy Crush – complete with sound effects that is a sure fire way to get kids squealing with laughter; Honeybee Spree, where as a gentle honeybee, kids search and find, specific flowers to pollinate; Von Bolt’s Circuit Switch, is a game where you arrange playing pieces to make circuits. The fourth game, Connect@Tron will be released in a future update. All the games have value for visual orientation, processing, and problem solving. In addition, they serve as a springboard for off screen fun and play.
Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab is a romp through the minds of past inventors. Play can serve as an idea generator for off screen experiments and fun. It shows Science is fun and models persistence and passion to learn and make the lives of others better. Highly Recommended and a Top Pick.
Jo Booth OTR/L has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals of Sepa, Montgomery County Division mainly focusing in Early Intervention. It is an APS (Approved Private School) and home outreach based setting. She has also worked in Adolescent and Adult Rehabilitation. Writing reviews for Teachers With Apps has been a tremendous opportunity and experience to share and learn with others.