I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Captain McFinn. I received a complimentary subscription to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
We are a techie family. My husband works as a software programmer, and we always seem to have some new computer or tablet sitting around somewhere. My boys have been playing with our phones and iPad since they were babies. They didn’t always know what they were doing, but they loved using their fingers to control the things on screen. Even now, Daniel will go up to the television and try to use it as a giant touch screen. What an age we live in!
Dexter will be four years old next month, so he has actually started to become very good at understanding how the games and apps work. Our iPad is still his favorite “toy,” and we keep a few kid-friendly games on there so that he can play and learn. So when we were recently offered the chance to review the Captain McFinn Swim and Play app, I knew he’d be a great little tester. The iPad app, available from the Apple iTunes Store, is based on the popular Captain McFinn storybook character who lives in the undersea world of Sand Dusty Reef with his friends.
When you first boot up the game, it asks you to pick a fish avatar. He likes pink, so he always chooses the pink fish. It then asks you to input a name for your fish. I told him he could choose any name he liked, but he was adamant the fish was called Dexter, like him.
Once your child chooses his avatar, he gets to use his finger to control his fish and explore this awesome underwater world. Interacting with sea creatures, collecting stickers and setting off animations, Dexter was enthralled by his experience. His favorite thing was the jellyfish who kept trying to give him peanut butter. He laughed uproariously, shrieking “PEANUT BUTTER JELLYFISH!”
There was so much for him to explore and so many amazing things to see. Every direction he went, he was met with new things to see and new friends to interact with. He loved it!
All of this would have made it a great app on its own. I know he would be kept busy for hours if we let him with just this alone. But what makes this app truly special is the live component. A real-life person on the other end of the app, interacting with the kids and leading them through adventures and activities. Captain McFinn Swim & Play is the first-ever children’s app, aimed at kids ages 3-5, that allows the users to truly interact and communicate back with a live host, who can praise the child’s accomplishments in the game and even call players out by name. Swim & Play allows children and their parents to touch content in a way never before done – and all in a secure setting alongside their friends. The excitement in his face when his name was called out and he could hear the other kids clapping for him was awesome to see. The host helps the parent and child navigate through an interactive experience, learning important pro-social life lessons, such as kindness and sharing, in a fun and engaging way.
The Captain McFinn Swim & Play app is available using a subscription model. The freemium subscription model offers 10 minutes of free play at the start of the game, with subscription tiers of 1-month, 3-month and 6-month periods. The pricing is $4.59, $3.59 and $2.59 per month, respectively. It truly is a fantastic app for kids. Dexter even took some of the fun into the real world by trying to teach his little brother how to pick up some dirty laundry. He gave him short instructions, and when Daniel did it, Dexter instructed his dad and me to clap. It was super cute.
The app complies with all COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) safety standards, so although parents/children can see the host, the host cannot see them. Through proprietary technology, the host reacts to prompts, responses and creations by the child and texts from the parent (through a secure chat box) to make the interactive experience truly customized.