by Micaela Williamson
Pilot Pals, a new app from the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, teaches children about airplanes and rockets through four games inspired by the history of early flight. This is the museum's first app and is geared toward children ages 4 to 6. While playing Pilot Pals, kids can name their hanger and chose a Pilot Pal to accompany them on their journey. Plus, the app features content, aesthetics, artifacts, and games based on the early learners exhibits at the the museum's "Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Gallery."
Pilot Pals features four games—Gears, Weather, Rocket Stacking and Airplane Parts which introduce children to basic concepts about weather, parts of the airplane, rockets, sizes, shapes and patterns. All the aircraft in Pilot Pals are based on aircraft from the museum’s collection and include the Douglas World Cruiser Chicago, the Lockheed 5B Vega, the Piper J-2 Cub and the Autogiro Company of America AC-35.
“This new app helps us advance our strategy of reaching beyond the walls of the museum,” said Maureen Kerr, education chair at the museum. “It allows us to provide fun and meaningful educational experiences for children who are unable to visit and learn with us in person.”
The Pilot Pals iPad app is free and is available on the App Store. Pilot Pals can also be played on computers and mobile devices on the "Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Gallery” website. This new app is made possible through the generous support of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
The National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. Both facilities are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free, but there is a $15 fee for parking at the Udvar-Hazy Center.
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