It's probably going to take me another year or two before I could take my juniors to the nearest Disneyland. I need to wait until my one-year-old Noah is big enough to enjoy the rides. In the mean time, I think this little app from Disney Parks might be able to let them taste a bit of the fun.
it's a small, small world
Entitled ‘it's a small world’, this musical app tries to mimic the fun experience of riding the famous boat ride of the same name in various Disney Parks around the world. But instead of a boat, you ride in a hot-air balloon instead.
From the Eiffel Tower to the Great Wall of China, the app takes you around the world. You will travel across various terrains: mountains, plains, deserts, and even the Arctic. You will also meet a wide range of animals, like duck, turtle, panda, and dragon.
Organized into 13 pages, each page highlights one line from the song It's a Small World. To learn more about what the app sounds and looks like, I invite you to take a look at the following gameplay video from the developers:
Parents Need to Know
Throughout ‘it's a small world’ app, you will find many children dressed up in traditional clothes from different cultures. This is aligned with the main idea of the app, which is to give juniors a glimpse of the world. With your guidance, I'm sure that juniors can learn about the differences and similarities that children in different cultures have.
Near the end of the story, there is a special page where you can meet with 18 children from different parts of the world. Tapping on each of them would trigger them to say “hello” in their respective native languages.
You can also interact with the characters, animals, and the surrounding objects on each page. Even though this app is attractive to juniors as young as two-year-olds, I believe your juniors would need to be much older to really understand the motivation behind the app.
Things I Like
I really like how the app stays true to its identity. Featuring one of the most translated songs in the world, the app dedicates a special sing-along section where you can hear and sing the song in many different languages, including English and Korean.
The app smoothly switches from one version to the next, starting from English. There is also a subtitle to help you sing along. The song is very catchy and always excites my sons whenever I airplay-mirror it to my Apple TV.
The app has a unique navigation where you can swipe to quickly move to the next page or simply wait for the app to do it for you. With this feature, the app can move from start to end without requiring much interaction.
This means that if you do not set auto-lock on your device, the app can play continuously. I personally haven't seen this optional navigation implemented in many other apps, but I really like it.
Finally, as a parent, I really like how the main menu is designed as a globe. You can swipe to any direction to turn the globe around, shifting focus to any one destination on the app. This way, it is easier for you to jump to any page, and for your juniors to learn about the spheroid shape of our earth.
Overall, I find ‘it's a small world’ to be a cohesive app that has been well thought out and well implemented. The app has many excellent design decisions, like using a hot-air balloon to travel around the world and a menu shaped like a globe.
Regardless whether you are planning to take your juniors to visit the Disney Parks or not, I believe this is a worthy app to have as it shows beautifully the many differences and similarities among the different cultures around the world. Each time I find an app that triggers the curiosity of my juniors, I know that it's a gem that should be shared with other parents.
App was provided for our honest review.