Going back to school this year is harder to navigate than years prior as kids face new challenges of remote learning, hybrid classroom environments, and many even participating in home schooling for the first time.

So, what can parents do to make the transition easier? For one, they can harness the power of play.

Carrol Titus, president and CEO of Golden Poppy, did just that by creating an augmented reality (AR) game that introduces kids to reading, physics, and computer science through an engaging, quick-paced, mobile outdoor fairytale.

In The Mysterious Disappearance of Unicorn Blue, kids can embark on a royal quest to rescue a spell-bound unicorn. They must explore the 3D, enchanted forest to find digital clues and rewards left by the forest sprites. They can also visit Mahoo’s magic hint shop to speed things up. Along the way, they might encounter a mischievous donkey, solve riddles, and find charms to save Unicorn Blue before it’s too late.

Available for $29.99, the all-done-for-you premium game bundle includes an app that supports family sharing of six devices on iOS and five devices on Android, six satin collection purses filled with lucky charms, illustrated instructions, an illustrated enchanted forest map, a link to the enchanted forest download, a certificate of completion for six players, and a link to STEM videos for pre- and post-game play. For a limited time due to COVID-19, players can download Unicorn Blue for free with no ads on up to six devices to play with friends to save a lost unicorn, commemorate victories in an AR fairy dust photo booth, and take a photo in the AR unicorn selfie booth. Golden Poppy also offers STEM workshops for parents and educators of kids from kindergarten through sixth grade.

We spoke to Carrol about the educational concepts behind the game, how to make distance learning easier, and how families can infuse more STEM into their kids’ lives in a fun way. Read on to find out more!

Golden Poppy’s President and CEO Carrol Titus

The Toy Insider: How should parents be thinking differently about their kids’ education as we head into the new school year?

Carrol Titus: Your kid’s academic future is online now more than ever. So parents should be monitoring their kid’s level of active, engaged, meaningful, and social interaction in distance learning today and asking how it will impact their future academic and career path.

Research from the Science of Learning suggests apps that establish these conditions set the stage for effective learning. Golden Poppy’s revolutionary new augmented reality game, Unicorn Blue, transforms the four pillars of learning:

  1. Our active learning augmented reality game transforms your kid’s minds-on involvement in digital play from hand swipes and taps into leaps, bounds, and happy dances.
  2. Kids average 1-2 hours of self-directed sessions that boost their ability to fully engage and stay on task.
  3. Meaningful learning goes beyond simple memorization and expands into conceptual, 3D physics connections needed for augmented reality game development.
  4. High order social interactions nurture rich conversations, offer insights into the human condition, and serve as a model for a student’s own thinking on what it means to be brave.

Golden Poppy is proud to be a Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 showcased family tech thought leader and KAPi nominee in STEM. We are experts in gamifying education and amplifying young learners love, intuition, and mastery of Next-Gen Science Standards(NGSS).

Skyrocket your kid’s STEM engagement and get them on the right path. We offer a done-for-you kit that shows you how to get your kids to love, intuit, and master playground physics and coding. The kit includes an app, online tutorials, and lucky charms to collect and trade with friends. We also offer a quantum-style, hands-on STEM workshop tied to Next-Gen Science Standards (NGSS).

TI: How did you come up with the concept for The Mysterious Disappearance of Unicorn Blue?

CT: I started developing and testing Unicorn Blue in 2018 as a mother of three, former tech (Cisco, Sun, Visa) and start-up (Collinear Networks, Intensivate, Ujama) executive, and graduate of Santa Clara’s Graduate School of Business in Information Systems and Game Theory. In 2019, I formed Golden Poppy with offices in Silicon Valley and Delaware after winning the accelerator prize at Watermark Entrepreneur.  Starting this company has been extremely rewarding, working alongside psychologists, educators, and parents to build an unparalleled community base to nurture our nation’s next generation of tech leaders. As a whole, the Golden Poppy team consists of parents, grandparents, caregivers, early learning experts, fine-artists, innovators, and technologists. Golden Poppy’s aim is to make every kid the champion of their own story and to realize the unicorn within.

The all-done-for-you premium game bundle is available for $29.99.

TI: The game is described as “the only girl’s game globally to integrate the best of physical, digital, and biological play.” Can you explain what biological play is and why it’s important?

CT: While at CES 2020 as a showcased exhibitor, we had a fabulous response from technologists, educators, psychologists, and entertainment media alike based on our holistic pedagogy that uses 3D/AR mobile technology to promote active, free, imaginative play for kids, the super-foods of a healthy play diet. What’s more, playing Unicorn Blue boosts kids’ biological minds-on involvement, robust imagination, and active-sensory motor learning. Neuroscience research explains that active sensory movement stimulates the growth of new neurons in a process called neurogenesis. In addition, it increases the neurochemical BDNF, which acts as a fertilizer, strengthening neurons and making them less susceptible to breaking down. Physical activity also increases levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and endorphins that support emotional well-being, motivation, and response to stress.

TI: How can parents use this as an educational tool?

CT: Here are five ways parents can use this as an educational tool:

  1. Buy the all-done-for-you kit that includes the app, online tutorials, and lucky charms.
  2. Sign up for a quantum-style, intensive STEM workshop.
  3. Connect with our community of parents, educators and psychologists in our private Facebook group, Distance Learning Leaders.
  4. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.
  5. Access our 5-minute miracle to skyrocket your kid’s love of STEM, for free.

TI: Can you explain how the STEM workshops work?

CT: Our STEM intensive workshops include:

  • Access to five guided tutorials and five hands-on, STEM-in-action learning lessons per week
  • 10 hours of STEM instruction and play activities per week
  • Exclusive mobile app and materials for a learning pod of up to six kids mailed to you
  • Membership in our on-demand coaching forum with other high-achieving distance learning leaders (great for up-leveling and networking)
  • Regular Q&A calls and accountability with me

Parents choose between one week of physics or two weeks of physics and computer science for kids from kindergarten through sixth grade. As soon as they register, they’ll have access to the 24/7, on-demand coaching forum and Unicorn Blue app download. Lesson plans are emailed to parents after their cohort is scheduled and Q&A calls are confirmed. Guided modules are released daily and should be watched together with your kids.

TI: How can these programs help kids and parents with distance learning?

CT: In this straight-to-the-point training, you’ll discover a dynamo to transform your kids’ online learning into epic kinetic energy resulting in deep embodiment of STEM; a vortex to mastering playground physics your kids will instantly love; a heart-based catalyst to take your kid’s love of computer science into the stratosphere and coding in record time; the easiest hack ever, in the new normal, to gain and retain STEM muscle memory and make new friends now; and a magic charm to get even the most reluctant reader/writer to conjure up a heroic legend in a flash.

Visit goldenpoppy.net for more information on The Mysterious Disappearance of Unicorn Blue and the STEM workshops mentioned above!

About the author

Jackie Cucco

Jackie Cucco

Jackie Cucco is the senior editor of The Toy Insider, The Toy Book, and The Pop Insider. She covers toy trends, pop culture, and entertainment news, and makes appearances on national and regional outlets, including CBS, WPIX, News 12, and more. Jackie spends her time watching horror movies and working her way through every Stephen King novel out there.