- NAEYC: Superheroes: An Opportunity for Prosocial Play
- Great Schools: Superhero Play: Opportunity or Cause for Concern?
- NCAC: The Value of Superhero Play
- Scholastic: Between Teacher and Parent: Powerful Fantasies
- Center for Media Literacy: What Parents Can Do About Media Violence
- NAEYC: Superhero and Gun Play Resources
- NAEYC: Banning War and Superhero Play: Meeting Children’s Needs in Violent Times
- Purdue University: Prepositions for Time, Place and Introducing Objects
- Education.com: Sorting & Categorizing
- Stanford University: Incidental word learning: Two-year olds can infer the referent of a novel word “on the fly” using linguistic and contextual cues
- Child 1st: How To Teach Prepositions So A Child Will Get It
- ESL Flow: Preposition Lesson Plans
- MasteryConnect: Common Core Standards
“Nurture your mind with great thoughts. To believe in the heroic makes heroes.” —Benjamin Disraeli
Our games allow young learners to connect with big educational concepts from an early age. In our new app, the character of Rhinomite is an absurdly heroic figure who offers players the drama of creating fanciful costumes, the exhilaration of pretending to fly, and the challenge of avoiding obstacles in this bustling city setting.
Here, we provide five real-world examples of why we chose this game as a teaching moment:
1. Embraces Superhero Play in a Nonviolent Manner. Rhinomite responds to countless requests from parents and teachers who have been searching children’s superhero games that engage a child’s quest for adventure, yet does so in a non-violent manner. There are no images of weaponry in this super-drama.
We are aware of discussions in the early childhood educational community regarding superhero play at home and school. In this 2003 NAEYC paper on the increase in war and superhero play among young children, Diane E. Levin suggests encouraging creative alternatives: “Take time to observe the play and learn what children are working on and how. Use this information to help children move beyond narrowly scripted play that is focused on violent actions. Help children gain skills to work out the violent content they bring to their play, learn the lessons you aim to teach, and move on to new issues.”
In Rhinomite, we take this approach. Rhinomite is an open-ended game of flight and flexibility, that allows players to bring their own scenarios of sleuthing, mystery and intrigue to this imaginative setting. We supply the costumes, the challenge and the magic, but the child will supply the tale. We hope your budding young authors will create interesting motivations, conflicts, and triumphs for our fresh new character we call Rhinomite!
2. Enhances Common Core Curriculum Language Arts. Educators realize that using contextual meaning and active participation are invaluable when teaching the vocabulary of prepositions in language acquisition activities. This is especially true when teaching/learning English as a second language. As one Stanford University study indicates, children as young as two years old can learn new vocabulary “on the fly” with contextual cues, inspiring our design for teaching prepositions and categorization in this game.
Prepositions used in the game include Above, Around, Below, Beneath, Between, Down, Over, Through, Under, Underneath, Up. To supplement the in-game activities, parents and teachers may encourage children to use prepositions in their own dramatic play with dress-ups, fashion dolls, or action figures. Other prepositions include: Aboard, About, Across, After, Against, Along, Among, At, Before, Behind, Beside, Beyond, But, By, During, Except, For, From, In, Inside, Into, Like, Near, Of, Off, On, Onto, Out, Outside, Past, Since, Throughout, To, Toward, Until, Upon, With, Within, Without.
Sorting and categorization are keystones in early language arts. In Rhino H.Q. children search for costume pieces by categories, trying on capes or backpacks, gloves, boots, hats, etc. Playing games that visually represent the mental operation of categorization by attribute is part of any good early curriculum, and important to the work of speech and language therapists. Talking about these moments aids language acquisition for all, but especially those with retrieval and recall issues who need practice with this skill.
3. Enhances Common Core Curriculum for Early Math. Throughout the game, players collect “Rhino Coins,” which are added up by tens to help create an awareness of early mental math and counting by tens. In Rhino H.Q., players can trade “Rhino Coins” for new outfits and accessories to dress their character, during which they also learn subtraction. We are proud to have adapted a game to include mathematical equations outside of the world of chalkboards and textbooks so young learners can learn to recognize them in other contexts.
4. Encourages Self-Expression and Confidence in Players of All Ages. Children love superhero pretend play, while family members of all ages will have a blast exploring the locker room headquarters where Rhinomite tries on costumes and unlocks new choices of capes, hats, flying gizmos and fancy rhino horns. Whether a child loves jet wings, tutus or more traditional superhero garb, the game is open-ended to allow children’s imaginations to run wild — it is up to the player to create the story. This hero tale allows for plenty of opportunities for replay and revision to inspire persistence and resilience as kids TRY AGAIN…just like Rhinomite!
5. Encourages Conversation Between Family Members. As families are spending more time with touch-screen devices, the team at Mrs. Judd’s Games wanted to create a game that would appeal to all ages and promote verbal communication among family members and supplement family time as opposed to disrupting it. “We love the fact that a teenage brother could compare notes with his five-year-old sister on how to play this game,” Mrs. Judd says. “The best apps we’ve seen are the ones with that ability to bring people together and transcend age.