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This post is sponsored by Playing Forward but all opinions are my own.
It’s bedtime and your little one wants you to read the same bedtime book for the 5th time tonight. You know the one. You’ve read it a thousand times and though your little one loves it, you just can’t read it one more time. Right? Or, you are reading a bedtime story to your munchkin and they just can’t sit still and wind down. We’ve all been there and it can be so frustrating at the end of a long day – but there is a solution! It’s called Lizzy’s World.
Lizzy’s World is one of Playing Forward’s three new story apps designed for preschoolers! These apps combine AR (Augmented Reality) with research in social-emotional learning, and special effect experience to bring stories to life in a way that teaches while entertaining children.
If you’re not familiar with AR, it’s a simple yet powerful technology. You may even have AR stickers on your smartphone already. Basically, using your phone’s camera and other hocus pocus, AR technology will make moving digital objects seem to exist in reality while while you look “through” your digital device (like a phone).
So what is Lizzy’s World?
Lizzy’s World is one of three stories created by Playing Forward. In this story, you and your child will follow Lizzy on her first day of school. The story begins with Lizzy not wanting to get out of bed, picking out her dress and getting on a school bus. But then as the story progresses, your little one will accompany Lizzy as she discovered her love of math, science, reading, and art!
Throughout the story, your kid will be learning. For example, your kid will get a chance to explore and witness different ways of expressing emotions along with Lizzy.
How Does Lizzy’s World Work?
First, you will want to visit either your Google Play Store or Apple iTunes. Once you have installed the app. get your kid and find a cozy place to experience the app together. Your cozy spot should be near a flat surface if you’d like to use the AR tech.
Once you open the app, you’ll find yourself in what looks like a giant library like this:
From here, you tap on Lizzy and you will then find yourself in her bedroom as her alarm clock begins to sound.
From this point on, you and your child can experience Lizzy’s World in two ways. Either in a bedtime “story” mode which looks like a standard app, or in the augmented reality mode. To switch between the two modes, you click on the book icon or cell phone/table icon on the far right (depending on which mode you are already in).
We think that the AR mode is the most fun by far! Setting it up takes just a second but you do need to know what to look for.
To get the AR mode started, click on the phone icon on the right and then point your phone to a flat surface. Then move the phone around until you see the butterfly. Once you see it, move your phone in much smaller movements until you line the butterfly up with where you want Lizzy and the story objects to go. If you don’t pay attention, you could end up with them on a wall! If this happens, it’s easy to fix. Just tap the butterfly icon on the left and line it up again. Once you have the butterfly where you want it, just tap the butterfly to set it.
Once you pick your mode, you will need to decide how to “read” the Lizzy’s World story. Here are your options:
- You can read the text aloud to your kid
- You or your kid can tap on the individual words to have them read aloud
- You or your kid can tap on the person icon on the right to have the whole line read aloud
I love option #2 best! As your kid learns to read, they can try to read the story to themselves and get a bit of “help” along the way as needed!
What’s the big deal?
Everything around us has been evolving and technology has changed our world so drastically. One of the things that hasn’t changed until now is children’s books. Sure, many of us have ebooks, but those just aren’t engaging for children.
Luckily, the men and women behind Playing Forward have tackled this for us! They have found a way to transform children’s books in a way that makes them more engaging, more educational, and that encourages the imagination. In doing so, children using their technology, like the Lizzy’s World app, can focus and wind down better at the end of the day and YOU won’t have to read the same exact book 100 times over! **Queue happy dance!**
They aren’t just a company of “idea guys” either. Playing Forward was founded by, and employs, experts in their field. Award-winning special effects gurus, AR technologists, and children’s education experts and Ph.D.’s all took part in its development. Then they tested the apps with over 300 kids in 18 classrooms across the United States and Canada. All to make sure that the apps achieve their goal of supporting social-emotional intelligence through engaging storytelling!
Lizzy’s World – My Verdict?
The first time we used the Lizzy’s World app we spent about an hour just playing with the AR technology. It was fascinating to my 4 year old who had never seen anything like that before! (Anything that gets my kids asking questions about how technology works gets a point from me – so points there!)
Then we began to read the story together and he loved being able to press the words along the way or decide where Lizzy would stand. It was thoroughly engaging.
So in short – I love it! My kids are so excited to see Lizzy and her school appear in their room. They love that they can read it alone or with me. And I love that they can get their screen-time “fix” without playing or watching something mindless!
Head over to their website by clicking here to learn even more about these apps and try it out for yourself! Then comment below to let me know what you think!