Jim Henson's Chatter Zoo is an interactive experience that makes your toddler the caregiver for his or her own little friends. Let your child play, feed, bathe, and put to bed their own babies with this interactive app.
Developer Mindshapes has partnered with Jim Henson Studios to bring Jim Henson's Chatter Zoo to your child's fingertips. Children become caregivers as they interact with four cute little animals in four different activities. Join a baby panda, elephant, wallaby, and cheetah as they do various daily activities familiar to all young children.
This app is geared toward the youngest of players. Children choose which of four different activities to do with the characters: play, eat, bathe, and sleep. In the Play activity, users join Pip the wallaby and Bailey the elephant in a storybook like activity. The book is narrated and on each page, the thing the user is supposed to touch flashes. The story is linear with each interaction clearly marked and timed. The same is true for the Sleep activity, where children put Franny the cheetah and Lulu the panda to bed.
In the meal time activity, users feed Bailey and Pip items from a refrigerator full of food. Drag items from the fridge to the animal. Don't pick foods they won't like! In the bath time activity, players bathe Franny and Lulu using the correct steps. Get the baby wet, soap them up, rinse them off, and dry them.
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This app does a nice job of bringing the daily routine of young children to life and reversing the roles for kids. Children learn and play by participating in activities familiar to them. We liked the bath time activity the best as it allowed the most free play and had children using ordering skills to bathe the babies in step-by-step fashion. The meal time section was also more interactive than play time or bed time.
While these storybook like activities were fine, they were very linear and didn't allow for any exploration or freedom. The babies and graphics on the meal time and bath time sections were also more three dimensional than in the other sections and appealed to my son more.
Overall, Jim Henson's Chatter Zoo is a nice app for the very youngest iDevice users. The linear storybooks provide prompting to guide interactions and the sections for free play are based on the common activities of children.
Jim Henson's Chatter Zoo is avaibale via the iTunes App Store - iOS Universal
RRP - $1.99/£1.49/€1.79
Note to Parents: The developer information, email, and links to social media are found in the Settings. This is only accessible by reading the message to hold the button for 5 seconds to unlock this section.
This app was reviewed by Sarah Emerling, a mom, teacher, and technology coach. She admits to trying to feed the baby animals lemons in the meal time section, just to see what they would do. You can follow her ed. tech. blog at The iLesson Lady.
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Disclosure: This review was move up the waiting list priority-services. All opinions expressed are purely that of the author.