The Cat in the Hat Builds That
Based on the PBS program, “Cat and the Hat Knows A Lot About That,” “The Cat and the Hat Builds That” is a free app that introduces children to important scientific skills. Designed for players/learners ages 4-7, the games are based on an “Engineering Design Process:” define a problem, imagine and plan, create, test, and improve. For example, in Bridge-a-rama, the dragon is trying to get to a party, but he can’t because there are large breaks in the path (Define). Players are given a variety of materials of differing lengths and must select the correct objects and sizes (Imagine and Plan) to build bridges (Create). The dragon tries to cross (Test) and either makes it or doesn’t in which case, players must adapt their designs (Improve). By repeating this process throughout the game, children inherently learn how to approach and solve problems.
In Slide a-ma-zoo, children follow the process making slides; they are given goals such as finishing before their friend, after their friend, or at the same time. They learn how the height of the slide and materials placed on it (e.g., sand, butter, etc.) affect the speed at which their players descend. And, in Sorta-Ma-Gogo, they learn classification by sorting objects by a variety of characteristics (e.g., color, shape, texture, use, etc.). This is an important organizational skill necessary not just in science but in all learning.
The app also features mini, free-play games based on the larger games, a tree-house to decorate with prizes collected during game play, and a camera feature to record their experience. Recognizable characters and illustrative style, The app is easy-to-navigate and the games simple to play. Although the tasks can be repetitive, they are an engaging way to demonstrate the lessons, especially for the younger ages.
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.