The iPad kid’s game Pok Pok Playroom is the perfect back-to-school app for families
Over the summer, knock Knock, a company “incubated” in Snowman – the studio behind it Apple Arcade Games Skate city and Where cards fall – brought out a new way for children to experience playtime. Pok Pok Playroom is a game app for children developed with the help of educators, occupational therapists and sensory experts. When families get back into the groove of a new school year, Pok Pok Playroom’s suite of soft games could be a helpful complementary study tool for parents and children.
Pok Pok Playroom is a collection of toys and activities that the team says will promote cognitive and socio-emotional development without winning or losing. In addition, the game – intended for children aged 2 to 6 years – can grow with the child as the play time changes. The app is designed to empower children to take risks and feel successful when things come together for them, while rewarding them with games rather than prizes.
The app includes colorful activities like a match and match block game where kids can build dozens of different characters, a drawing pad, and a busy board with buttons, switches, bells, and blobs of music. Pok Pok Playroom also has a section called Town that might remind parents and caregivers of the physical carpets in classrooms that are covered with streets and buildings. And don’t forget to play house, but like other Pok Pok toys, there is more to the game than meets the eye.
The newest iteration of Pok Pok Playroom’s digital toy box is called Forest. The app update includes a spacious, natural forest environment full of things to discover. Forest offers a mindful introduction to nature, its life cycles and weather patterns, accompanied by sounds recorded in a real Canadian forest.
Before launching the app, Pok-Pok designers Esther Huybreghts and Mathijs Demaeght emailed CNET to inform them that they weren’t looking to develop a new children’s game, but rather to climb out of a creative rut while they had two young children of their own balanced. When their son James turned 2, they struggled to find something age-appropriate to play with on the App Store.
âWe didn’t want anything too playful, beating levels, finding menus, or something that excited him too much,â the designers said via email. “We were worried that he would get stuck all the time and be discouraged about not being able to play independently. So we decided we’d build it ourselves.”
Pok Pok Playroom aims to present the game time in a peaceful way with handmade art and soft sounds for a calming and exploring experience.
“When kids enter the Pok Pok Playroom, they can explore, step outside their comfort zone, think outside the box, and experiment without worrying about failure,” said Melissa Cash, CEO of Pok Pok.
Huybreghts said that instead of in-game prizes and rewards, curiosity is rewarded with more play. While trying out the app, I found that it does: the very tactile nature of the game is seamlessly pushing for exploration. Even as an adult, after a few interactions in town, I was curious to see what other Easter eggs were in store.
âIt’s really important for kids to feel empowered to lead the way and follow their noses, and a big part of that is being in control,â Cash said. “With every toy we make, children can have complete control over their own play.”
Toy maker for a new generation
The Pok Pok team has worked hard to create an accessible, inclusive gaming experience that can grow with a child. In both the game mechanics and the presentation of the app, kids can fill in the gaps and tell their own stories instead of having an adult do it. The game is also designed with accessibility in mind so that young players don’t have to “get stuck” or ask for help.
Pok Pok Playroom also aimed to remove language barriers. All of the characters the player interacts with speak in a gibberish language similar to what might be heard in a Sims game.
“We hope that the children not only see themselves in the Pok Pok Playroom, but also their neighbors, families and friends,” said Cash. âThat’s why we try to highlight people of different genders, races, abilities and family structures. We also try to break gender stereotypes where we can and introduce many women in typically male-dominated professions, such as construction workers. “
Cash said Pok Pok Playroom aims to show kids the beauty of people’s differences while delivering diverse content that can stimulate conversation between kids and caregivers.
Although some parents worry about exposing their kids to too much screen time, Cash said the new app is meant to work like traditional playroom items like blocks, puzzles, and other toys. Huybreghts compared Pok Pok Playroom to how an adult might remember their favorite teddy bear or blocks and the endless possibilities the toy offered.
“Just like trudging through the garden with nothing but a stick on a summer afternoon, the piece itself is the reward,” said Huybreghts. “How many times have I got my toddlers inspired by something they saw in the Pok Pok Playroom and then applied for something in real life, and vice versa, from what they found in the app.”
Additionally, according to Cash, Pok Pok Playroom is a healthy and safe way for kids to get used to the technology.
Pok Pok Playroom is available for iPhone and iPad. After a 14-day free trial, you can get a subscription with no in-app purchases or ads for $ 4 per month or $ 30 annually.
Further information can be found in the The best kids games for the iPad and the best kids games on Apple Arcade.