Remember Dumb Ways to Die, that catchy, memorable and highly effective animated PSA about safe behavior around trains? My older kids Charlie and Eve thought it was genius, and the kid-friendly but dark humor involved in the video and accompanying song communicated to them how truly dumb it is to take risks.
The folks behind the video are now aiming to introduce safety messages to younger children through two new educational apps (without anyone dying or selling their kidneys online). These Dumb Ways JR apps are Boffo’s Breakfast and Loopy’s Train Set, and Alice enjoyed both of them.
I do not usually keep kid apps on my work phone, so Alice found this a total treat to get her hands on mom’s device and learn. Because they were both entertaining and educational, I was willing to make an exception. I also played the games to have a sense of what Alice would be learning and doing.
Although I personally found Loopy’s Train Set to be more sophisticated and fun, due to its spatial skill building activities of creating train track pathways, Alice preferred the creative free play form of Boffo’s Breakfast. Much like the cupcake and pizza decorating apps out there, in Boffo’s Breakfast kids choose food items to prepare for Boffo to eat. They can cut, mix, cook, season and then feed the cute critter.
Alice likes Boffo’s expressions such as when he screws his face up at weird food combos or when he, as Alice says in the video, looks worried when the heat on the stovetop is turned up high. The safety message here is simple and the app encourages quick, creative, non-leveled play. I like how Boffo’s Breakfast is fun for Alice when we are waiting in a doctor’s office, for instance, but not so “save the princess!” addictive that she is always angling to get her hands on my phone.
Loopy’s Train Set allows kids to both build train tracks and drive trains, allowing the Dumb Ways characters to get on and off at stations. Alice and I both enjoyed how you can either play in storytelling mode (“let’s go pick up Loopy for a trip to the cow pasture!”) or lay tracks in LEGO-like maker mode. This app would be awesome for train-table obsessed kids.
The apps are each $2.99 in iTunes and $2.30 via Google Play.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Dumb Ways JR and The Motherhood.