When I read about a Sydney mum’s new App to help enhance children’s experiences while museums, galleries and local attractions, I was interested to know more.
Just like me, Philippa Shelley Jones, got an idea while on holiday with her children. Visiting Westminster Abbey with her three children, she was impressed with an activity program rewarded them with giant gold chocolate coins.
Five years on, she has launched Kid Tracks, a unique new App to engage children in sight-seeing via mobile devices.
Kid Tracks is an App which offers tailored multiple-choice activity ‘Tracks’ for museums, galleries and local attractions in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.
Philippa said she developed the app with two things in mind.
“The first was that children, whether we like it or not, are driven by incentive. The second was that, whilst some cultural and historical sites have activities to keep the children occupied, there is nothing linking them all together with some sort of cohesive set of activities.
“Both of these factors become particularly significant in those places some kids might consider ‘boring’, but which their parents want to see, such as historical houses, galleries, and National archives and libraries.
“So Kid Tracks was born – an incentive based children’s activity App which I created and developed to link all historical and cultural landmarks together under the umbrella of an ‘across the board’ approach to sightseeing.”
Children download ‘Tracks’ (.99c each) for each site visited and then use their device on site to answer simple, multiple-choice observational questions.
An example of a question in Old Melbourne Gaol would be: What sort of hood was worn by prisoners held in solitary confinement when outside their cells? (Cell #11)
A digital ‘pet ‘accompanies them on their way around and responds excitedly with a correct answer and despondently with an incorrect answer. At the end, reward points are awarded (in the form of ‘feet’), which accumulate along a trail with each site visited, ultimately earning them certificates and prizes.
Philippa said various other incentives are offered via the website.
“I am providing some major prizes these school holidays which will be notified via the website and the Kid Tracks Facebook page, things such as Smiggle vouchers, Luna Park passes and iTunes cards.”
The App, which is free to download, currently covers over 50 sites in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney and is being expanded all the time. ‘Tracks’ include attractions like Questacon in Canberra, historical houses like Vaucluse House in Sydney and museums like the National Sports Museum in Melbourne.
“I’ve also included galleries, walks and even on-off events – such as Sculpture By the Sea, a two week event in Sydney,” Philippa said.
The Kid Tracks App is available now in the App store for iPhone, iPad and iPod. For more information visit www.kidtracks.com.au