Growing up, we’d pack up the car and take the 8+ hour road trip from Rhode Island to Virginia to visit my mom’s side of the family several times a year. In those days, before the commercialized Internet (much less wireless Internet), tablets, apps, and before most people even had a basic cell phone, my sister and I entertained ourselves with books, magazines, car games, audio books, and my favorite of all: GeoSafari.
Educational Insights’ GeoSafari Laptop looked different back in the ’90s than it does today, but the concept and overall user experience is mostly the same. By the third grade, I was a whiz at geography. I could identify every state and state capital, the oceans and seas, mountain ranges, rivers, Central and South American countries and capitals, and more. While GeoSafari isn’t just about geography, it was what I used the most. (To this day, I still kick myself for not trying out for Where In the World is Carmen San Diego? I totally would have won that trip at the end.) I credit GeoSafari for my enthusiasm for geography and maps, which I still have to this day.
Today, GeoSafari has a new look. It’s more compact and much more portable, but still features the numbers and lights of its ancestor. Users ages 8 and up enter the code of the card they want to play. The laptop then lights up next to a task (i.e. Amazon River), and the player then locates the river on the map and types in the number on the card identifying the river. The laptop then lets the player know if his or her answer is correct, and if not, the player has a chance to try again. If he or she fails to get the correct answer, the laptop shows the answer and asks again later.
GeoSafari Laptop includes 63 double-sided lesson cards that reinforce key topics such as science, language arts, math, geography, and history. An expansion card set of an additional 63 double-sided cards is also available. For kids ages 3 to 7, there’s GeoSafari Jr. Laptop, which prepares kids for math, reading, social studies, and beginning science. Both versions of GeoSafari Laptop offer three modes of play: one player, two player, or head-to-head competition.
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