What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Disneynature Explore is a free, interactive nature-education app. Some of this "augmented reality" app's activities are intended for kids to do outside with a parent and a mobile device; others can be done inside or outside. Through exploring the habitats and lives of five realistic, animated animals -- a bear, a butterfly, a chimpanzee, a lion, and a sea turtle -- kids learn about wildlife behavior and nature. Kids also practice skills such as finding specific colors in nature, matching simple patterns, and taking photos. Disneynature Explore includes a a Spanish-language option and a parent section for more ideas for learning about animals and ecosystems.
What kids can learn
- using and applying technology
Engagement, Approach, Support
Captivating, realistic visuals of the animals as well as the augmented-reality features create a genuinely engaging learning experience, especially for elementary school-age kids who will more easily be able to operate the mobile device and walk around with it while playing the alternate reality (AR) activities.
Kids discover facts about animals and their natural environments as they view the scenes, listen to the audio guide, take photos, and explore their own real-life environments with the AR activities.
Audio instructions and visual prompts guide kids through all of the choices and activity instructions. The parent page abounds with extension ideas for kids and parents to do together.
What's it about?
Tap Explore, Journal & Photos, or the kid-protected parent tab on the main screen. In Explore, choose an activity from the icons on the right and choose an animal from those on the left. Follow the audio instructions (for example, to take a photo or play a game) and view and listen to an explanation of the animal's related behavior. Earn pins and take photos that are stored in the journal and photos area. By playing DISNEYNATURE EXPLORE, kids and parents may be inspired to protect nature and learn more about wildlife.
Is it any good?
Disneynature Explore is a beautiful app with novel activities that nature lovers likely will find engaging and even realistic. It's easy for kids to choose an animal to view and an activity they want to play related to that animal.
The app's parent instructions highlight that kids will need help from parents to do some activities. For example, the augmented-reality tracking activity can run into problems if kids are playing in a small space or a space with a fence or other obstacles. Depending on sunlight, the screen can be difficult to see outdoors, and the brightness of the screen may need adjustment. Preschoolers may find the combination of holding a device upward (especially if it's an iPad), walking outdoors, and focusing on the instructions and visuals too much to coordinate and will need parent support. Parents could help minimize frustration by reading the instructions on the parent page beforehand. Disneynature Explore can be an incredibly fun, informative way for kids to learn real facts about nature and animal behavior.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the animals' behaviors and environments. Ask your kid how they're different from or similar to human behavior and homes. Bears get itchy backs, lions need to eat, chimps use tools; how do those behaviors relate to and differ from our own?
Talk about how your family can keep wild animals' environments healthy. For example, on this app the sea turtle's environment is affected by plastic bags. How can people reduce their use of plastic bags or make sure they don't end up in the ocean?
Use the parent section for further information on how to explore nature and learn about wildlife together.