May 10, 2012

You may have noticed that the last few months Plug-in has been incredibly busy getting some of our biggest pre-school projects out the door. First was Numtums, one of the latest CBeebies shows, first aired as part of a new learning season on the channel. Our giant interactive project introduced number-based dual-player learning games to the CBeebies audience and has been getting kids everywhere falling in love with the Australian native marsupials, Numbats – transformed into Numtums with numbers on their tummies.

Next came the second installment of the phonics learning series, Alphablocks where children can learn to make words from the alphabet sounds. Our new UI introduced adventure episodes that are played in order of reading ability and colour-coded to match the national curriculum taught in primary schools. In the Alphablocks magical world, letters A-Z can conjure up anything they think of when they join together to create words. Within the interactive episodes, children can move the Alphablocks themselves to complete words and move the storyline along.

We firmly believe that creating games for preschoolers is not about plonking your child down in front of a computer screen to keep them quiet. For us, getting children learning through play is paramount and that’s also about getting parents to join in, helping their child complete the games and starting to think about how children develop in those important first few years.

Part of our research and development for each project we undertake involves getting in touch with primary schools and educational advisors.  For instance when we were coming up with the concept behind our number drawing games for Numtums which use our motion tracking webcam technology to get children moving their hands to follow the outline of a number, we found out exactly how children are taught to draw numbers at school.

The emphasis of our work is generally always pretty much on the soft side of education.  Playful learning is fundamental to child development and what we try to do at Plug-in is to make early educational experiences as  fun as possible.  The child may not be aware that they’re learning, but through repetition,  humour and playful encouragement, it really does sink in!