When introducing new vocabulary to young children, ideally you’d want to show them real items they can see, touch, or hear. However, it isn’t always possible to bring the outer world into the living room or classroom. A more practical alternative is to use flashcards.
Today, there are digital flashcards aplenty on the App Store. A recent one we discovered and greatly enjoyed is Peekabox-Forest. This app interactive combines traditional flashcards with fun features such as animation, mini games, and videos to engage kids in discovering 14 forest animals.
Explore the Forest with Cucú
At the start of the app, your child will meet Cucú, the app’s mascot and a forest explorer. Cucú is going to disguise himself as a forest animal to blend in with nature. Your child can help by choosing an animal outfit for him. She can also change his skin tone, eye, and hair color.
Once your child is happy with Cucú’s appearance, she can begin playing by pressing the big Play button. A unique aspect about Peekabox Forest is it allows kids to learn in 4 different modes: Go Explore, Animal Sounds, Play a Game, and Animal Videos. Grown-ups can switch the game mode anytime by tapping on the binoculars on top of the screen.
In Go Explore, your child can tap the animal icon to see real-life HD pictures of the animal, and hear its name and the sound it makes. Each animal has 6 or more pictures that depict it in various ways, single, plural, close-up, baby, or group. Many photos also show different species, for example, the ape group has gorilla, orangutan, and bonobo.
In Animal Sounds, your child can tap the animal icon to hear the sound it makes. All sounds have been professionally recorded and can be heard clearly and loudly.
The Play a Game mode turns the app into a simple quiz. Your child will be asked to identify an animal based on its name or sound (or both, depending the quiz mode you choose). It’s a great way to see how much they’ve learned and remembered.
The Animal Videos mode will play short, curated animal video clips (hosted on YouTube) to help your child learn what the animals are like in their natural habitat. This mode requires the device to be connected to the Internet, but to access it a grown-up must first unlock the parental gate.
In addition to 4 different game modes, Peekabox-Forest also host a number of customization options. For instance, the animal selection screen may be displayed in either themes: In the Spotlight and Nature Box. Nature Box is the default option, and it shows a natural background to complement the forest theme. On the contrary, In the Spotlight strips away the background graphics for a clean, distraction-free experience. This theme is great for kids who have difficulty with focus.
It is also possible to switch the animal icons to suit your child’s preference. You can choose from animated icons, realistic icons, and silhouettes. You can also shuffle the position of the animal icons to keep the game mode interesting.
Another unique feature is the weather wheel, which allows your child to change the weather condition in the app. For example, she can make it snow, rain, windy, foggy, or sunny. The weather wheel can be found at the bottom of the animal selection screen.
Parents Need to Know
Peekabox-Forest is suitable for babies and small children, as well as older children who love animals. The easy-to-use interface makes it easy for children and grown-ups alike to navigate the app and discover its features. It is also worth noting that the animals found in the app are not frequently found in similar apps.
One thing that parents should be aware of is that during the animal videos, it is possible to access YouTube from inside the app if the YouTube logo on the video is pressed. Thus, we would monitoring your child while she is watching these videos.
Other than that, there is nothing to be wary of. The app has no third-party advertising and no in-app purchases, and all external links have been placed behind a parental gate.
Things I Like
Flashcard apps can be overly simple, but Peekabox-Forest is rich in interactivity. Even the main screen hides fun surprises, for instance, tiny insects that fly away at your touch. Other small but thoughtful design decisions, such as the hidden info panel that shows the name and age of the animal in the photo, make the app a joy to use.
While in the app, I can’t help but appreciate the many customization options available in the app. You can really make the app your own by customizing details such as the font capitalization and background ambience. This feature makes the app useful for a wide range of audiences.
Rich in interactivity and loaded with clever features, Peekabox-Forest is an excellent app that keeps kids engaged in learning. Four unique game modes will provide hours of enjoyment as kids discover 14 real forest animals. An intuitive user interface makes the app ideal for small children, but older audiences will also find interest in the beautiful photo sets, fun trivia, and educational videos. Well worth a look if you want an educational animal app for kids.
Get it on the App Store: iPad
App was provided for our honest review.