Like most children of his age L is a big fan of the Gruffalo. In fact it’s not just him, we’re a family of Gruffalo admirers. It’s one of my favourite books to read to him. So when we were asked to try out Magic Light Pictures ‘The Gruffalo Spotter’ app, we straight away said yes. I’m always up for a bit of Gruffalo Spotting.
The collaboration between Magic Light Pictures and Forestry Commission England, bringing The Gruffalo characters to life in the forest using an augmented reality app, wasn’t new to us. In fact I already had the app installed on my phone from a previous trip into the Deep Dark Forest to spot a Gruffalo.
The Gruffalo Spotter app has been designed for exclusive use at twenty six forests across the country where visitors can join the adventure through the deep dark wood. It is brilliant. A bit buggy and a bit laggy but worth using as it is so much fun and really worth it.
You follow clues round a special trail and look out for the track signs of the characters from The Gruffalo. Mouse, Fox, Snake, Owl and of course the Gruffalo. The self-led trail at Thetford High Lodge isn’t too long at all, a nice length for young children but long enough that older children (and adults) are entertained.
It is packed really fun, with spinners helping you guess which animals you are tracking, binocular cut outs helping you find the way and then when you find your character you get to use the app to bring the character to life with a fun animation, plus after the animation has played through you can go and take photos alongside them.
The photos are automatically added to the device’s gallery, if you want they can be easily shared via social media with the hashtag #GruffaloSpotters.
To run alongside the trail and app you can purchase a £3 activity bag. With extra activity ideas, loads of facts, a pencil, stickers and little booklet to complete it’s an inexpensive way to add to your day. You also get a little credit card sized magnifying glass and ruler combination, perfect for finding clues and tracking down creepy crawlies. It’s worth noting you don’t have to buy the pack, but it is a lovely addition.
Both times we’ve done the trail there have been several other families following it round as well. Nearly all of whom have been using the app. It is a real giggle and a great way to combine tech and nature for a fun day outside.
Just to add to our day out we were sent a fab Gruffalo Rucksack from Little Life. L adores this. It’s a great size. Looks amazing and is really comfortable for him. He also got some superb Gruffalo Wellies from Brands International that you can buy from Sainsbury’s or Debenhams. The comments he has had on these are fantastic, they are always noticed and everyone loves them. They have passed a very thorough puddle testing too.
To play with at home we got The Gruffalo’s Child Soft Skittle Set from Aurora World, available at John Lewis. This is so cute. All of the animals from the books have been turned into skittles and they look amazing. L doesn’t like knocking them over with the ball because they are too cute and might get hurt. Adorable.
The Gruffalo Spotter’s app has been developed and animated by Nexus Studios and is available for free with no in-app purchases from the App Store, Google Play and Amazon. If your local Forest is anything like Thetford Forest you’ll want to download it before you go to avoid disappointment. There’s not much of a mobile signal. I definitely recommend checking it out. It’s so much fun.
For further details please visit forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo
Disclosure – we received our Gruffalo goodies and our Activity Pack at the forest in exchange for our honest views. All opinions are my own.