New Location: Royal Observatory
Recently, I started a new project. I’ve worked on many different ideas over the years but this one is different. For the first time in my life I’m working on a project that combines many of my passions (my kids, my family, love of design, coding, travel, history, and exploration). This project gives me purpose. Before I jump into it, I should give you a bit of the back story…
My family and I, like many families, enjoy traveling. Ever since the kids were babies, we’ve been taking them all over the United States. Now that they are older, we’ve expanded our trips to include Europe. We’ve been to England, France, and Italy. Soon we’ll spend some time in Spain.
One thing that I’ve noticed during our travels is how much our kids love to learn. Each new place presents new challenges, new cultures, sometimes, new languages. Further, each new place is rich in history. Thousands of years of history that have evolved and morphed each destination into what it is today.
When we travel, we make it a point to learn about the history of these places. We visit museums, churches, government buildings, parks, farms, memorials, and more. We explore. We walk. We ride. And, we read…a lot. Or, at least, we try to. Kids, at least our kids, don’t like to spend their days reading about history. They want to know what the importance of a location is — they want the highlights. They want to get straight to the interesting stories. And they don’t like to wait for their parents to read all the information before they are given the condensed version.
My daughter likes to talk about a story she learned when we visited Salisbury Cathedral involving the poisoning of William Longespée. The mystery and how it was solved fascinated her.
How do we make the experience better for parents and kids?
As a developer, I thought it would be fun to develop an app that would give kids the information they needed to stay engaged. This app would help them to explore and learn about where they are and give them fun collectibles to use for sharing stories later.
With the app, kids can track the countries and states that they visit. Further, there are historical sites that can be accessed in the app when you’re near them. So, if you’re in Washington DC and you walk past the White House, you can popup its history. When you’re done, you can click on a stamp button to add a White House stamp to the passport book in the app. Kids can read through historical summaries and answer trivia questions to show what they learned. If all the questions are answered correctly, then a special virtual gold coin is also added to their passport book.
Now, kids can learn, answer trivia, and collect stamps and coins from the places they visit. Not only are they more engaged in what they are currently seeing, but they can use the app to find new places to explore later on.
The app is constantly growing. New locations are added every week and we recently added historical people to the collection.
The app is called Duckwyn. It was named after my son’s stuffed animal. My son and I like to make up fun stories at bedtime and Duckwyn is usually in the middle of the action. So when it came time to name the app, it was fitting that an app that is all about helping kids learn and understand history be named after our fun bedtime storyteller, Duckwyn.
Duckwyn is now in beta. You can sign up and start exploring today. Your kids will love tracking the places they visit and sharing their journey with their friends and family.
Since we’re in beta, I have a limited number of free accounts I’m giving out. If you’re interested, let me know, and I’ll send you the details to sign up.
To continue to follow the Duckwyn Project, you can find us at our blog, Twitter, Facebook, or on Instagram. Come by and share your travel stories. We’d love to hear them.
Get your kids their own Travel Passport Books at http://app.duckwyn.com
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Chris Wills, founder and developer of the Duckwyn Travel Passport, a travel app for parents and kids to explore and document their travel adventures.