Ahoy mateys! Jake’s Never Land Pirate School (free), based on the animated Disney Junior show Jake and the Never Land Pirates, is a fun and educational iPhone app that teaches kids fundamental skills like following directions, counting, identifying shapes and sounds, and other preschool basics. Although the game is designed for players ages three and up, I would recommend it more for children four and up. With the app’s cute graphics and interactive games, kids are sure to have fun learning with some of their favorite Disney Junior characters.
Mommy, I Wanna Be A Pirate!
Kids start the game by creating their own pirate using a picture of their face. They can either capture a picture or import one from the iPhone’s photos. After that simple setup, they choose any of the following classes—Sailing, Pirate Band, Map & Spyglass, or Pixie Dust. There are at least three levels in each class and each class is headed by a different Never Land character. Your child can sail the seas with Jake and Bucky, rock out with Bones and Sharky, locate objects with Cubby, or fly through mazes with Izzy and Skully.
How Pirate School Works
Kids practice counting in the Sailing Class, in which they can navigate around obstacles and collect buoys. By tilting the device, they can move the ship in the direction they want, hitting the gadget button that appears when there’s an obstacle. There are no repercussions for doing poorly, so the game runs continuously until your child has collected enough buoys to move on. This could have positive and negative effects. On one hand, kids won’t be discouraged if they have trouble navigating. On the other hand, they might find colliding into obstacles more fun (or rather funny since the water “splashes” on the screen).
In the Pirate Band Class, players play different instruments with Bones and Sharky playing in the background. Each instrument requires a different finger movement, which is demonstrated on screen and has to be mimicked by the player when playing the level. Kids can then listen to a recording of themselves playing the instrument without Bones and Sharky in the background and hear what the it sounds like alone. The game is simple enough to play since it’s all about music and rhythm and takes no more than a few simple finger movements on the screen.
Good pirates follow directions from their captain, which your little one can learn to do in the Map & Spyglass Class with Cubby. Your child has to pick a location on the map by listening to clues, then look for objects according to the directions. For example, Cubby might say, “Try looking for a skateboard by the smallest coconut.” Using the spyglass, your child has to look around the location using those clues.
Last, but not least, what’s Never Land without a little pixie dust? Kids can practice pre-writing skills and identifying shapes in the Pixie Dust Class. Using their pirate character, players create a trail of pixie dust for their pirate to follow. They can lead them into “pixie bursts” and trace shapes so objects fall on a cardboard cutout of Captain Hook.
Most Organized Pirates You’ll Ever Meet
Kids earn a badge at the end of each lesson and also get a chance to collect gold doubloons as quickly as they can. Throughout the game, there’s a log that keeps track of your children’s progress in each class as well as how many doubloons they’ve collected. After kids have finished all the lessons, they get an official Never Land Pirate certificate, which they can decorate with stickers and print through Air Print.
Jake’s Never Land Pirate School is definitely worth getting for your youngster. Although the game is designed for children three years old and up, the skill required are such that I personally would recommend it more for four and up. Menu navigation and some of the games might be a little tough for younger kids. Jake’s Never Land Pirate School is a great app to have in your kiddie app arsenal and will keep your kids preoccupied and learning.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc