Big Bird's Words...A Sesame Street App
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Big Bird's Words uses the device's camera and augmented reality to help kids identify words in their environments. It's developed specifically for phones, but it can work on tablets, too. To play, kids will need access to several food packages or items with labels so they can find the words and scan them with the camera. The app includes a free download of word labels that parents can print if they don't have access to the foods labeled.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- letter or word recognition
Thinking & Reasoning
- thinking critically
- academic development
- using and applying technology
Health & Fitness
- balanced diet
Engagement, Approach, Support
Big Bird's Words is an impressive use of augmented-reality technology that will fascinate kids. They'll have fun on their search and will be excited when they recognize words.
Sesame Street quality runs through and through. Kids learn vocabulary and word recognition with some phonics thrown in. They're also getting positive messages about whole foods as they search for fruits, vegetables, eggs, and oatmeal.
Big Bird guides kids with help and hints as they play, but kids are likely to need some help with finding words or scanning them. Only one word pack is available, so kids will have to replay the same words.
What's it about?
Play starts in a market where kids play an "I spy" game wherein Big Bird describes a food and kids have to tap the food in the on-screen market. That item is then added to the grocery list. From that list, kids choose a word to drag into the Word-o-Scope. They then have to find that word in their environments (the pantry, the store, a recipe, any piece of print). Kids line up the word in the camera, and the Word-o-Scope, impressively, recognizes it. Then a collage of related words appears, and kids can tap each word to learn more about it.
Is it any good?
The technology of the Word-o-Scope is impressive, and it works really well. In-app tips encourage kids to lay the item to be scanned on a flat surface and to find words that are printed straight, rather than on a curve. The hardest part is finding the words on the labels. "Vainilla" in Spanish won't cut it for "vanilla," and apparently not all cartons of eggs actually have the word "egg" on them. That tiny inconvenience just encourages kids to look at labels more closely. Parents will probably have to help occasionally, offering a steady hand or help finding the word, and this is more developmentally appropriate for early readers than the youngest Big Bird fans.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about grocery shopping and meal preparation, explaining the ingredients they're using or items they're shopping for.
Play word games while shopping or driving, pointing out words at first and then, as kids get more comfortable, asking them to find certain words.