This post is sponsored by Dumb Ways JR and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.
We are in the final countdown and school will be out come Thursday. That means I have about 3 days to come up with a plan for the summer. On my agenda? Keep them learning. Keep them entertained. Keep them from driving each other crazy.
I am not going into this with lofty goals. I know there will be a lot of video games being played and time spent on devices. But it’s how they spend that time that will be different. I have been on the hunt for educational games and apps that will “trick” them into learning.
Our current favorite? Dumb Ways JR Boffo’s Breakfast and Loopy’s Train Set. Back in 2012, the original, highly popular Dumb Ways to Die campaign began as a PSA encouraging safe behavior around trains, train stations/platforms and at level crossings. Delivered in an entertaining way, it effectively communicated the message that it’s dumb to take risks that can have serious consequences – especially around trains. And the message is getting through. But the graphics were a bit too gory for a younger audience.
Here’s where Dumb Ways JR comes in. Learned behaviors start young, so Dumb Ways JR aims to introduce safety messages in an educational, age-appropriate way for a new and younger audience – 3- to 7-year- olds.
There’s no blood and no dying, but just as much fun, and still with safety education.
To kick off the launch of Dumb Ways JR, I had the honor of hearing from the creators themselves. I learned there are key elements that guided the design of the Dumb Ways JR apps:
Child-centered design provides opportunities for children to:
- Create or explore different outcomes on different uses of an app
- “Own” their play – they feel they’re directing the game play
- Experience playful explorations and problem solving
Multi-sensory and multi-modal elements appeal to a range of senses, allowing for gesture, audio, images and animations.
The apps provide an appropriate level of challenge so that children develop a sense of mastery, create their own narratives and games using the provided elements, and perform constructing and deconstructing tasks (e.g., combining ingredients to create a meal).
They also aim to appeal to children’s sense of humor (both anticipated and unexpected) with engaging characters.
So what do the kids think? Check out Ben playing his new favorite apps!
About Dumb Ways JR Boffo’s Breakfast
In Boffo’s Breakfast, Boffo (the younger version of one of the characters in the original Dumb Ways to Die video) is hungry, and the child playing with the app is his personal chef. Children make him an awesome cooked breakfast by chopping and grating ingredients. They can also add sloppy items such as eggs and milk, stir the mixture, cook it, add seasonings, and serve their meal to Boffo. Players are encouraged to experiment with how many different creations they can make for Boffo.
About Dumb Ways JR Loopy’s Train Set
In Loopy’s Train Set, players can select from two modes of play: Drive or Build. In Drive mode, children interact by using onscreen controls to drive Loopy’s train around a prebuilt track. The design encourages children to create their own narratives as they assist passengers to board and exit the train as well as select the train speed and more points to alter the route.
The Dumb Ways JR Boffo’s Breakfast app is available for download from the App Store (iPhone) and Google Play (Android). The Dumb Ways JR Loopy’s Train Set app is available for download from App Store (iPhone) and Google Play (Android).