Bring the beloved work of Eric Carle to life with this beautiful app! The pop-up storybook includes different games for preschoolers, combined with nonfiction information about the animals found in the books. The free version lets you try out the different features before you commit to buying the whole app.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends – Play and Explore Free
Ages: 4+ (made for ages 5 and under)
Requires: iOS 6.0 or later or Android 2.3.3 and up
Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android
This app transforms the wonderful illustrations of Eric Carle into a series of interactive games that practice important early literacy skills like counting, sorting, and reading. You’ll find characters from The Very Hunger Caterpillar; Mister Seahorse; The Very Quiet Cricket; Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?; The Mixed-Up Chameleon; and 10 Little Rubber Ducks. A limited number of games and challenges are available in the free preview, and you can choose to unlock the entire app at once ($4.99) or in sections. The games are a good balance between simple concepts for young learners and more challenging activities appropriate for older children as well.
The storybook (center screen) provides access to the majority of the games. When you tap the book, a screen with basic facts about the animal featured in that game is displayed, providing a great learning opportunity. After that, turn the page to access the game. Two games are included in the preview: guiding the caterpillar through a series of healthy eating choices and matching animals based on named characteristics like color or physical attributes. As you complete each game, you receive colored stars to help you win badges. The stars icon on the home page lets you track your progress in earning badges as well. If your child ever wants to restart the process, the trash can at the top of the screen will delete all earned badges and reset your progress. Each badge includes a description of what activity you must complete to earn it.
Next to the book are a series of icons that link to additional activities. The stickers icon lets you add stickers to a blank page to create your own pop-up book. You can choose from five sets of stickers, which feature various Eric Carle characters. When you hit the play icon at the top of the screen, your storybook will animate. To continue creating, simply touch the pencil to return to editing mode. You can also take a picture of your completed artwork. The flower icon opens a spot the difference game. Each page includes side-by-side layouts, and your child is challenged to spot the differences between the two pages. A series of check boxes at the bottom of the screen lets you know when you’ve found everything. The pages are interactive models, so you can tilt them to view from different angles if you are having a hard time finding the differences. Three games are included in the preview. The puzzle icon lets you put together puzzles based on the artwork from the books. Each puzzle can be completed at four difficulty levels: easy (6 pieces), medium (12 pieces), hard (20 pieces), and expert (30 pieces). Three puzzles are included in the preview.
The app includes a variety of parent settings to help you control your child’s experience. These icons appear across the top of the home screen. The book lets you choose read to me, read it myself, or autoplay options, while the music note lets you turn the music on or off. The globe icon lets you choose from five languages, and the people icon directs you to parental settings. These include information about the activities, the store to purchase additional activities, settings for messages and accessibility, and copyright information. The app does include links to other apps by the same developer.
This app does a great job of combining fun and education. The storybook activities include nonfiction information to introduce concepts, but the games also include built-in lessons like healthy eating. You can use guided discussions to help younger users reinforce these lessons while you play. For the games, the instructions are easy and game play intuitive.
Ready to take the fun off your screen? Why not visit the library to explore more of the animals you’ve learned about. If your little one is interested in a particular character, try looking for nonfiction books that will help you learn more. If your child loves the illustrations, consider checking out some of Eric Carle’s books highlighted in the app, or even discover new favorites. While you read, talk about the characters you recognize. If you’re ready to explore your community, check out the Explore Plano summer challenges and sign up for summer reading at any Plano Library. For more app recommendations and examples, be sure to join us for App Time on Wednesday mornings at 11:15 AM at Davis Library. For more upcoming programs, check out our summer Engage brochure, available for pickup in any library. Happy playing!