Thursday, October 25, 2012

Skeletons! And Muscles. And the Circulatory System.

Human Anatomy Apps for Kids
Two new apps—one for younger kids; one for older—do a great job explaining how the world’s most sophisticated machine works. Both are interesting and interactive, and depict the body through the expected deconstructed views of muscle, organs, the circulatory system, and skeleton. And both apps touch upon the ticklish subject of human reproduction in a way appropriate for each age group. Younger users need to understand that a baby grows inside her mother; older users are presented with a scientific yet culturally sensitive lesson in human reproduction.

Lessons are age-appropriate
and fun.
This Is My Body-Anatomy for Kids by German-based developer Urbn; Pockets is for younger users and is illustrated with kid-friendly cartoons that lead users through its chapters titled Growing, My Skin, My Senses, I Am Hungry, Breathing, Heartbeat, My Muscles, My Nerves, and My Skeleton. It has been created to accommodate pre-readers as the app will read the text aloud to the user. This may come in handy for older kids as well, since the design does employ a font that re-creates script writing, a skill that is absent from many U.S. grammar school curriculums. Young readers will enjoy the “little smarty-pants” sections, where they can do a bit of extra reading on specifics related to each topic. For instance, did you know if you lay all your pulmonary alveoli flat and next to each other, they would measure the size of a small football pitch? That’s a soccer field to you and me and that’s one of the moments where you realize this app was developed in Europe.

Users need to make a thorough exploration of all the chapters in the app before they’ll earn enough stars to get their “Anatomy Expert” ribbon. Users choose from several different cartoon boy or girl avatars through which to explore the app. There are interactive questions and activities throughout. Hear a heartbeat, put a bandage on a boo-boo, or spread first aid cream on a sunburnt patch of skin. This app makes human biology accessible for young users and is age appropriate without talking down.

The wheel allows users to
easily move through "layers"
of the body.
The Human Body Explained by Tom – Discovery by French app developer Chocolapps stars Tom the animated lion who leads older kids through chapters titled Body, Muscles, Skeleton, Organs, Reproduction, Pregnancy, Growth, and The Immune System. The chapter on human reproduction is sensitively handled and defines it as something that occurs when “a man and a woman love each other very much,” which may not be strictly scientific, but I appreciate the age-appropriate delivery. There is no further explanation of the actual act of intercourse, but there is a scientific explanation of the fertilization of the human egg cell. Overall, this is a serious biology app and will answer many of your older student’s questions. The pregnancy chapter allows the user to run an ultrasound device over a woman’s tummy and see an actual ultrasound picture of a fetus on a monitor.

The lesson on the
human eye is particularly
Users choose either a male or female model and a wheel allows users to choose which “layer” of the body they will examine: skin, muscle, circulatory system, etc. The app is rated 12+ for “Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content or Nudity,” but I can’t think of a case where this material is more in context than in an anatomy app. And the human figures (with skin) are tastefully depicted wearing underwear and the app contains no depictions or discussions of human genitals. Even though tween and early teen users of this app will surely giggle because they are at the age when everything having to do with biology makes them giggle, this app delivers thorough and tasteful interactive instruction in the whole of human biology. For example, as users learn about the heart, pulling a stethoscope over an illustration of a chest reveals a beating heart, sound and all. Then the app encourages users to find and feel their own pulse. The app allows users a choice of seven languages. And you’ll like the price. For now, this app is free. Yeah, I like free, too.

Long story short, if you’re comfortable with your child’s age-appropriate and honest exploration of the human body, you’ll be pleased with the presentation and taste level of either or both of these apps.

1 comment:

  1. It looks cute and very creative to boot. I bet we can make a lovely performance for a toddler music classes sydney. Good idea for Halloween.