In my house the Gruffalo was revered.
It was my son’s favourite book for a long, long time. I know all the words by heart and still can’t walk through a forest without pretending I can hear the Gruffalo. Granted, that’s normally in a vain attempt to get the kids to stop moaning about how bored they are. Most times this deceit works, if only for a couple of minutes until they realise I’m full of crap and then it’s back to the moaning. Still it’s worth it to get them outside and enjoying nature, right?!
Now however, I can whip out my phone and they can really see the Gruffalo and all his pals through the first of its kind Augmented Reality app from Magic Light Pictures, Nexus Studios and the Forestry Commission England. They can even have their pictures taken standing next to the characters with a bit of careful art direction and patience.
Available in 26 forests throughout the UK, the app is an interesting mix between tech and the real world and should be a great way to entice young kids outside, where hopefully they’ll discover the forest is a much more exciting place when not viewed through a screen.
On the screen the kids get to follow trails of footprints left by each of the books characters to special markers where short animations are triggered of the characters within the natural setting. With fun facts about forest animals given along the trails as well, the Forestry Commission are trying to bring a level of interactivity to those outdoor excursions that our kids are only too used to, and now expect, whether we like it or not.