Camping with Grandpa by Fairlady Media is a perfectly timed app for the season. It will get kids excited about getting outdoors and learning about the natural world by giving kids a taste in planning and participating in a camping trip. This has been a HUGE hit with the preschool set and had more than a few adults waxing nostalgic over trips from long ago. It seems everyone has something to say about it, and the app brings out a bit of the natural explorer in everyone, young or old. What we’ve come to love about this series are the opportunities for child-driven learning as well as how easy it is to segue into either small teaching moments or going all out for setting up a project based learning experience in the classroom. Kid’s love being in the know, and learning how the world works. So get that GPS a workin’ and let’s take a look inside.
There are 4 trails to discover with 7 games and additional features along each trail. Uncovering all the items on the trails may help you earn a badge!
Bird Bush Trail – find a variety of birds
Tree Grove Trail – identify trees
Butterfly Meadow Walk – learn about the different kinds of butterflies but watch out for that really big one!
Flower Valley Trail – explore natural flowers along a trail
On each trial the following games or activities are presented:
After Selecting Trail, Read a Compass is presented with an introduction to cardinal directions.
Hiking Gear – using critical judgment, plan out what you will need on a hiking trip. It really amazed and pleased me how many kids answered this series of questions correctly.
Animal Foods helps identify how to nourish animals. Whether it's fish for the eagles or flowers for the bees, it introduces all on how to identify our food sources and what are healthy choices for everyone.
Animal Tracks is an uncovering of footprints. Trying to match the hidden clues with the animal that makes it can be kind of tricky. Do you think the animal is big or small? Whoops, someone took a bite of the fish…now what animal friend would do that?
Tent Shadows teaches little ones to open their eyes and notice details before matching shadows. A perfect game for pre-reading and learning basic decoding skills.
Word Find is the classic Word Scramble game. There is the choice to have hints on or off depending on a child’s ability to filter out words amongst a cluttered background. The clues are subtle but give kids an early taste of success when used.
Fun additions of cooking campfire treat - hot dog roasts and making s’mores make the app cozy and fun. But don’t forget to douse the fire after sharing stories! Added touches such as these set up safety routines as a habit, and are invaluable messages to kids. Only Grandpa (an adult) makes the fire, and then all help put it out before choosing a comfy stuffed animal to snuggle down into our sleeping bags for some rest.
Additionally, Grandpa reinforces being out of doors, and all the things to keep us safe and alert through videos.
The parental gate allows teachers or parents to customize the level of play in accordance with a child’s capabilities. This way, learning can be scaffolded by gently rolling out challenges to keep the game fresh and fun. One great feature under a child’s control is the ability to turn the music on/off independently. This helps kids stay in control of the sensory input they receive so that attention can be maintained. It also gives parents and teachers room to fully integrate the material across domains before proceeding forward. For example, on opening, by choosing your trail one can find out more about the cardinal directions and the use of a compass. After playing, wouldn’t it be great to set up Geo caches around the classroom, school, or playground by using a compass? “Three steps North than proceed East for a bit of a feast.” These hands-on early learning with topographical orientation will benefit kids for a lifetime and help them not be so prompt dependent. By starting on an app, kids are able to generalize outward and then can directly apply the material where needed because the sequence is already set and familiar.
I adore the Grandma/Grandpa series from Fairlady Media. There are so many opportunities for learning that extend beyond the screen. They help spark the imagination and natural curiosity about the world as well as help kids gain competencies and confidence about learning something new. Camping with Grandpa is a TWA top pic and is highly recommended.
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 every day; so that “her kids” grow up to be healthy independent learners.