Dublin-made top-selling educational app expands its adventure

18 May 2012

Dublin developers are taking chart-topping educational app Curious George at the Zoo to a new level with the addition of new environments for little ones to explore.

Curious George at the Zoo, released in early April this year, reached more than 500,000 downloads in its first 10 days in the App Store. The popular educational app for iOS has been developed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) to help pre-school children to build reasoning and critical thinking skills by taking them on a trip to the zoo with everyone’s favourite inquisitive monkey.

The app shows young children how animals are washed, fed and cared for, and new habitats can be purchased in-game to expand on the experience. ‘Deep Freeze’, the latest addition to the app, introduces a new Arctic habitat with five new animals children can learn about through educational videos, backgrounds and ‘stickers’, as well as fun interactions with George.

‘Deep Freeze’ joins ‘Sunny Safari’, another habitat that can be purchased in-app, and two more habitats – ‘The Outback’ and ‘Old McDonald’s Farm’ – will be added in the coming months, keeping the app fresh with new animals and challenges.

Educating digital natives

HMH is one of the world’s largest providers of educational materials for digital natives, and its latest success was entirely designed in its Irish R&D hub. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the success of the initial Curious George at the Zoo release,” said Emmet O’Neill, director of creative and interactive design at HMH’s Dublin headquarters. “With close to 1m downloads to date, we’ve topped App Store education charts in more than 60 countries worldwide and reached the No 1 spot for all free iPad downloads in Ireland.”

The ‘Deep Freeze’ add-on builds upon this phenomenal success with new characters like Polly the polar bear and Ralph the reindeer, as well as new games and features, such as a penguin mini game – all of which were designed and developed in Dublin.

Curious George at the Zoo is available to download in the App Store for a reduced price of €0.79 and additional habitats ‘Deep Freeze’ and ‘Sunny Safari’ can be purchased in-game for €0.79 each.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.