Smartphones and tablets are clearly here to stay. I’m a fan of tools and activities that embrace the use of these devices, rather than unrealistically coming down on moms for allowing their children too much “screen time.” Kids play differently than I did when I was a child, but imagination and storytelling still reign supreme. Thus I was excited recently to discover the Get Qurious Maker Box, which combines the best of both worlds.
Get Qurious is a company that creates interactive games and activities and, according to its web site, has a vision to “create products that invoke curiosity, spark imagination and let children dream to reach for the real things they want.” The Maker Box, which is the only product offered on the company’s web site at this time, includes four activities that combine physical play pieces with digital experiences on a smartphone or tablet. All activities are based around the Three Little Pigs story, which makes for incredibly cute artwork and illustrations!
The box includes 12 story page cards, two masks, one double-sided puzzle and one sticker book. I explored the materials in the box with my children yesterday. First step was to download the Qurious Maker Box app, which was free from the Apple Store.
The story cards were our favorite out of the bunch. The 12 cards have numbers on one side and an image on the other. When held up to the device camera via the Maker Box app, the images on the cards “come alive” through sound and animation on the device. I loved this unique way of telling a story and the way my kids could be a part of the story-telling process by finding the next card in the series and holding it up to the camera. It also promotes counting skills for younger children.
The masks are cute and my kids love dressing up and playing characters, so they were a hit. I can see these becoming a part of our dress-up box and being a part of our pretend play even outside of this activity. The masks also trigger animation and sound via the app, which was a lot of fun.
The puzzle consists of several double-sided black and white pieces that can be colored and then scanned via the app to create an animated house that incorporates the characters from the story. And finally, the sticker book continues on the theme with mix and match stickers to add some variety to the well-loved story of the Three Little Pigs, in a Mad Libs-esque fashion. I did have some trouble getting the device to quickly recognize the stickers on the pages.
All in all, the Get Qurious Maker Box is definitely worth the $24.99 price tag. It’s certainly not a one time and done experience and the variety of ways kids can interact with the game pieces – with our without the content on the app – makes it a fun experience for both kids and parents. I often feel that iPad time is one-sided and doesn’t encourage person-to-person interaction, but this box finds a way to make it a shared experience and to promote imaginative playtime. Side note: the story cards would be great to take on a long car ride or as an evening activity in the hotel on a trip!
The Get Qurious Maker Box is available for $19.99 on the company’s web site (currently you’ll find a 20% off coupon code on the site!) and on Amazon.com.