Kids feeling lonely? Introduce them to Ubooly, a cute and very talkative character who interacts with them in the same way they’d interact with their best friend. Ubooly tells stories, asks questions, plays games and shares educational information with kids. Throughout the process, kids are encouraged to not focus solely on their device, but to put it down and move around, dance, and get involved in other silly activities while Ubooly watches. While the content of the app is not entirely baked in and occasionally requires kids to gather other materials or get the help of the parents, it’s a refreshing change from apps that cause kids to zone out and keep their eyes glued to the screen.
- A large selection of free play packs
- Character responds to kids’ answers
- Some personalized elements
- Incorporates interactive activities
- Encourages parental involvement
Ubooly has a quality feel to it. The character interacts with kids, even responding appropriately when they answer questions. However, its design does not give kids a lot of control. Kids can tap Ubooly’s face to pause the conversation, but they cannot skip forward or go back in the conversation. It also lacks clear explanations of the types of activities kids will find in the various play packs, particularly those available through an in-app purchase.
The activities kids complete have been designed to be hands-on and interactive. For example, as part of the Ranger Rick pack, kids do not just learn about nature, they’re encouraged to go outside and water plants. Other apps, such as the space app, encourage kids to move around and peel their eyes away from the screen. For example, to illustrate how the Earth revolves around the sun, kids are asked to place their device on the floor and walk in a circle around it. These kinds of activities help kids really experience the content rather than just hearing or reading about it.
While some kids really may enjoy listening to Ubooly talk, most will likely find that Ubooly’s talking gets old really quick. The character works hard to sound hip and cute, but at times Ubooly goes on and on, causing kids to lose interest before they even get to the activities. When they’re actually answering Ubooly’s questions and getting involved in the activities, kids will be fairly entertained, but often they have to sit through a lot of talking to get to the interactive parts.
The free version of Ubooly offers a lot of fun play packs and activities for kids to enjoy. Additional play packs can be purchased within the app, but parents may find that kids are happier with the free play packs. If kids want to learn about a specific subject, such as the human body or space, purchasing an additional play pack may be a good option.
In order to use Ubooly, parents must create an account for their children, which includes entering an e-mail address and receiving a variety of e-mails that provide information and support about activities. Once kids have an account setup, they must enter an e-mail address and password to update info. Some grown-up areas are also protected by having parents answer a simple addition problem, with the numbers provided in written form to make it a little more difficult.