Rugs help your classroom to feel cozy, inviting, and like a home away from home. They also help guide traffic flow and establish dedicated play areas in your classroom. But did you know they can do more than that?
Kaplan and our educational technology partner, Alive Studios, provide a classroom carpeting solution that is much more than a rug. With Rugs alive™, you can captivate children during circle time and group lessons using the innovation of 3D augmented reality. This rug introduces children to early language and STEM concepts while helping them develop essential social-emotional skills.
Read through this article to learn more about Rugs alive, how to incorporate the 3D augmented reality features into your classroom lessons, and how this classroom rug benefits the education of young children.
What is a Rugs alive classroom rug?
The Rugs alive classroom rug provides a durable and colorful carpeting option for your early childhood classroom. The design of this rug features all 26 letters of the alphabet and corresponding animal photos. However, this is no ordinary classroom rug. Pair it with the Rugs alive mobile app for an interactive experience that will captivate children during circle time, small group lessons, and more.
What is the Rugs alive mobile app?The team at Alive Studios developed this free app to use with your Rugs alive rug. When you use this app, along with the accompanying Habitat Cards and Magical Zoo Coins, you can bring your rug to life using 3D augmented reality. This innovative technology allows children to explore animals safely, learn about their habitats, and incorporate each 3D animal into classroom lessons and activities.
Download the Rugs alive mobile app on your smart device by searching "Rugs alive" in the app store or wherever you purchase mobile apps. When you open the app, it will prompt you to do the following:
- Verify whether you have a Rugs alive classroom rug or not
- Select the shape of your rug (either rectangle or oval)
After following those two prompts, the camera view will activate on your smart device. From here, there are two different ways you can use the app with your Rugs alive rug: Habitat Cards and Magical Zoo Coins.
How do I use the Habitat Cards with my Rugs alive and the mobile app?
Before starting, you must print each of the seven Habitat Cards on copy paper or white matte card stock. You can print these cards in color or black and white ink without altering how they will scan using the Rugs alive mobile app.
To make the animals come to life on your rug, choose one of the Habitat Cards and find an animal that also lives there. Lay the Habitat Card on your rug in the animal's square, covering the letter from view. Now, using your smart device and the Rugs alive app, position your screen so both the Habitat Card and animal are within the photo brackets. Tap the screen to bring the animal to life!
You should now see an Earth Bubble with your chosen animal inside. Slowly move your smart device and point the camera to the Zoo Crew icon in the center of your Rugs alive rug. Doing so will pop the Earth Bubble, awakening the animal so children can watch it move and hear it make sounds.
Move around the rug, keeping your camera pointed at the Zoo Crew icon to view your animal's top, side, front, and back views. Ask children to step into the frame so that you can capture their picture with each animal. Repeat this process until you and your class meet all 26 animals and their habitats.
If your camera shifts away from the Zoo Crew logo, your animal will return to their Earth Bubble. When this happens, move your camera back to the logo to pop the bubble and release your animal.
How do I use the Magical Zoo Coins with my Rugs alive and the mobile app?
Before you begin, print a sheet of Magical Zoo Coins onto matte stock paper using either color ink or black and white. The thicker card stock makes it easier for children to hold the paper coin. Follow the steps above to capture an animal of your choosing inside an Earth Bubble.
Now, instead of shifting your camera to view the Zoo Crew icon on the rug, point your device's camera at a Magical Zoo Coin. You can place this coin on a tabletop or in the palm of a child's hand. Once the Magical Zoo Coin is in view, the Earth Bubble will pop and the animal will come to life just as it does on the rug. Only this time, the animal will stand on the Zoo Coin.
Something fun you can do with Zoo Coins is to have children hold the Zoo Coin in their hand and take their animal on adventures around the classroom. You will find more activity ideas below.
To see a visual of how to use the Habitat Cards and Magical Zoo Coins with your Rugs alive rug, watch the video below.
How do children benefit from using the Rugs alive rug and mobile app?
This interactive classroom carpet is perfect for children in preschool and kindergarten. Engaging with the 3D animals and their peers in group settings helps children develop social skills such as:
- Positive teamwork and ways to manage conflicts in an appropriate manner
- How to communicate effectively and follow simple instructions
- Sharing with others and respecting another person's belongings and personal space
- Empathy and self-discipline
While interacting with the 3D animals and the letters on the rug, children can engage in lessons and activities that expose them to concepts such as:
- The letters of the alphabet and letter sounds
- Animals and their habitats
- Early coding and engineering principles
- Counting and data collection
- Exploration and research
What classroom activities incorporate Rugs alive and the Rugs alive mobile app?
You can use the Rugs alive and mobile app in your classroom in many different ways. During circle time, you can use the rug to introduce children to letters of the alphabet and words that begin or end with that letter. Bring the 3D animals to life to "join" you while you read a story or sing songs.
Children can use the Magical Zoo Coins and 3D animals during small group centers to help with counting and sorting activities. Teach children the difference between herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores by placing a variety of pretend play food items on a table and asking children to place an animal beside the specific food it eats. Teach children positional terms by asking them to put an animal under, above, beside, or behind furniture items in the classroom. While in the art center, ask children to draw pictures of different habitats for the animal on their Magical Zoo Coin.
What shapes and sizes of Rugs alive are available for my classroom?
At the time of writing this article, these are the shapes and sizes of Rugs alive available for purchase:
- Rugs alive Large Oval - 12' x 7'6". This rug can seat up to 20 children.
- Rugs alive Small Rectangle - 9' x 6'. This rug can seat up to 16 children.
- Rugs alive Large Rectangle - 12' x 7'6". This rug can seat up to 26 children.
Ready to purchase a Rugs alive rug for your classroom?
The Rugs alive rug provides a great way to warm up your space and enhance the educational experiences you provide for children in your classroom. Children will love meeting new animals as they learn the letters of the alphabet and where animals live. Introduce a Rugs alive rug into your early childhood classroom today by visiting this link.
Contact your local Kaplan representative if you have any questions about introducing Rugs alive or another augmented reality product into your classroom. They will be more than happy to assist you with all of your classroom needs.