I come from a long-line of animal-lovers. One of my favorite stories about my late Grandpa Claud is how he once brought home a live Owl in a shoebox. He had seen the wounded bird struggling in an open field on his way home, and just had to help it. He and my Grandma nursed it back to health and set it free some weeks later.
This love for animals was passed down to my Father and to me. As my family currently lives in a no-pet apartment, I wanted a way to spark their curiosity about animals to cultivate a sense of wonder about the incredible world around us. Here are three Apps I have found most successful toward instilling a love of animals in my daughters:
- WWF Together – No, it's not a professional wrestling app. It stands for World Wildlife Fund, a charitable organization that seeks to save endangered species through activism. The App recently won Apple's Design Award at the most recent Worldwide Developer's Conference, and rightly so. It is beautifully and intuitively designed. It does not merely spout facts about the animals it features, but helps the user learn about them in interactive, sometimes game-like ways. My older daughter watched a looping video of a Panda eating Bamboo for five whole minutes and nearly cried when I took the iPad away because it was time for lunch.
- Audobon Birds – One of my favorite things about living in the San Joaquin Valley is sharing this land with Red-Tail Hawks. My daughters seem to have picked up on this love of birds, and love watching even the smallest sparrows flitting around our apartment. Audobon Birds is fantastic for a lot of reasons. It has pre-recorded calls for thousands of birds. It allows users to upload their own bird sightings in different areas of the country. No matter how urban your environment, you will probably still be surprised at the number of bird species that share your space.
- Dinosaur Zoo/Walking with Dinosaurs – I know, I said 3 Apps. But frankly, Dinosaurs are so awesome (and these apps are so great) that they deserve a two-fer. Dinosaur Zoo is fantastic because it allows the user to interact with the dinosaurs, who react to their touches in different ways. My older daughter actually became afraid the first time the T-Rex tried to take a finger. She especially loves getting the Nemegtosaurus eggs to hatch by repeated tapping. Walking with Dinosaurs is great because it features a ton of content. It features looping animations of the Dinosaurs walking that employ scientific methods of paleo-locomotion. Swipe down from any dinosaur animation, and you'll find facts and rotate-able 3D models. Walking with Dinosaurs also features more information about the world of the Dinosaurs, and all of it is based on sound Paleontology.
Have you found any great apps that can help instill users with a greater love and appreciation for animals? Or even apps that are helpful for making children curious about the world (which I consider to be the most important thing for parents to encourage in their kids)? Send me an email, and I'll check them out: editor[at]iPad4Life.net.