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$2.99 at time of review
Video Review:

Safari Tales – literacy skills through creative play

Age Level: Ages 5-8, Ages 8-12
By Developer: Kuato Games

Safari Tales brings Africa right to your iOS device for a one of a kind learning experience. It's not just a game, but a venture into a greater understanding of jungle animals all the while building literacy. That being said, I have to start out by saying that this app is gorgeous, the 3D graphics and interface are outstanding and I just love the soundtrack.

The app provides for several animals that you take on a journey in order to complete specific tasks. Along the way you can unlock other animals and earn stickers and awards, such as fossils and gems. This also allows you to open a page which gives you tidbits of information on them.

During each adventure a storybook is created, which is available at the end of the task (or accessible any time from the home page). On each page of the storybook there are specific, highlighted, verbs and adjectives, that can be changed to another word by tapping it and selecting other choices. So, instead of your story saying, “she hunted for something to eat”, you can change the word hunted to: begged, dug, searched, or scavenged. The whole point in having this option is to encourage improvement in reading, writing and vocabulary, not to mention overall literacy. Note that when engaged in a task, you can stop the game at any point and your actions will be saved up to that point, all in storybook form. Exiting out early simply takes your animal to bed and ends the story from that point.

You will find a picture of a meerkat on the lower right corner of the game. Tapping on this allows you to ask him questions via a question builder. You build your questions with a word wheel, made up of 6 different sections. The first wheel selections are: Who, Where, When, Why, Which, How and What type questions. When one of these is selected you then go to the next wheel, which allows for grammatically correct choices for your next word. So, if you chose “What”, you would be given words to select from on the second wheels such as: Are, Can, Did, Do, etc.. Following this are up to 4 more wheels that narrow down a multitude of possible questions about animals, fossils and other topics. Once your question is complete, the meerkat chimes in with an answer.

Before your kids play, I highly recommend parents visit the Parent Corner, which has several pages of information on how to play the game and all it provides, as well as the ability to specify the level and length of play for the child. You can also opt to receive email notifications when your child has completed a tale, allowing you to sit down and read it with them.

The app is created for kids from 4-10. I did find that the controls to send your animal about can be a bit tricky. Due to this, the app might be better for the older range than younger.

Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Features

  • Wake five baby animals to play with and nurture
  • Discover a world teeming with safari wildlife
  • Use the Word Wheels to build questions about the animals to ask Darwin the talking meerkat
  • Explore a vast world filled with caves, forests, rivers and an enormous ant hill
  • Enjoy the Mud Wallows, Sunset Savanna, Catapult Canyon and so much more
  • Get creative with the Berry Blaster and make your little safari animals stand out from the rest!
  • Collect stickers, minerals, and fossils to add to your Sticker Book collection
  • Safari Tales captures each play session and turns it into a delightful Storybook to be shared and read with parents and loved ones
  • Choose the length of time your child plays the game
  • Set your child’s reading age to personalize the game to their reading skill
  • Receive email notifications when your child has created a new Tale for you to read together
  • Get help and advice about playing the game with your child

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