Peach Ice Cream Adventures (PICA) will be a tablet-based adventure game, specifically aimed at 3-6 year olds, as a second-language learning tool. Our initial focus is on Mandarin Chinese, French, Spanish and ESL (for Spanish speakers). PICA is a “digital/virtual slice” of a successful Early Education program that engages students in the Chinese language within the context of Science and Math. PICA will have a Parental Dashboard that will allow parents to view their kids’ play patterns.
The game script and rough concept art have been created, but additional funds are needed to finish this learning tool. Kickstarter will be used to raise the needed funds for launching PICA. Our Kickstarter campaign is live now at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2090484647/peach-ice-cream-adventures-pica-2nd-language-learn?ref=live
The best time to learn a second language is before 6 years old, yet most language-learning tools are geared towards kids in 1st grade and up. The few that are available for younger kids are either passive (watching a DVD), or are not engaging enough to hold a youngster’s attention. Peach Ice Cream Adventures (PICA) aims to fill that gap, by providing a multi-sensory, tablet-based language immersion game that teaches 3-6 year olds Chinese, French, Spanish, or German (depending on fundraising goals reached, see below).
Interest in raising children to be bilingual is on the rise because of globalization, and parents (whether they are monolingual or multilingual) realize that being bi/multilingual will be beneficial as our environments become more linguistically and culturally diverse. Although it is certainly possible to learn a new language at any age, learning languages comes easier to people when they are younger. There are also cognitive benefits for bilingual children, as they enjoy a more developed thought process.
What is Peach Ice Cream Adventures?
Peach Ice Cream Adventures is a gamified 2nd-language learning tool for 3- to 6-year-olds. The game lets children follow Peach Blossom Monkey into magical lands to seek ingredients for making peach ice cream. Along the way, the game aims to teach young players about shapes, colors, numbers, plants, animals and how ice cream is made. In full language immersion, the children learn a second language through the vehicle of science exploration. It will be multi-sensory, so it provides a very rich learning experience: you have images for the visual learners, sound (an obvious necessity for language-learning) for the audio learner, and touch for the kinesthetic learner. The multi-sensory experience helps provide various cues that can be reactive, which is a very important aspect to learning another language. By incorporating gamification techniques, the intrinsic rewards of goal-achievement within a game environment self-motivates the learner to process and retain new material better. An actual game (not just animation and sound attached to flash card formats) provides that engagement through contextual relevance, so they learn by logical association instead of rote memorization. Also, the learning curriculum is actually based off an existing, successful Chinese Immersion Program for 2-6 year olds. PICA is the first of many gamified “digital slices” of this Immersion Program.
“We were aware that there is a narrow window of opportunity where young children have the capacity to naturally pick up other languages if engaged in an active learning environment. Also, with females disproportionately under-represented in the math and science realms, we were attracted by the concept of learning a language through authentic experimentation – making hypotheses, testing, and analyzing results in a developmentally appropriate, collaborative, and fun setting. I’m stunned with how quickly she has internalized words and concepts, and how she uses the language spontaneously.”
Mother of 4 year old, non-Chinese speaker.
“When Vicky started Adalia, I was very hopeful. Finally, here is a program that is fun. Some parents think a “fun approach” to Chinese language acquisition is only beneficial to children who have no Chinese background. I disagree. Associating fun, relevance, and practicality from a child’s point of view are self-motivating factors for my daughter. I could see the result of the confluent effects of her Chinese school, Adalia, and home learning. She consistently initiates and carries a conversation in Chinese with me and does not resist Chinese anymore. This marks a big step forward because instead of spending time persuading her to speak Chinese — and in the process, getting upset and frustrated — I can now coach her Chinese. Furthermore, Adalia emphasizes science in the curriculum. This greatly expands a child’s vocabulary and complements school and family efforts.” Mother of 5 year old, native Chinese-speaker
You can read more about these, and other moms, by clicking on “Stories”.
What is Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. For a lack of better terminology, it is a pre-ordering platform that lets interested prospective customers pre-purchase (via pledges) to support the development and launch of the product. One catch is that Kickstarter is an “all-or-nothing” deal…you need to raise a minimum of the dollar amount project creators state they need to launch the product. Even if you are a few dollars away from the goal $ amount, the project doesn’t get funded.
However, projects are allowed to raise above the minimum amount. This is great, because it allows projects (like PICA) to determine the funds required to launch a basic version of the product…and create “stretch goals” that allow project creators to add more features to the basic product.
Please pledge on Kickstarter now and “pre-order
What is PICA going to be?
The beauty of this project is that PICA will be built of an existing technology platform, allowing PICA to be in different languages without having to recreate the whole game with each version. Because Kickstarter is an “all-or-nothing” funding platform where we don’t get any of the funds if we don’t raise our minimum fundraise goal, we separated our fundraising goals into tiers. If we raise at least $60K, we will have PICA for Mandarin Chinese and French. There is a lot of interest in learning Chinese nowadays, and it’s the mother-tongue of the 3 moms behind the PICA Project. Several members of the PICA Project team also have a personal connection with the French language.
If we raise $120K, we will also do a Spanish version, and an ESL for Spanish-speakers version. Not only is Spanish a popular language to learn and/or maintain as a mother-tongue, the PICA Project team has a personal connection with schools that could use a tool like PICA in their classrooms, and we’d like to make that happen.
Prior to the launch of our Kickstarter campaign, many of our Facebook fans told us they would like to have a multi-lingual app that includes a variety of languages, and German was mentioned quite frequently. So if we are able to raise $175K, PICA will be a multi-lingual version of Chinese, French, Spanish, and German (you select which language you want to play the game in).
As a PICA Project Supporter through Kickstarter, we will keep all pledgers informed of the game development progress, give you sneak peaks of the game, and other cool updates so you can be part of the creation process.
If PICA is funded beyond our basic fund request, what will happen?
As mentioned above, if we don’t reach our minimum fundraise goal of $60K, the project does not move forward at all and nothing gets made. However, if we raise more than $60K, we will make the following happen:
Stretch Goal #1:
$70K to develop Android versions. If we reach a fundraising goal of $70K, we will develop an Android version of PICA in Mandarin Chinese (with English support).
Stretch Goal #2:
$120K to develop 2 more language versions of PICA (Spanish and ESL for Spanish-speakers). As mentioned previously, PICA will be integrated into an existing technology platform that will enable us to quickly swap other languages instead of Mandarin Chinese (among other cool things for future 2nd language learning games).
If we reach a fundraising goal of $120K, then we will create an iPad AND Android version of PICA in Spanish (with English support)….AND we will ALSO develop an ESL version of PICA for Spanish-speakers (English iPad and Android game with Spanish support).
How do we support PICA?
First, please pledge on Kickstarter now and “pre-order Peach Ice Cream Adventures. We have only 28 days to raise the funds we need to develop PICA. As I mentioned before – Kickstarter funding is an “all-or-nothing” deal. If we don’t reach our minimum fundraise goal, we cannot make the game. When you pledge for monetary support to pre-order PICA, it is only a pledge. The payment does not go through until the Kickstarter campaign is over, and we have the minimum support amount pledged. We are allowed to raise more than the minimum amount, so that additional features (such as Android development, parent-customizable dashboard to adjust learning objects, and additional languages for PICA) can be implemented.
Second, follow along with our journey…even if it’s just for camaraderie…by “liking” our Facebook Page.
Third, help us spread the word about the PICA project. We know that there are many parents out there that share our same struggle of maintaining a 2nd language with their kids. And there are many others out there that may not have the struggle, but see great value in introducing their child to another language. The goal is to spread the word about PICA as much as possible as quickly as possible, since this project is time-sensitive.
We are allowed to raise more than the minimum amount, so that additional features (such as Android development, parent-customizable dashboard to adjust learning objects, and additional languages for PICA) can be implemented.
If you have any questions, please email PICAcampaign@gmail.com.