I walked into a house with my Piccoli horse under my arm and there was a collective “Can I play with it?” My horse was passed from one sibling to the other, taking turns with their new favorite toy. Depending on who was holding it, our fuzzy horse with the beautiful long mane and tail was immediately named “Blueberry” by the brother and “Strawberry” by his sister. We learned that every show horse has a unique name so we looked for the code under the saddle and found out that our filly’s show name is Gretel. She went to the diner for breakfast, on errands, to the pool, spent lots of time in the playroom and of course landed in bed at night with her owners. Besides providing a companion for open-ended pretend play and conversation, Piccoli Horses introduce little ones to technology with relevant content for kids, animals at play, in their app, “Piccoli Zoo.” Children engage in a simple, age-appropriate, multi-sensory experience as they move through two sets of five animals to name, learn nouns and verbs, imitate animals’ actions, and hear short descriptive sentences. “Bear,” “Walk,” “Walk like the bear.” Each animal has four beautifully illustrated steps through photographs, as kids press the child button to hear the name of the animal, the action verb–reach, roar, jump–and the direction, “Reach, like the giraffe, reach way up. reach,” followed by reinforcing phrases, “Awesome reaching up like a giraffe!” Interestingly, I thought the app would be a great resource for a child delayed in speech, due to its simplicity, repetition, pauses for responses and reinforcing words after each animal activity and blowing activities (great for strengthening oral motor muscles). In reading further on the Piccoli Horses website, I discovered that CEO Kimberley Rogers developed this app based on 15 years of learning through experts as she watched her own son’s journey in learning to speak despite a delay. I found that siblings joined in the fun as a 2 year-old discovered how to “swipe”  the Piccoli horse icon to the left to bring up the next photo and tap the child icon to hear the words, directions and praises (exercising fine motor abilities). Older siblings loved performing, showing off  “fly,” “slither,” and “crouch,” in a little reverse game of charades. Traditional pretend play paired with an age appropriate app to help build language skills, makes these horses best of show!

Available at Piccoli Horses. Click here