New York startup Tinybop‘s charming app Mammals offers an up-close look at five animals – a bat, a tiger, an elephant, a sloth and a kangaroo – with interactive diagrams showing how they eat, sleep and grow.
Diagrams show the skeleton of each mammal and their digestive, nervous and circulatory systems. Touching them unlocks a series of animations: children can make a mammal’s heart beat, make it run or feed it to watch food travel through the body. They can also view the world through the eyes of that mammal and compare their speeds and fur types.
The app features some lovely artwork by Wenjia Tang, an illustration student at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Tang says she was inspired by the work of Charles Harper and Owen Davey as well as vintage scientific illustrations and posters (you can read an interview with her here).
The app is mostly visual but an accompanying handbook includes discussion questions and background information for parents and teachers. “Our goal isn’t necessarily to answer 50 questions about tigers but to get kids thinking about the subject and to start asking questions,” explains Tinybop founder Raul Gutierrez. “Having that conversation with a child is the most valuable thing – it’s not so much learning a specific fact but [the fact that] you’ve sparked their interest and that interest has led to a set of questions and more exploration.”
It is the ninth release in Tinybop’s Explorers Library series, a range of apps that teach children about science, biology and the world around them. The company also creates apps that stimulate creativity through open play: The Infinite Arcade lets children design their own video games while Robot Factory lets them build their own robots from a library of parts.
Mammals costs £2.99 and you can download it from the App Store here.