Based on my observation, toddlers seem to harbor a natural attraction towards animals. I know that Eric's 3-year-old son, Philip, loves fish and enjoys looking at aquariums. My boyfriend's nephew, who also recently turned three, always gets excited when he sees a cat.
Feeding on this fascination with animals, many apps try to introduce our young ones to the wonderful world of animals. Today, I will be reviewing one of these apps - introducing Peek-a-Zoo Underwater, an interactive zoo app that features an underwater theme.
Let's play Peek-a-Zoo Underwater
Peek-a-Zoo Underwater showcases fifteen unique sea creatures that range from mammals to birds and fishes. The app is designed as a virtual zoo, where each animal is shown in individual scenes that juniors can interact with.
Imitating their real life counterparts, several animals in Peek-a-Zoo do not immediately come to view when selected. It is only by tapping the screen do you make the animals appear - just like in peek-a-boo. The app will then show the animal's name and a child voiceover will read it aloud. As you would expect from an interactive app, you can tap on the animals to see a short animation. Whimsical sound effects also add depth to your junior's overall experience. When you are ready to move on to the next animal, simply tap on the background and the app will transition to a new scene.
Navigating through the app is possible in two ways - Tour the Zoo or Meet the Animals. If you are only starting to using the app, it is recommended to select Tour the Zoo, where the app loops through all the available animals. Once finished, you can then opt to Meet the Animals, where you can jump straight to the scene with your junior's favorite critter.
What parents need to know
Peek-a-Zoo Underwater is a lovely animal app that features cute sea creatures to introduce to your juniors. It is designed primarily for toddlers and infants from 6 months to 3 years old, so interaction within the app is fairly simple. Single tap is the main gesture required to navigate through the content, with more complex ones such as double tap and slide with three finger used to access the app's settings.
Through the app's settings menu, you can change the level of interactivity offered by the app. By setting it to more, your juniors will have more opportunity to explore - at the end of each scene, they will be able to tap on the animal to reveal animations and sound effects. On the other hand, setting the interactivity level to less will enforce scenes to rotate faster - once an animal is revealed, tapping on the screen will cause the app to move on to the next scene. This is a great option for younger juniors, who may not yet be able to fully explore the app on their own.
What I liked about the app
As someone who constantly surrounds herself with technology, I am a believer that children should be introduced to digital learning from early age. Thus, I have great appreciation for Peek-a-Zoo Underwater, which has been created especially for younger juniors.
Designed by a mom-slash-web-developer, Peek-a-Zoo Underwater has beautiful, colorful graphics and whimsical sound effects that will appeal to both juniors and parents. Content-wise, the app does well by choosing a theme that is not as common but can still easily be picked up by juniors. There is a balanced choice of animals, with the inclusion of both the common (such as crabs) and the less more common (such as garden eels). I love the peek-a-boo format of animation - I think it invokes inquisitiveness in children and makes for a delightful surprise.
Last but not least, I also appreciate the simple interface, with no visible menu buttons to distract juniors as they play through the content. I also like how the app requires slightly advanced gestures to access the settings menu - it's a smart decision to prevent juniors from accidentally stumbling into it.
Peek-a-Zoo Underwater is a great animal/zoo app that features lovely graphics, cute sound effects and unique content. Designed with infants and toddlers in mind, the app is very simple to pick up. The peek-a-boo format excites juniors to interact with the app and creates a wonderful surprise when the animals come out of hiding. I highly recommend it to add to your list of toddler-friendly apps.
If you liked Peek-a-Zoo Underwater, you might also want to check out the other app in the series - the original Peek-a-Zoo, which features (mostly) land animals that we can find at the zoo.
Get Peek-a-Zoo Underwater on the App Store.