Apps : Young Kids & Mobile Apps

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Although I don't quite agree with kids under 12 to be engaged with game consoles and other devices, I am very much interested in how kids interact with those devices.

I got curious over how their brain processes it, how they familiarize certain patterns and steps, how they explore it. The fact that they can interact with those games even though they can't read, always fascinates me. 

Good mobile applications for kids don't even need instructions to explain the flow, because most kids don't read at a very young age and it is hard for them to focus on reading when they are too excited to play the game right away. *I remember skipping the conversation parts between players when I played Pokemon Red - teenage years. I bet that goes to everyone else too, except for curious-avid reader I suppose. 

I don't have a chance to be around young kids that much, so I suppose my finding's accuracy will be highly downgraded. At the lab, I usually watch Fayyadh explores my iPhone. I watch him trying games after games to meet his interest. Most of game apps are strategy or puzzle based so they are not quite suitable for a 5 year old. 

This writing is based on one of the good application I found interesting enough for young kids : Toca Doctor by TocaBoca & my humble observation. What I have in mind is a simple set of mini games to be completed that kids can relate to. I bought the app just because I was curious on how the full version will be, and how different each mini games will be - there is a lite version you can try, just type in "Toca Doctor Lite".

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Mobile Applications for Young Kids :

1. Interface.
Kids are attracted to simple, colourful interface.  I love the simplicity of it. It kind of reminds me of activity books I used to have when I was very young, back when there is no such thing as mobile application of course. 



2. Mini games
Kids are easily distracted, so a set of mini games might help them focus on each small task. In Toca Doctor, a player is required to examine a patient and solve simple fun puzzle. I played the whole set, it was super easy for me, but quite engaging. There are 21mini games to be completed.
eg : Broken bones need to be connected and bandaged or brush your teeth to kill the germs, clean up  wound and put a plaster and those simple stuffs. 

3. No instructions
The game is straight forward and simple. They point to each point that need to be inspected, and kids can solve it right away. I didn't even need to explain anything to him. 

4. Relate to real life
In this game, they ask you to be a doctor. In another game by tocaboca, called Toca House that let the player help 5 friends do chores at home : cleaning up, doing dishes, ironing, mowing the lawn in 19 mini games. It's easier for them to understand simple tasks when they can relate to it and much easier for us to explain.
eg : Why we need to clean the wound?
Because we need to avoid infection. 


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Ps :
Parents need to be aware of the type of games they let children play. Children are a bit like white canvas, parents are the artist with paints and brushes in their hand.

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It's amazing how technology is taking over the world.

I work as a conceptual designer for mobile application and during my free time, I explore the beautiful wonder of arts in current digital medium mainly in tablets and smart phones. One of my favorite topic is children's application. I'll share my finding here from time to time. Enjoy the geeky side of me ! :D - azreenchan


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