When I was a kid, my family would 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 the days before the commercialized internet (much less wireless internet), apps, tablets, and before most people even had a basic cell phone, my sister and I entertained ourselves with books, car games, magazines, books-on-tape, and my favorite of all: GeoSafari.
Educational Insights’ GeoSafari Laptop looked different back in the 1990s than it does now, but the concept and overall user experience is mostly the same. By the third grade, I was a geography whiz. I could identify every state and state capital, the oceans and seas, rivers, mountain ranges, South and Central American countries and capitals, and more. While GeoSafari offers more than just geography, it was what I liked best. (To this day, I still kick myself for not trying out for Where In the World is Carmen Sandiego? I totally would have won that trip at the end.) I credit GeoSafari for my enthusiasm for geography and maps, which I still harbor today.
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 number code of the card they want to play. The laptop then lights up next to a task (i.e. Nile River), and the player then locates the river on the map and types in the number identifying the river on the card. The laptop then lets the player know if his or her answer is correct. If not, players have a chance to try again. After several wrong answers, the laptop shows the right answer and asks again later.
GeoSafari Laptop includes 63 double-sided lesson cards that help kids learn about key topics such as math, science, language arts, history, and geography. 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.