Get your kids willingly rampaging around Melbourne's museums and historical landmarks with this local app
School holiday time inevitably means guilt and anxiety for parents who are desperate to pull their kids-cum-zombies away from a world of screens. Now, parental support is here via Kid Tracks. This app coaxes kids out of the house and into Melbourne’s historical landmarks and museums, such as Old Melbourne Gaol, Melbourne Aquarium, Cook's Cottage, NGV (International and Ian Potter), and the National Sports Museum.
Created by Australian mum Philippa Shelley Jones, the app guides tweens – iPhone or iPad in hand – on a sneakily educational treasure hunt. The kids are given instructions on where to go as they’re asked a series of simple, multiple-choice questions, engaging with the sites or exhibitions before them.
To make it all the more fun, the museum tour guide is swapped for a digital ‘Pet’ dog (dog-haters can upgrade to a panda or duck for 99c). Wrong answers result in disappointed, puppy-dog eyes, while with each correct answer the cartoon dog leaps joyously and the user earns points in the form of ‘feet’ (ie. the type with toes, highlighting the active nature of the app). The looming reward of collecting enough feet to win huge foot-shaped trophies of Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates spurs on the kids and keeps them occupied. At the track’s end, the little buggers collapse happy and tired, maybe having learnt something along the way.
While the app is free, each in-app track (ie. venue) costs 99c, with new sites constantly being added across the country. Kid Tracks is available to download from Apple iTunes.