There are some people who hate technology and feel that we should not let our children use it. Luckily, my toddler prefers to run around outside; but I love that when we are indoors, I can let her use the iPad. Just because I'm letting her use technology however, doesn't mean it has to be all play. I really believe in the power of play to be educational. Having apps like the Shifu Fusion app complete with AR cards and the upcoming Orboot, are ways to secretly teach while being fun.
The Shifu Fusion box that we have been playing with is currently only available in India but it will be making its way to other countries soon... the best part is that it will be available on Amazon! The other ranges are also available on Shifu's website (with free shipping worldwide, who doesn't love free shipping) and at Hamleys stores.
The app that goes with the AR cards is completely free to download, with a starting age of two. There are different parts to the games that fit to each child's developmental stage meaning that it will last for a lot longer than just while they are little. For my daughter, her favourite of the four options inside the Shifu Fusion box is the animal cards; although she also enjoyed the vehicles, especially the train and plane.
When I opened the box, she got super excited, immediately naming the things she could see. At three years old, this is the best part about the game for her, seeing the animals she recognise come to life on the screen. As she grows she will be able to look at the card and learn to read the word and sentence that are typed on the back; but for now the picture is good enough for her!
Once she has placed the card on the table in the position it instructs on the app, the animal comes to life on the screen. She is able to see whatever it is that she has chosen (which is more often than not a giraffe which is her favourite animal!)
She doesn't just stare at it though. Being a child of the technology generation, she very quickly worked out how to get the app working for her. She was soon zooming in to have a closer look and pressing the buttons on the screen to have a look at what each does.
There are a variety of options within the app to help Squidgy learn from having a look at the habitat and choosing food to feed the animal on the screen. She was so funny as she worked out which food the animal loved, but would choose the wrong one and giggle as the animal would make comments about how it wasn't right!
Her current favourite part is the section that should, in theory, teach the child to spell the name of the animal which they have chosen. However for her, the best part is that you have to burst balloons to reveal each letter. She will spend ages just doing the same thing over and over again so that she can burst the balloons.
Waching her play, and listening to her giggle is one of the best things about having an app like this. I can see and hear that she is having loads of fun, while knowing that at the same time she is learning too!
As she has learnt more about the app, I have begun to take a step back and let her play on her own. She loves a bit of independence and I can see her growing up before my eyes. It is scary, as time goes too quickly, but it is also wonderful!
As the years go by, I know that the app and the AR cards will continue to be useful for us, and I am sure she will turn to the other cards and begin to learn more using the jobs and space sets too.
Shifu will also soon be launching their new Orboot. Having seen the details of the upcoming launch, I am pretty sure it will be just as awesome as our fusion box.
Disclaimer: The lovely team behind Shifu Play sent me their Shifu Fusion box, in return for an honest review. The review words and opinions are my own.