Most “educational” games and mobile apps focus on traditional school topics such as reading, math, and science. However, emotional intelligence is a critical developmental skill as well and it has been historically under-served in this field. Fortunately, there is a growing trend to focus more on these concepts and skills. Kuca Senses is an example of a well-crafted, attractive, and engaging app that strives to teach children about emotions and emotional responses.
The game features Elliott, a friendly and extremely expressive monster that children join in various daily activities. The activities are designed to teach children about the five senses and how we experience emotions through them. Children learn about touch while helping Mr. Elliott take a bath, about hearing by creating songs with his jungle friends, and about sight by playing hide-and-seek and memory-matching games. Throughout the activities, Mr. Elliott’s facial expressions, vocal responses, and even the color of his horns change depending on what he is feeling. This allows children to modify their actions accordingly.
For example, one of our favorite activities was preparing meals for Mr. Elliott. Given a variety of yummy and not-so-yummy ingredients, players create meals for Mr. Elliott and assess whether or not he enjoys them based on reactions. Similarly, there is a room in which players combine ingredients to create colognes for Mr. Elliott, something our youngest tester found hilarious.
No reading is required and there is no verbal language in the game; so, children are free to concentrate entirely on game play and reading the reactions of Mr. Elliott. This is one way to help children develop and hone their understanding not only of senses and emotions, but of how they affect those things in others.
Sharon Heuscher ©2018 Parents’ Choice
Sharon holds B.A.s in English Literature and Ancient Studies as well as a B.S. in Psychology. She is currently a masters-level trainee in Clinical Psychology specializing in neurodegenerative diseases. For the past thirteen years, Sharon has focused primarily on raising, educating, and nurturing her five children who range in age from three to thirteen.