A friend recently posted on her Facebook page about how her husband was rockin’ the fatherhood thing by using scrap lumber and building a bunk bed for to accommodate the 18″ dolls that her youngest child plays with. In a digital landscape, it’s nice to see that kids still have an interest in dolls.
Maybe it’s because there are so many accessories and furniture available to inspire the imaginative stories or perhaps it’s that there are options that fit the personalities of the world. The same digital world that many parents wish their children could escape provides the mediums that enrich our kids and teach them that not everyone lives the same lifestyle. These are the types of lessons that will hopefully inspire our children want to leave the world a better place than they found it.
Those differences, the global challenges and the dreams to “change the world, one heart at a time” were the inspiration for the missions of the Hearts for Hearts girls. These dolls weren’t simply modeled after various cultures, they were crafted to share the stories of real girls living in various regions: Rahel portraying Ethiopia, Consuelo representing Mexico, Dell personifying the United States, and Nahji symbolizing India.
Each doll depicts features of their heritage while wearing clothing and jewelry native to their culture. Not only is there a storybook that helps people learn about the needs around the world, but the website has sections devoted to each doll. Whether your child wants to learn about the day to day activities by reading a diary or play one of the games on the website. There are printable activities that include word puzzle, coloring page, recipes and crafts as well. Kennedy was amazed by the level of detail. From the beautiful jewelry to the henna tattoo on her hand, she was in awe of Nahji.
The dolls and website offer cultural diversity while leaving the door open for room to learn more. As you know, we’re big advocates for using board games as teaching tools and also recognize the value of educational apps that are disguised as entertainment. Learning about other complex science principles, customs, cultures, foods, people or whatever is always easier to absorb when it’s presented in a way that is entertaining. The people behind the Hearts for Hearts dolls have done just that with their new Heart Street Market app for iOS.
The Heart Street Market app features the homes of the four current girls I mentioned above and shows the locations of their homes on a globe. You can select which girl you want to learn more about by visiting her city. Once there, you can play a couple of games that represent some of the activities or customs of her region while working on missions to help supply goods and assist in building her community.
Let’s take Nahji in India as an example. Ducks in a Row is a game that involves simple swipe movements to collect eggs and bugs. As eggs are collected, the row of ducks gets longer and the maneuvering more difficult. Lotus Pond is a game where you help a frog collect mandalas in a pond. In Rahel’s Ethiopian community, the games revolve around collecting rain water in clay pots as well as kicking a soccer ball across the field while collecting goats and avoiding hazards.
In Mexico with Consuelo, you can learn about the Day of the Dead parade in a game similar to Ducks in a Row. Or if you’re hungry, head over to La Panaderia to collect ingredients and fill pastry orders. Here in the US with Dell, cats hop around on guitars to create music in one game and another, similar to the soccer game, has you collecting yarn.
The games in and of themselves are entertaining, but they also allow you to earn money to purchase supplies to fulfill missions that pop up regularly. The girls are asking for your help to purchase supplies to build in their communities or to pick up something needed by a teacher, family member or as a gift. You’ll visit the market to purchase these goods and with each complete mission, you gradually add to their neighborhood. Some of the missions reference supplies or products generally unfamiliar which is another way for kids to learn about new things!
The Heart Street Market app based on the Hearts for Hearts girls is scheduled to release this month and is a good way to extend the activity time when they are done playing with their dolls. Available now in the app store, visit the Hearts for Hearts website for additional news and updates. Find out what else the Hearts for Hearts girls are up to by visiting their Facebook page.
Are your kids more engaged learners with hands-on and digital activities such as these?