Introducing the AA Play area at LCY

We are so excited to finally introduce the new Airside Andy kids play area, which opened last month in London City Airport. Located in the Western Pier of the airport, this area is designed for families travelling with children. We know it can be a bit of a nightmare running around the airport with overexcited children in tow- so here is the answer to your problems.

Peter Le Masurier, Co-founder, says “The Airside Andy brand was born from an airport; it is in our character’s DNA. It is therefore fitting that we are now sharing this journey with children in the airport. It is like Andy and his team of fun characters are coming home!”

The star feature of this space is, of course, the Airside Andy play-tech pod; this contains two tablets which are loaded with 21 games each, including the Airside Andy game itself. The play-tech pods are also currently situated in Manchester and Newcastle airports, although LCY sees the first ever dedicated, and fully branded, Airside Andy Play Area.

Other features of the Airside Andy children’s play area includes an interactive colouring wall, a runway, and a TV playing a loop of well-known kid’s content. A fun seating area makes it the perfect area for kids to play and relax in a safe and contained environment- what more could you want?!

Piers Croft, Head of Customer Experience and Security, said “Let your child’s imagination take flight in our all new play area located in the West Pier. London City Airport have teamed up with Airside Andy to create a one of a kind, fun, and interactive airport themed space designed to keep young travellers entertained while the adults make any last minute preparations. We look forward to travelling families enjoying a greater experience when using London City Airport.”

Le Masurier added “I am thrilled to be working with such a positive team as LCY. All the airport staff have been so kind and helpful to us and we hope this will be the first of many children’s areas within the airport. Children’s airport entertainment areas haven’t always been fun in the past, and we have created a unique space where children can play and have fun.”

If you are interested in finding out more about the Play-tech pods, or a dedicated Airside Andy space, please get in touch to discuss by emailing cheri@airsideandy.com

What Christmas is really all about

Christmas- the most wonderful time of the year. Although Christmas has become about a lot of this which aren’t really very Christmassy at all! The John Lewis advert, and the Coca-cola advert being prime examples. This year, the airport world has got involved in the battle for the crown of best Christmas advert, with Heathrow and British Airways releasing the following advert:

Now I don’t know about you, but this brought a little tear to my eye, and made me remember what Christmas is really all about- it’s not about worrying what presents to buy people, or how you will afford them. It’s not about stressing which side of the family you’ll see, and who you won’t see. It’s not about running around on the day, making sure the food is all cooked at the same time, checking everyone has a drink in their hand, all the while avoiding breakages and spillages from over excited children.

Christmas obviously is a religious holiday, and the true meaning of Christmas stems from deep Christian beliefs. However, in this day and age, with the various beliefs around the world, it has grown into something very different. No matter your religion or beliefs, we vote that everyone takes note of what British Airways and Heathrow Airport are saying- stop stressing, and focus on the things that really matter- and that is simply being with your nearest and dearest.

 

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App update: New Costumes and New Languages

We have a very exciting new App update which launched yesterday, drumroll please!

Royally introducing our newest First Class passengers- rule the airport in our new King and Queen costumes, available in our BRAND NEW store. The other store was getting a little full, so we have opened a whole new TERMINAL STORE- this is not yet on the map, but you can find it by walking all the way through the warehouse, where you’ll find the Terminal store doors at the end. And enter sesame!

If being a royal isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry; we’ve got just the thing to bring you back down to earth. Introducing our third costume in this exciting update- the rockstar! This is by far the coolest costume we’ve released, and we just can’t wait to collect the whole costume, which unlocks a superstar action of it’s very own- play the guitar and entertain the rest of the Airside Andy airport!

And if three new costumes weren’t enough, you can now play Airside Andy in new languages- Say Olá to our new Portuguese speaking players! Airside Andy is now available in English, Portuguese and Spanish. Simply click the phone icon on your menu bar, select the menu tab, and choose which language you would like to play in. Same game, just different voiceovers and communications.

It has been said that children pick up languages far quicker and easier than adults do; this is because their brains are like sponges, and have the ability to soak up a wealth of information. Many schools offer the opportunity to learn another language from a young age, and if your child has the opportunity to do so, we would encourage you to take advantage of this. Although there are many advantages to learning another language, we found that Frontiers Academy summed them up perfectly;

1. BETTER LINGUISTICS

Exposing a child to a foreign language at an early age (as early as 3 years old) will result in much easier and better fluency than if they learn later in life.  Children’s brains are developmentally ready to accept and learn a foreign language, and fluency comes fairly easily, rapidly, and without accent.

Between ages 8 and 12, your child will lose the ability to hear and reproduce new sounds as they did when they were younger, making foreign language acquisition not impossible, but more difficult.

2. COGNITIVE BENEFITS

Research shows that language learning is more cognitive than linguistic. Here are just a few of the cognitive benefits to learning a foreign language:

  • the concept of “object permanence” develops at a younger age
  • better problem solving skills
  • better critical thinking skills
  • more creativity
  • better flexibility of mind
  • enhanced memory
  • better multi-tasking abilities

3. HIGHER ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

Along the same lines of the cognitive benefits mentioned above, learning a foreign language can also provide academic benefits. Bilingual children have been shown to have better critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, and greater mental flexibility. All these things result in better academic performance.

Bilingual students have been shown to have higher math skills and standardized test scores (including SAT). And, contrary to popular belief, not only does learning a foreign language not inhibit the child’s English language proficiency, it enhances and improves it!

4. CULTURAL ENRICHMENT

Every conscientious parents wants their children to be well-rounded, to have a love for learning and an appreciation for other cultures, and to grow up to be a successful, contributing member of society.

Learning a foreign language opens doors that would not otherwise be opened. Bilingual (or trilingual) individuals have access to resources, people, places, and things that the rest of us do not. Not only can a foreign language provide a competitive edge in the workforce, but it creates a deeper understanding of and appreciation for humanity and culture, which enriches one’s life and personal experiences in the world.

 

Why not try playing the game in another language, and seeing how quickly you pick up the words and phrases?

Top Tips for Travelling with Infants

It’s the Easter holidays, finally (Hurrah!). Some of you may have booked to go away during the school break. Others may be planning a trip in the summer. Whenever or wherever you may be travelling this year, there is always the one thing we are praying for- “please let the kids behave”. We all want a relaxing break, and unfortunately, if the kids are playing up, it can certainly be less than relaxing.

British Airways and Heathrow have released their top trips for travelling with little ones, and we have summarised them below. As experienced travellers who fly thousands of people all over the world every day, you can be sure they are speaking from experience.

  1. When parking at the airport, you can use one of the wider family bays at no extra charge. This gives you more space, so you don’t have to worry about your car doors being opened on someone else’s! These bays are also closer to the terminal entrance.
  2. Carry all travel documents such as passports and boarding passes in an easy-to-reach place. Photocopy everything before you come, and keep this in a separate space- This eliminates panic when a cup of juice gets thrown all over the table!
  3. You can bring baby milk with you, although with all of today’s strict regulations , you may find it easier to reserve formula to collect at Boots once you are through security. Remember to bring a sterilised bottle with you!
  4. If you haven’t already got one, invest in a small, folding pushchair. Most airlines let you take this with you to the gate, where staff will then take it from you and stash it in the hold. This saves you carrying your little one through the airport before boarding.
  5. Although most airlines will carry baby food on long haul flights, to be safe, bring whatever your baby is used to, with you, in an safe and sealed container.
  6. Try to book a flight that coincides with you child’s nap time- if baby is sleeping, mummy and daddy can relax.\

Airside Andy have been doing their part in helping make the airport journey a little easier for parents. You may have seen our ‘Play pods’ pop up in airports- we currently have them located in Aspire Swissport Lounges at Newcastle and Manchester airports. These are designed to look like baggage carousels, and come with two iPads each. Each of these iPads is loaded with 21 games, including the Airside Andy game itself! If you do have access to these lounges, you can therefore go in without worrying if your kids are going to disturb the business passengers; the Airside Andy playpod should keep them busy whilst you supervise them and enjoy a cup of coffee (Bliss!).

If you are interested in finding out more about about the Airside Andy play pods, or for all other business enquiries, please contact us on cheri@airsideandy.com

Happy Travelling!

Adding Friends and Online Safety Precautions in an MMO Community

Being an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game, this means that all players that are playing Airside Andy at the same time, can see each other in the game. The game therefore looks exactly the same for every person who is on it at that time. This means that players can interact with one another. As Airside Andy is created for children that are still very young (3-8 years old), there are certain safety measures that we have to take in order to ensure safe game play and interaction.

We have created a number of pre-determined scripts that players can use; these range from greetings, to questions, to answers, and simple help topics. Players are unable to communicate with each other using texts other than the pre-determined ones, meaning we can control what players are saying to one another. By moderating what communication passes between players, this eliminates personal details being shared through the app; therefore even if your child is talking and connecting with someone that they may not know in real life, you can rest assured that they are doing so in a safe and very controlled environment. For added security, choose a username which does not reveal any personal details.

Players can ‘add’ each other as friends, by ending other players friend requests. Once added as friends, players can visit each other’s hangars, which every player has to opportunity to customise exactly how they want. Another player can only visit your hangar if you are friends with them, meaning each player is able to control who can and can’t come into their hanger. By interacting in this way, this allows your child’s social and relationship skills to develop; which are part of SEL (Social and Emotional Learning). Although the SEL framework is firmly integrated in the education system, it is also important to continue developing these skills outside of the classroom.

If your child wishes to play away from a certain other player in the game, there are three ‘servers’- these are called Lifty, Shifty and Swifty (after our dearly beloved baggage carts). Though all players can see each other, there are three Airside Andy ‘worlds’- this means you will only the the players that are currently playing in the same ‘world’- or server-  as yourself. To switch servers, click on the phone icon, on the left of your menu at the bottom of your screen. Select the ‘lobby’ option on the left hand side, and simply decide which server you would like to visit.

If you feel that another player is displaying antisocial or inappropriate behaviour, please contact us so that we can investigate, at info@airsideandy.com

Happy – and safe – gaming!

Blogging for everyone

As the internet and technology influence our lives on a daily basis, there’s no better time to experience the benefits of blogging.  Whether it is something you do for fun or a profession, blogging can bring huge benefits to you and others around you. The power of a blog to educate, inspire, influence and bring like-minded people together makes blogging an excellent way to help others, all the while expressing yourself.

How to Start Blogging

Bloggers don’t need to have knowledge of computers and coding to contribute to the blogging community. Software such as WordPress and “how to start a blog” guides have made it simple and easy to set up a blog in 15 minutes. If you’re unsure of whether blogging is right for you, use a free blogging platform like Tumblr for a few months before transitioning to a self-hosted solution.

What to Blog about

A blog is an expressive medium that can contain words, images, and sounds. Whether your blog is formal business affair or a personal “what-I-ate-for-breakfast-this-morning” diary, blogging is powerful form of self-expression. SO don’t be afraid to express yourself 🙂

Help Others

Every good blog helps its readers. Red Ted Art, for example, does this by offering information about how to make make crafts with children. Other blogs help people lose weight, manage money, teach skills and inspire with stories of their own personal development and life experiences.

 

Blogging at Airside Andy

Blogging is a great way to build your network and here at Airside Andy, your blogs and reviews make a huge contribution towards building our community.  We enjoy reading your blogs and reviews of the game and hearing your thoughts and experiences of travel and flying.  Our community is diverse and growing, with players and parents from all over the world.

Here are some of our favourite reviews of Airside Andy to date:

Mummy’s Little Monkey

Babes about Town

London Baby and Kids

All Baby Advice

EBabee Likes

App Update: Hair Salon and Dye Machines in the Workshop For Style on the Move

Airside Andy celebrates ANOTHER new update, barely a couple weeks since its last app update.  New features are coming to the game so thick and fast that we barely have time to tidy our rooms. By ‘rooms’ we mean our hangar spaces of course!  With all the new accessories on offer in the hangar store, from TVs to table lamps, you’ll want to keep your hangar neat to make room for all your new bargains.

interior design - hangar

Don’t forget, you can invite people to see your hangar by adding friends to your virtual phone contacts.  Or if you’re super keen, you can send us a screenshot, for a chance or your hangar space to feature in the magazine.  We’ll pick our favourites for prizes so get creative peeps and share your snaps via Facebook and Twitter.

create and personlise your rooms

Whilst catering to all our crazy interior design ideas the newest app update also ensures we keep our style on point, with a hair salon and dye machines in the workshop for ‘dos on the move.  We love the freedom to experiment with different hair colours and styles, from cute cropped hair to bunches and dreads, which we haven’t had since we first created our avatars.  Now there’s no need for hair envy, as we can change our styles as little or as often as we like 🙂

new hairdo's available with app update

We’re also stoked about the multiplayer feature on our paper airplane game.  The competition has stepped up as we challenge our friends to win the most points and earn the most coins.  The new app update means that the 2-player function can now be accessed when our friends are online in the game.

If that’s not enough, we got new costumes too! Check out the security guard costume with the scanner emote.  Pretty cool, huh? 🙂

Well if you think that’s cool, just wait until the next update, where we’ve got another incredible feature. Can you guess what it is?

 

 

Paper Airplane Game and Personalised Hangars

Hey Airside Andy friends.  We hope you’re enjoying the new app update, featuring a STEM enhanced paper airplane game and personalised hangar spaces to decorate and call your own.

We’ve been having lots of fun in the office, getting to grips with the new features…

STEM enhanced game

Paper Airplane Game

Our first favourite feature is the new airplane game.  You can lay out the gaming mat in whichever room you choose, and start throwing the paper planes to land on the bullseye.  The closer you get to the bullseye – or the centre of the board – the more points you earn. And points mean more coins to spend in the airport store!

However it’s not as easy as it first appears: you will have to check which way the wind is blowing before you throw.

throw the planes in the air

My Hangar

Next up, we’ve created your own private space – an airplane hangar – that you can decorate and personalise whichever way you like.  Check out all the cool wallpapers and flooring, plus all the furniture for sale in the Hangar Store.

You can visit your friends’ hangars too, by adding them to your friends network through your virtual mobile phone.

We’ve having so much fun decorating our rooms – soon we’ll start a competition to see who can decorate the most awesome hangar space – so stay tuned and start sending in your screenshots.

new app features

Hair Salon and Dye Machine

What’s more, there’s hair salon and dye machines that will cut and spray your hair with magic spray paint in a choice of cool colours.  You can even keep the machines in your hangar!  We’re loving trying out the new hairstyles on offer and exploring all the different colours.

What’s more you can running your own salon and your own vending machine, as your own business! When you get a vending, salon or dye machine you can earn 10% of coins sold through your machines when visitors come to your hangar and use them.  Pretty cool, huh?

new app features

If you haven’t downloaded the latest app update you can get it here, on iOS and Android.  Let us know what your favourite new feature is by joining in our Twitter Party on 5th May, from 4 – 5 pm GMT; 12 – 1 pm EST. See you Airside!

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We’re Having a Twitter Party – May 5th

Be an avatar in a Video with Airside Andy!  Who wants to Play with us? Join us for our very 1st Twitter Party in conjunction with SpectreCom Films & Mothers and Shakers!

We want to share all the new features of our latest app update with our Airside Andy friends and will be celebrating the update with a live gaming session featuring prizes!

NEW games, NEW costumes, NEW hangar spaces to decorate and call your own, a NEW-look Airside Andy … and we want you to be a part of it all!

The social media activity will showcase Character’s Airside Andy’s new app update with parents online. A hashtag created for the event – #AirsideAndyTravels – will encourage fans to join in with the activity on the day with the aim of 30 minutes of live gameplay followed by Twitter conversation on the joys and stresses of family travel.

At our #AirsideAndyTravels Twitter party we’ll be sharing the ups and downs, the excitement and the madness of travelling with kids, including the best places to travel to with young ones. Come and share your stories for a chance to win prizes.

When you tweet your tips, comments and ideas during the hour-long event, you will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win 1 of 5 £10 iTunes vouchers.

We’ve put together a Twitter Team that includes blogging experts @BabesaboutTown and @Jax2000 , games developers @flyingsquirrelgame in Malta and Canada and Airside Andy will be tweeting live from the UK.

#AirsideAndyTravels

 

@AirsideAndy will be your host covering the activity on the airfield and the workshop as we cover your questions on the Twitter feed; and @spectrecom Films will be tweeting and filming the action from their London Studios, to be aired on iTunes and Google Playstore!

What’s more we’ll be giving away 5 x £10 iTunes vouchers to Twitter Party players!

Now if that isn’t a Twitter Party, I don’t know what is. All we need is YOU to join us!

To take part simply log into Twitter between 4pm and 5pm on Thursday the 5th of May, follow the hashtag #AirsideAndyTravels and join the conversation! 🙂

 

Why Participate in the #AirsideAndyTravels Twitter Party?

  • Twitter parties are a lot of fun and a great way of building your network!
  • A great way to connect with Airside Andy and fellow friends
  • Learn things you might not have known about the kids app
  • Join the conversation on travel with kids, with some of the UK’s most influential bloggers
  • Register in advance and you’ll be given an extra 5000 free coins to spend
  • Chance for your avatar to be famous – the game play will feature on our latest iOS and Google Play videos
  • 5 Chances to win £10 of iTunes vouchers

How to Participate

A Twitter Party is a fun, fast-paced forum discussing a specific topic – in this case it’s Airside Andy and kids travel. Questions will be asked via tweet and party participants tweet back responses and comments by including the hashtag #AirsideAndyTravels.
It’s easy and it’s fun!

 

Twitter Hosts: @airsideandy

Filming: @spectrecom

Prizing: @itunes

 

How Does it work

  • First of all, you will need a Twitter account. If you need one, click here.
  • Then join in the conversation by including the hashtag #AirsideAndyTravels in your post. A hashtag is a word or phrase that is used to connect all the tweets. This makes it easy to find all the content related to the conversation.
  •  The first half of the party – from 4.00pm – 4.30pm will involve live gameplay of the Airside Andy.  You can download the game through iTunes or Google Play.
  • Get in touch with the name of your Airside Andy avatar before the 5th May and we will give you 5000 coins for free, to spend in the game.
  • The second half of the party – from 4.30pm – 5.00pm – we’ll be taking discussion on the subject of travelling with kids.
  • Throughout the hour session, we’ll be giving away iTunes vouchers – the more you tweet, using the hashtag #AirsideAndyTravels the more chances you’ll have at winning.

Learning Through Kids Apps

Lots of parents and school teachers recognise the potential of child-friendly tablets and kids apps in education, and are incorporating these technologies into their children’s daily lives.  As devices and technology have evolved to be more intuitive and child-friendly, they have opened up a world of possibilities for many young children who may not yet fully communicate by reading and writing but are full of ideas that they want to express.

Technology like tablet or phone apps can support social interaction and communication skills as it makes it easy for kids to show people the things they want to talk about or to describe the things and experiences they encounter in their day-to-day lives to their family and friends.

By doing this through mobile applications – whether that be through a video app like Skype, or a gaming app like Minecraft, children are also learning to take turns, to take into account the reactions of their conversation partner and to explain things in a way that’s understandable for somebody who isn’t in the same place.

Apps can promote kids creativity – there’s a plethora of creative apps out there, and open-ended games like Airside Andy are an excellent example of this.  After creating and personalising an avatar a child playing in the virtual airport can chat or message other players using pre-determined, safe text, earn coins by refuelling the vehicles can picking up litter, or simply explore the rich digital landscape of the 3D world through binoculars.

learning-kids-apps

All of these components make children active creators, instead of passive consumers of knowledge.  Games like MMOs that do not require prescribed outcomes and become progressively more challenging, can encourage children to explore and think creatively, and the more fun they have the more likely kids are to establish a love of learning and to lay the foundation for their future development.

Mobile apps can offer a vast range of interesting, interactive activity scopes for the young learners. The focus for many modern day developers is on keeping kids engaged; when children are engaged, they learn.

learning-kids-apps

Tablets can help in learning to read too. Tools such as e-books with text markers, or fixed chat facilitators such as those in Airside Andy, can promote reading and conversation skills as learning transforms from textbook to interactive,  ‘hands-on’ edu-tainment.

Always remember though, choosing an app needs the same kind of thought and care you would put into buying anything else for your child. Don’t rely only on the star rating, but read the user reviews and check the privacy policy if you’re worried about the personal information that the app might be collecting. The Internet, after all, wasn’t built for kids, and the standard methods of advertising to adults online, which rely heavily on data collection, should not be in the children’s space. If you have any concerns please visit The Parent Zone or email info@airsideandy.com for further guidance.