This post is part of a sponsored campaign for Playing Forward. I received compensation for my participation, but my review and opinions are my own
One of the reasons I love being a family tech blogger is because I get to learn about and share all kinds of amazing apps, devices, gadgets, and games out there for kids these days. That’s why I was excited to learn about Maxi the Taxi Dog – a fun new augmented reality app for kids.
Maxi the Taxi Dog was originally a children’s storybook published by Penguin 25 years ago. The app brings the book to life for a new generation of kids and, of course, their parents who may remember the classic story.
In the app we follow Maxi the Taxi Dog and taxi driver Jim around New York City as they explore the city and pick up passengers along the way and make stops at museums and more. All the while teaching lessons about managing emotions, overcoming fears, and more.
It is an augmented reality app which means it puts you right into the story.
There are two versions. One is 3D where you watch Maxi and Jim drive around in their cab. You can tap the screen and it will rotate to different views.
Check out this video:
You can see it looks like an animated taxi, Jim, Maxi, and Tupo are right in our living room! Kora walks around the taxi as if it’s right there. As the story goes along it’s as if you are standing in the museum and you can look all around.
It really is a wonderful way to experience a story. I can’t even imagine how incredible younger kids would think this is.
Yoshi wanted to get in on the fun too – you can see her sitting on our window seat in real life and then in the app as if she’s a part of the story.
I like that there are options for the story audio. You see the story text at the bottom of the screen. Kids can read it themselves if they are able, they can tap a specific word to hear it said, or they can tap on the talking icon and the characters will read the lines.
There is even an option to personalize Jim & Maxi. Each personalization costs five coins and you start with 25 coins which is enough for 5 personalizations. You can buy more coins as in app purchases. Some of the options for Maxi include changing body types, changing bandana prints, and eye color. You can choose Random too.
I do have to confess that I wish this app came with some instructions. It took a long time to figure out that to get the story to continue you have to swipe left. You can go back a screen by swiping right as well. Also we never figured out what the butterflies were for. One would flutter around the car and then in other scenes there are 3 or 4 butterflies and there’s even a butterfly icon that fills in as you go along. We tried tapping them, dragging them, holding them down, everything we could think of and just couldn’t figure them out. But it didn’t deter us from liking the app in anyway. We just would have loved to have an instructions screen so we would know if we were missing something and they actually enhanced the story in some way.
Kora thought this app was amazing and she is older, so this will definitely be a big hit with the younger crowd. I love Playing Forward, the group that designed the app. On their website it says their primary focus is “on play-based, digital experiences for kids, experiences that enhance reading skills and which promote socio-emotional learning through warm and engaging narratives.” How great is that!
We enjoyed the Maxi the Taxi Dog app and recommend it to other families as well. It’s an app that is not only entertaining but teaches important life lessons as well. It’s interactive ability will have kids coming back again and again to see their friends Maxi and Jim, read about their adventures, and to learn along the way.
I’m also excited to share that Playing Forward is offering the opportunity to win an incredible Family Fun Weekend in NYC!
The Grand Prize is a STEAM powered weekend of play and exploration in Manhattan for a family of four including:
- Air Transportation
- Two-Night Hotel Stay
- Visa Gift Card To Cover Meals
- Museum Tickets
- Plus personalized experiences at the Natural History Museum & the Children’s Museum of the Arts
The Runner Up will receive a new 9.7 inch, 32GB Apple iPad with Wifi Connectivity.
How exciting is that! Enter here for a chance to win! Good luck!