DEMAREST, N.J. — Demarest mother Sandhya Nankani has developed a modern spin on an old-fashioned word game, and is using it to teach young children literacy.
When players win a game, the word goes into their "gallery," which they can then use to draw accompanying pictures with and create digital stories, thereby solidifying their understanding of that word.
“Research shows that arts education and creative literacy can help to lay the groundwork for future skills needed for the personal and professional success for today’s children,” Nankani told Daily Voice.
“With HangArt, I wanted to create a creative and collaborative playground that combines literacy and the arts in a meaningful way by allowing kids to do the things they love to do the most—play games, draw pictures, and tell stories.”
The app, which is available for download for $1.99, has received an Editor’s Choice Award from Children’s Technology Review. It is currently featured in both the Apple App Store and Google Play , which Nankani said is no small feat.
"That means we were handpicked to be featured on the main page," Nankani said. "That is very hard to do as an independent producer and publisher."
Before starting Literary Safari, Nankani spent more than a decade creating children’s educational content and learning games for clients including Scholastic, PBS, and Sesame Workshop.
She decided to create an app because she was fascinated by how children are learning through digital games. But Nankani said many of the ideas for HangArt came from her own experiences.
"I played a lot of board games at home with my own kids and I wanted to create an experience that would foster joint engagement," Nankani said, citing HangArt's two-player mode. "Parents can enjoy HangArt because they grew up playing hangman and they can help their kids become better readers and writers."
HangArt also features include an emoji self-rating system and the ability for parents and educators to monitor their child's performance.
It is currently available for on IoS, Android, Tablet and Google Play.
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