Marshmallow Games, children’s interactive access to technology

Marshmallow game

Marshmallow Games was born out of an innovative idea about a young entrepreneurial mother from Bari who wants to support children’s growth through interactive apps.

Of Francesca Leoci

Cristina Angelillo
Cristina Angelillo

Cristina Angelillo, with one technical background and an education as an engineer, he undertook a career in a telecommunications company for 5 years in design. During her first pregnancy, however, Cristina realizes that despite her skills in the industry, her role did not exactly reflect her passions.

“The first time I saw a child use new technologies, it was impressive to see how naturally he used these devices, immediately thinking that something had to be done to get the most out of them.” – with these words, Cristina explains with emotion how her great change took place on a professional and personal level. “My passions have always been children and teaching applied didactics to the little ones, so I decided to give up everything and create something of my own in this field”. His technical skills have proven to be fundamental in this path where technology goes hand in hand with didactic teaching.

What are Marshmallow Games?

In today’s reality, there are two different approaches to technology:passive access or what we have with TV or video on mobile devices; L ‘active access instead it is towards training videos or, in this case, with training apps. In this way, the child who comes into contact with the technology begins to make conscious use of it through tools that are able to stimulate his creativity and imagination. On this basis, Marshmallow Games was born, a website with several gaming apps for children between the ages of 3 and 6, aimed at their growth and development at an educational level.

Cristina Angelillo tells us: “Our last app was Smart Tales, a collection of over 70 interactive stories. Basically, we’ve taken the classic format of books, making them innovative with technology.” Inde Smart stories there are interactive stories with a narrator, animations to bring the story to life and finally games. The child interacting with the app will face a small challenge at the end of each story based on learning STEM fag (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The special thing about these apps is that every time a new story is started, the game configuration will change, making the challenge always new.

In addition, each story deals with sensitive topics: respect for the environment, inclusion, gender equality, bullying prevention, justice and tolerance. Thanks to this initiative, UNICEF Italy has chosen Smart Tales to promote children’s rights in an innovative way.

Interesting feedback

“We have many partnerships in the kindergartens. We go to schools both to talk to teachers about the didactic part, but also to actually test the app for children “ explains Cristina. Depending on the choices and uses that children make of the app, the Smart Tales team analyzes behaviors to get answers on what works and what can be improved. The feedback obtained has determined child approval first and foremost, but also by parents who have noted the effectiveness of digital technology in a purely didactic field.

The setting of the app stimulates the calm and patience of the little ones, and pushes them to stay focused on the story and understand its dynamics. In parents, gods are very often made surveys to understand the app’s progress and operation and any improvements to be made. A surprising discovery fascinated Cristina, who tells us: “During our meetings with parents, we have found that many of them use Smart Tales with children with autism spectrum disorders. Ours is a very calm app, so even children who have difficulty concentrating or staying still, with Smart Tales are able to calm down and find the right concentration ”.

Towards a digital culture change

Today there is still one cultural resistance from the parents’ side to the digital, which to them appears as a tool that can create addiction. “What I want to do with Marshmallow Games is raise parents’ awareness of the importance of the digital and the opportunities it offers. If used well, it can really give children a lot.” notes Cristina. Very often, the resource itself is confused with its use, which triggers erroneous prejudices about technology and innovative tools. Marshmallow Games’ goal is to appreciate the time children spend on these devices and to showcase the possibilities that digital provides when used interactively. “Of course you need the right tools, and we take care of this by planning apps that help kids grow up.” explains Cristina.

In addition to raising awareness among parents, it aims to educate children to use technology consciously. It is necessary to teach him to distinguish what content is of quality and what content is not, as the approach that the child has to the technology so far is almost always passive.

National Courier editorial staff

Corriere di Puglia and Lucania editorial staff

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