Disneynature Explore offers kids two options into the app: "Explore" and "Disneynature Journal & Photos." The Explore mode houses 20 animal games that use augmented reality to superimpose 3D animals onto the live camera view seen on your screen. The Disneynature Journal & Photos contains live action videos showing lions, brown bears, chimpanzees, monarch butterflies, and loggerhead sea turtles. It also stores the photos players can take while playing the animal games, and offers separate photo missions. The app speaks to kids, so no reading is required.
How to Play the Animal Games
The heart of this app is its 20 animal games. Players select one of the five creatures that include: a lion, a brown bear, a monarch butterfly, a chimpanzee, and a loggerhead sea turtle. Each one has four games where kids play with the augmented reality creatures that appear on top of the scene, being viewed from the camera.
With the bear, kids will see a stream teeming with salmon superimposed on the screen. A bear will be in the stream, and kids help it to catch the fish by tapping on salmon when they leap out of the water. For one of the games played with the chimpanzee, kids take a background picture in nature and then the app superimposes a chimp and three mounds of termites. Players repeat a pattern shown, to help the ape fish for termites in the correct mound. With the monarch butterfly, kids hold up the device (while the camera is on) to circle around their environment. As they move, an arrow shows the direction to swivel so that the superimposed fluttering butterfly can find the targeted flowers.
While playing the 20 animal games, you can take a photo from within your game. These photos show up in the journal. Also fun are nature videos of the real animals you have been playing with. But the best part of the journal section is the photo mission section. For each of the animals, the app asks the player to take three photos. Before suggesting a photo topic, the app explains a nature fact about the topic. For example, with the chimp photo mission, the app explains that tree trunks make good back-scratchers. It then asks the player to find a tree and take a photo of its bark.
The magic of using technology is front and center in this app. It is amazing to see realistic-looking 3D animals lumber into your backyard! And the games you play with each of them are varied and fascinating to explore. Each game teaches kids facts by having them play with the creature in its natural habitat.
Also good are the photo missions. We really like the way the app suggests that families take nature walks; and then it directs their attention during the walk. In one of the photo missions, kids are asked to hunt for animals' tracks on the ground. In another, they must find an animal in a tree.
Disneynature Explore is best used by families that are new to exploring nature with their kids. It provides some structure to your venturing outside.
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