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Shaun the Sheep creators produce new app to help children learn English

Article By: Ellie Spanswick, News Editor

Learning Time with Timmy 3 is the latest app designed to keep children entertained and help them to learn English.

The app was produced by animators Aardman and the British Council and offers parents a solution to help entertain their children on long journeys, or when the weather is poor and they can’t play outside as often during the summer the summer holidays.

Aardman and the British Council have worked together to combine the Council’s expertise in teaching English with the animation studio’s well-loved character Timmy, allowing children to learn English in a fun and interactive way through three engaging games.

Practicing vocabulary and boosting cognitive skills

Children are introduced to reading through games which encourage them to practice vocabulary, and boost their cognitive and memory skills.

Mobile learning manager at the British Council, Neil Ballantyne, said: “We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Aardman and collaborating with them to develop apps that children really engage with and learn from. We know from observation and the feedback children have given us that we have built something both fun and educational.

“Parents can be confident their children are in safe hands as Learning Time with Timmy 3 does not feature any in-app purchases or advertisements. This makes it an ideal app for parents who are looking to provide their children with an exciting but safe activity that can inspire their children to learn English and develop their essential skills.

“The key to success for this app is developing something that children really engage with and learn from. We know from observation and the feedback children have given us that we have built something both fun and educational.”

‘Learning Time with Timmy 3’ is free of adverts and in-app purchases so parents can be confident that their children are not accessing any inappropriate content, while the in-app music can be turned off so that their children can enjoy the app quietly.

Fun and educational

The app builds on vocabulary that children may have learnt in the previous two apps and features the reading game, ‘Hatch Match’ – which requires children to match pairs of words, introducing them to simple vocabulary such as: ‘tree’, ‘cat’ or ‘dog’.

The app also features several levels of difficulty to choose between depending on how strong a child’s reading skills are, while games become more challenging as children progress, allowing them to improve their memory skills by matching three, then four, then six pairs in a game.

‘I-Spy’ required children to find hidden objects on a beach, such as: a bucket, a spade or a fish, the game boosts children’s concentration, and as they progress objects become harder to find which requires them to focus on the task in hand.

The third game on the app, ‘Rub-a-Dub’ encourages children to listen to the narrator and swipe away items including: sand, sweets and beach towels to find hidden objects underneath. The game has been designed to ensure children are able to develop their motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

To ensure children remain interested and motivated, each game rewards children with stickers so they can make their own sticker scenes and short video clips that can be enjoyed without an interest connection, allowing children to watch Timmy and his friends at any time.

Supporting children in the digital age

In June 2016, The National Literacy Trust published a report on early years practitioners lacking confidence when using technology such as apps, games and digital books to develop children’s literacy skills.

Commenting on their recent third annual Early Years Literacy Survey: The Use of Technology to Support Literacy in the Early Years, early years project manager at the National Literacy Trust, Charlotte Billington, said: “Technology is everywhere and young children are increasingly using touchscreens which can now be found in almost every family home.

“However early years practitioners are not using technology to the same degree as parents and only half are confident in doing so to develop children’s early communication skills. Our research shows practitioners are less confident using touchscreens than books to share stories with children, although using technology can particularly benefit boys and children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Now is an important time for early years practitioners to look at how they can support children’s future learning in a digital age. To increase practitioners’ confidence in using touchscreens and supporting parents with using technology, we have designed a range of exciting new resources including videos for practitioners, activity sheets and a film and the guide and video for parents which are all available on our website and network.”

The app is suitable for use on phones and tablets and allows parents to ensure that their child is learning as they’re being entertained.

Find out more and information on downloading the app here:


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