Summer vacations have started in schools, and many of you are probably worried about your children’s insistence on fiddling with your smartphone or tablet to kill boredom. While that cannot, or need not, be completely avoided, there are measures you can take to ensure they are looking at the right content.
If your child goes to playschool or a pre-primary student, a suggestion is to download children-friendly apps on your phone/tablet and give the device to them for a pre-decided time slot after switching off the Internet. Storytelling apps can be best pastime for children getting bored at home during the vacations. There are plenty of apps available for iOS, Android and Windows devices, and a bunch getting popular in India comes from the Bulbulapps stable.
Bulbulapps offers a variety of interactive stories and rhymes that are animated and illustrated. The bedtime stories with moral lessons are user-friendly and children find them attractive. There are stories from all around the world and the app is updated regularly with new books and stories. The central character in many of the stories is ‘Bulbul’, the bird “curious and constantly in pursuit of discovering new things”.
“The character truly fits the child and his/her imagination in a beautiful manner,” says Prakash Dantuluri, Founder and CEO, BulbulApps.com.
At Bulbulapps, storytellers, artists, animators and voice artistes collaborate and create and recreate new and known folk stories. “Once the content is approved by our team, we code them and create apps that go to our apps library called ‘bulbulapps’ across app stores. The idea is to publish stories and apps that children will really enjoy and parents can trust. We want the parents to know they will be right for their child,” says Dantuluri, an entrepreneur with experience in both film-making and building technology platforms.
“It was important to connect the grandma, pop and mom stories to the digital world without losing its essence, innocence and inherent cultural aesthetics,” he says.
Working in this direction, Bulbulapps has tried to introduce the digital natives to Indian mythology with its ‘Adventures of Krishna’ series, which is already a hit with children. The segment is dedicated to the stories of little Krishna and his adventures in Vrindavan.
The app library has something for every kid aged below six. The ‘What is it’ series, for example, helps children learn about animal sounds and names, while the ‘Baby Bath Time’ story has a baby going for a bath in the tub one her own for the first time. There is this ‘Potty Potty’ story that has infant Tommy in a fix when his mom runs out of diapers and asks him to start using the potty. In ‘Baby’s First Zoo’, the dad takes the kid to the zoo to answer all her questions about different animals, birds and insects.
‘Mowgli and Bulbul’ series has Mowgli, the little boy raised in the jungle by a bunch of wolves, and his ‘best friend Bulbul’ set out on their adventures in the jungle. Bulbulapps has interpreted the The Jungle Book classic in a modern way, designing it in the form of an interactive ebook application.
Bulbulapps also has a Tuk-Tuk series, a ‘travel app for kids’ that helps them discover a city in an interactive manner. It’s the first crowd-funded app by the Hyderabad-based start-up. The $2,000 app project had 60+ backers with investors invited to commit to the Kickstarter (a crowd-funding site) project in January this year.
Created by a team of seven artists — written by a writer from Bangalore, the team included an artist from New Delhi, musicians from the UK and animators from Hyderabad — ‘Tuk-Tuk Goes To Hyderabad’ was launched in March and was the second product of the series. The first was ‘Tuk-Tuk Goes To Mumbai’. In future, children can explore more cities of the world riding the colourful three-wheeler through this app.
The library also has famous fairytales and other bedtime stories, such as ‘Cinderella’, ‘Snow White’ and ‘Pinocchio’, in animation format. The size of an average story is 20MB, with the developers currently working on bringing it down further to 10MB.
Bulbulapps has over 50 apps in its library at present, and the number is growing. While most of the apps are free to download, a few are paid. Currently available in English, Hindi and Telugu, the content will be available on all major Indian languages in the days to come, say the developers.
When it comes to storytelling apps, Appystore.in is another site that offers variety for children. Apart from popular fairytales, the site has an ‘Indian Superheroes’ segment featuring inspiring tales of bravery and wisdom of some great Indians, such as Rani Laxmibai, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Rajpur warrior kings, and other freedom fighters. The section also has interesting and informative stories, such as the history of Indian Rupee and Indus Valley Civilisation, catering to children aged 5-8.
The site also has a collection of rhymes, colouring and alphabet apps for pre-schoolers. An interesting feature is the Karaoke Rhymes section that allows children and parents to sing along. Every song has the first half with voice, and the second half repeating the rhyme without voice for kids to sing along and practise. AppyStore Kids Learning Videos are, however, available only for Android devices at present.
For children of all ages, there is free-to-download Amar Chitra Katha app available for iOS, Android and Windows devices. While you can read some of the stories for free, some are paid and subscription option is available for others. For a payment of Rs 300, you can read 25 books over 60 days. For a six-month subscription, you can borrow 60 titles for Rs 490.