Take a Trip Around the World…there’s an App for that

The World Atlas Book Photo Credit: Barefoot Books

Calling all globe trotters, young explorers, animal lovers, music lovers and generally curious kids (and parents too). Released just today is my new favorite kids app, from my most beloved children’s book publisher, Barefoot Books: the Barefoot World Atlas app. Barefoot Books’ slogan is “Step inside a story” and nothing could be more true when you step inside this new app; you are stepping into any place in the world you’ve ever been curious about.

Many of you might remember me singing my praises for Barefoot Books a few weeks ago during my themed Winter Reading Week. For Christmas I purchased the World Atlas book from Barefoot for my 8-year-old niece. Her eyes lit up as she traveled around the world on its pages and I started regretting not purchasing it for my 6-year-old daughter. After my post during Winter Reading Week, Barefoot Books actually got in touch with me, sent me a copy of the World Atlas book and then gave me and my kids a chance to have a sneak peek of this app before it released today. What a treat!

I believe so strongly in the importance of my kids learning about the world around them, and not just the geography basics, but about cultures, music, environment and animals. Much to my delight, though not to my surprise, the 3-D Barefoot World Atlas app brings the world to your child’s finger tips in an engaging, age appropriate, interactive and fun way.

As soon as you open the app, a 3D globe sits on your screen that you can spin with the touch of a finger, while music is playing and even a few whales are

The 3D Globe, the world at your fingertips. Photo Credit: Barefoot Books

diving in the water while sea gulls call out. It’s crazy cool, to be totally honest and not at all creative in my words.  You and the kids can truly go to the top of the world and then visit the bottom of the world, which for the younger ones, gives them a meaningful and digestible perspective that the world really is round. No detail is forgotten in this engaging app either, which really amazes me (except Santa in the North Pole according to my oldest), from the music that represents a country, to ships in the ocean, planes in the sky, animals and their sounds, currency facts, even the time it is in that country when you are learning about it.

This app is designed for kids ages 4 on up but my 3-and-6-year old were equally as engaged and for different reasons than an older child might be engaged. My 6-year-old wasn’t as enamored with the cultural facts or time zones as say, I was, but I turned around and suddenly found her taking pictures of the seal on the screen with her little digital camera. She wanted to have it with her in case the iPad wasn’t with her. I loved that (though I wondered for a fleeting second if I am raising a gadget addict).

I wondered just how long it takes to build an app like this because it is so comprehensive, fact-filled, and loaded with engaging images. Leah Lesser from Barefoot Books said they partnered with Touch Press about a year ago to bring this app to life – and it’s definitely worth the effort. What a way for parents to expose their kids to the world! Lesser noted there are 500 features in this one app. And for those kids who are just learning to read, the app includes sound at every turn, so once your child presses the speaker option, they can hear the fun facts about the country they are visiting, as narrated by BBC presenter and geographer Nick Crane.

A snapshot of how you can scan the world in the app. Photo Credit: Barefoot Books

Here are some more fun facts about the app:

• Hundreds of animated illustrations by artist David Dean representing culture, people, and nature;
• A vast collection of carefully chosen photographs;
• 3D rotations of historical objects from the Royal Geographical Society;
• Live country facts from Wolfram|Alpha including current weather;
• Fully compatible with first and second generation iPad.

So, while there are plenty of other sites that specialize in reviewing apps, you know I love it if I am writing about it, I hope you’ll enjoy it too!
The Barefoot World Atlas App is available for $7.99/£5.49 from the App Store on iPad or at www.itunes.com/appstore .

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Disclosure: Barefoot Books sent me a code to access this app for free but my opinions here are all my own.

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