Over the last couple of months I’ve been acquainting myself with Unity, the games development platform and a visual scripting tool for it called Playmaker. Playmaker is very nice for visualising early concepts and creating little games and apps. I’ve found it could also very handy for understanding coding concepts. So I set myself a task to get to grips with the software by building something. The folks who know me, might know i’ve been interested in how young kids / toddlers use everyday tech and how we, as parents respond. I began to explore the possibilities of a very early introduction to digital literacy using coding concepts, Tiny Logics. More on that in a bit. So,as a parent of young children myself, It felt like a bit of a no-brainer to have a bash at some kind of app for toddlers.
So, Outside My Window is, in essence, for toddlers who are curious with tech. The content, as the name suggests, includes simple everyday images and sounds that might be seen or heard outside the house. I hope the content makes sense. By that, I mean I hope parents will relate to the familiar sights and sounds while their kids bash away at the keys. For example when bringing their children downstairs in the morning, opening the curtains and seeing the sun rise… That sort of thing. We didn’t spend ages on the content, it would be easy to create any number of scenarios but the focus of this exercise was for me to get to grips with a piece of software, more than anything.
Younger toddlers will need some initial support, depending on how tech savvy your kids are, just to get the ball rolling – which isn’t a bad thing as it encourages the whole parent – child interaction thang. It’s available as a download for mac and PC. To play on the web you will need to install the unity player which is not unlike having to install the flash player to play those Flash games. I do hope you give it a go. There is an iPad version planned which is where I really intended this to be published but thought i’d pilot it on the web first. To get news on this and leave any comments maybe you wouldn’t mind filling in the little web form? and i’ll let you know when it’s ready to go.
Next steps? well, I briefly mentioned Tiny Logics, coding concepts for kids. The plan (at this stage) is to step things up and create a toddler friendly app that introduces the concepts of coding using simple touch activities. Something you might be interested in? I’m wondering whether this could potentially be a Kickstarter project and so I’ve included that in the web form too.