Cosmo Camp: Picnic Problems is an interactive storybook for parents and preschoolers to read along together, downloadable for the iPad. Join Migo the polar bear and Pandy the panda, two space travelling friends who explore the galaxy in their space camper. When they land on a peaceful planet for a rest, they meet a new friend, Tanny, and deal with a pesky rain shower that keeps ruining their picnic!
There are three ways to read the story. In Read Together mode, parents and/or kids can read the book aloud to each other. Up in the top right corner of this mode, parents can tap an icon for a question or idea to spark discussion about the story and other learning concepts. In Read To Me mode, the iPad reads the story aloud automatically. Lastly, in Read Along mode, the story is read like in Read To Me, but certain phrases from the characters can be read aloud and recorded by the child or parent, making for some silly voices for the story! Each page in the book has interactive spots to tap on. Play hide and seek on one page, or wipe mud off the screen in another, for instance.
There is also a special parents’ page where grown-ups can learn about the benefits of reading to your child and other ways and ideas to make the best use of the Cosmo Camp storybook. Other options can be adjusted here, too, like resetting the recorded messages. Like a good interactive storybook should be, you can also tap on each word to have it be read again. Only problem is sometimes it takes a while to register what word you tapped, especially small ones. So that could get a little frustrating.
Sold and downloaded separately from Picnic Problems is Cosmo Camp: Coloring. This is a coloring book program with pictures from the Picnic Problems story. Parents can go to a special page to adjust the age range (toddlers aged 2-3, or preschoolers aged 4-5), so the coloring activities grow with your child. In toddler mode, you have a more limited selection of colors and tools, while preschoolers get more colors, patterns, and paint tools. You can save up to 20 pictures and download more coloring pages for free.
Aside from the aforementioned word tapping issue, the only other problem I could see parents having with these games is they are a tiny bit on the pricey side compared to other App store devices. Picnic Problems and Cosmo Camp: Coloring run between 3 and 4 dollars each, but personally I don’t think that’s bad at all. For that price, you really are getting a quality product, and it’s much less expensive than a regular storybook or one of the other interactive ones. Plus, the opportunities it gives to spend with your child are priceless. While I don’t believe it’ll fully replace physically turning pages of a real book, Picnic Problems is still a good buy, I think.