Disney is launching a new line of learning tools designed to help parents encourage kids 3 to 8 to learn outside of school. Disney Imagicademy begins with a series of mobile apps but will later expand into other products such as books and interactive toys. Over time, the target age will also grow to include older kids.
To start, Disney is launching an iPad app called “Mickey’s Magical Math World” on Dec. 11, focused on math-based activities such as counting, shapes, logic and sorting. Within the app, there are five add-on activities such as “Minnie’s Robot Count-Along” and “Goofy’s Silly Sorting.” The basic app is free to use, but the enhanced activities cost $4.99 each or $19.99 for all five. Future apps, on subjects ranging from life science using characters from Disney’s “Frozen” to creative arts, will be similarly priced. The apps are ad free, keeping with laws that prevent targeting online advertising at kids under 13.
A companion app for parents lets grown-ups follow along with what their kids are doing even if they are using a separate mobile device. It also suggests a bevy of offline activities, such as creating “rocket racers” using toilet paper tubes, duct tape and balloons, or making a colorful “quilt” out of tissue paper to learn shapes.
Disney’s entry into the learning app market comes at a popular time for educational apps, thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices and as more parents grow comfortable letting their kids use them, at least with limits in place. The American Association of Pediatrics estimates that children spend an average of seven hours a day on “entertainment media” that includes TVs, computers, phones and other electronic devices. It recommends no more than two hours a day spent consuming and engaging with “high-quality content.”
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