We can not get enough of watching 4-year-olds, iPads in-hand, take on the role of firefighter, race car driver, a submarine captain or helicopter pilot with Happi Full Throttle. Some of the conversations that emerge sound like:
• “Get the cat with the water! It’s on fire!” – Using the Firetruck’s water feature.
• “You drive the race car and I will follow you with the helicopter” – Kids playing together, one with a toy race car the other using the helicopter.
• “Dad! I can see you.” – followed by much laughter as our little one discovered the periscope on the submarine.
Happi Full Throttle is very simple to use. Choose a vehicle and start playing. There are dynamic buttons on the screen that give kids access to the unique tools on each vehicle. While playing, kids are looking through the iPad, as the camera projects the image of whatever is in front of them on the screen. Very nice feature for safety reasons!
So where is the learning? I know you are thinking it. Especially because all of the apps we review are considered educational.
For young children, role-play is an activity that helps them develop language, vocabulary, flexibility of mind and social skills (to just name a few).
• As kids take on the role of firefighter, they are playing with the language of that role and starting on the road to developing empathy.
• When they pretend that the cat is on fire or that the couch is an apartment building, kids are creating symbolic relationships.
• The app is perfect for multiple kids to use together with the large screen of the iPad. You’ll notice how sharing and communication gets worked out in the shared experience.
Activity 1: Find the Origin
What You’ll Need:
• U.S. Map.
• Sticky notes.
Your kitchen can be an adventure in Geography. In my kitchen I can always find detergent made in Ohio, apples from Maryland, vinegar from California, olive oil from Italy and so on. You can find virtually everything (clothes, furniture, food) that enters your home with some mark telling you its origin.
Start looking at labels when you make purchases. Get a map of the US and see how long it will take you to find items in your home from each of the 50 states. For older children add continents/countries for more challenge. Ask questions to get your child thinking about the map and how people in each place play a role in making the objects in your home.
• What countries have not been labeled yet?
• Do some countries specialize in food or electronics?
• Do some states export many different things?
As you cover the map with sticky notes you may see your child developing an interest in one particular state or country. This is your chance to broaden background knowledge. Your child will realize that your town is connected to the lives of people all over the world.
Activity 2: Going on a Bear Hunt
Our family loves singing the song We’re Going on a Bear Hunt while in the car or playing in the living room. Here are some of the fun we are having with this fantastic song that I remember singing back when I was a Kindergartener.
After singing the song with our kids for a while, we found this beautiful book that illustrates the story. The kids love reading the repetitive text, including staring in the role of the “Oh, no!” readers.
Then join the Author, Michael Rosen, in acting out the story song in this YouTube video: