When it comes to relaxing and unwinding after school, both of my boys love spending an hour or so playing video games. And while I don’t mind that, I do prefer that they do something to enrich their minds if possible…as long as they’re still having fun, that is! So when I learned about Safari Tales, an iOS, Android and Amazon app from Kuato Studios that combines engaging gameplay with literacy skills, I couldn’t wait to see what it was like.
The fact that this game, created by the same developers as the award-winning Dino Tales app, featured baby animals was something I especially loved. My youngest son adores animals, so a game that let him play and interact with a baby lion, elephant or giraffe was something that I knew he would enjoy. I downloaded the app on my iPad, entered Benjamin’s name and reading age and let my son sit down to play.
The basic gameplay involves moving a baby safari animal to find different stickers or complete different missions. From playing music with the Jungle Beat Band to discovering the cracked rocks with stickers inside to feeding an animal with the correct food, there is plenty of interaction in this game. And kids are learning as they play thanks to Darwin, a talking meerkat that answers a child’s questions with fun animal facts!
The exploration can be ended at any time by pressing the home button, at which point kids can read a story about their animal’s adventures. I love the page-turning storybook style that’s used to recount the story of the baby animal’s day because it encourages parents to sit down and read with their child as well. And for added fun, the stories feature orange words that, when tapped, can be swapped out for similar words so that kids can put their own personal touch on the tale!
Benjamin loved exploring with his animal and especially liked giving his hungry friends food and water when needed. Asking Darwin what the various animals ate helped Benjamin to direct the animal to the appropriate food. And he was always so proud of the fact that he took care of his pet! Kids can also prompt their animal to perform tricks or change their animal’s colour and pattern in the art manager.
Personally, what I loved most was the readable story that ended each play session, because Benjamin and I could read it together either right after he finished playing or before bed. And because he had the added entertainment of choosing some of the words in the story, he was even more interested in reading with me than usual!
For just four dollars, this game is a great way of combining fun and learning for school-aged children. I like that playing helps strengthen reading skills in addition to letting kids learn so much about animals. And my son loves the open-world style of gameplay that lets him explore as much or as little as he likes with his animal friend. Get the app for your iOS or Android device and introduce your children to five new animals friends eager to help them learn!