My kids go moggy when they come across things that they can collect, as I am sure that most kids do. I was therefore happy when they found out about the Pick n Pay South African Super Animals Cards which are meant to be educational, teaching kids about the different mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, insects etc from the various areas in South Africa. The Activity and Collector’s Album, plus the cards, has been put together by the South African National Parks and Pick n Pay.
How it works, is that for every R150 you spend at a Pick n Pay Supermarket you will get a Super Animals pack with 4 sound cards of various animals. If you spend R300, you will be eligible to collect 2 Super Animals packs and so on for every additional R150 spent. Super Animals Sound Cards are a range of 108 paper cards that can be collected, played and swopped with friends. When you swipe the sound card through the Sound Card Reader that you can buy separately, you hear the sound of the animal on the card.
It all sounded great, and we shop mostly at Pick n Pay so we quickly collected nearly all the cards, with help from friends and family. We bought the Activity and Collector’s Album and the kids had fun placing the cards in their correct places in the book. I educate my children at home (ie they do not go to school), so we set some time aside for a few days to read over the information on the cards so that they could learn about the animals. This is the information that’s on the cards, known as the Creature Feature or Super Stats:
- How many years or months that the animal lives for/maximum age;
- The weight of the animal in kilograms;
- The length/size of the animal in centimetres;
- How fast it runs or flies/speed in kilometres;
- The extent that it is extinct/vulnerability of the animal scaled from 1 to 4.
These are a few of the things that I picked up from the Collector’s Album and cards:
- Spelling and grammar errors (e.g. “All our national parks our run by SANParks”);
- The book is meant to be for children three years of age and older, but I had to explain a lot of what was written and put my own words in to make it understandable for my kids who are 4, 6 and 8;
- There is a Circle of Life section where the kids need to place the name in the right order in order to create a circle of life. No matter what order I put the names in, it never came out correct, which is very frustrating for kids. Here are the names: Grass, Vulture, Leopard, Impala and Faeces. It worked out to either the grass consuming the vulture, or the faeces consuming the vulture or other crazy things like that. Not well worked out games and activities;
- Then I started noticing some odd statistics on the cards that didn’t sit right with me, so I began comparing the cards and doing some research. Here are some examples: The Arctic Tern (a fairly small looking bird) weighs 125kg (!) and an ostrich weighs 150kg, according to the stats!?!? These two cards are right near each other and even the kids picked up that their weight cannot be the same. The Arctic Tern is meant to be 125g not kg. The Meerkat weighs 9kg on the card instead of 157g in reality.
- See if you can spot the errors on these two cards: The Steenbok card photograph does not show a Steenbok but a European Alpine Ibex!
- The sound cards also contain errors. When we swiped the one snake card it sounded like a hissing cat or some strange noise but not that of a snake. Oh and by the way, this card says that you get Black Mambas in the Nama Karoo…(?)And finally, the Jackal sounds like an Aardwolf, and vice versa.
Just to check myself, I did some research on the internet and discovered that there are lots of articles on the SANParks/ Pick n Pay cards’ errors. Here are some of the reviews that you can read:
Apparently SANParks and Pick n Pay have apologised for the errors and are reprinting them in the Netherlands, replacing the incorrect cards at no cost to consumers. Firstly, I think it is terrible how the cards are being printed in the Netherlands and not in South Africa. Secondly, I tried to contact Pick n Pay about the errors and never received a response, and have never seen any emails or correspondence from them with the apology to the general public, even though we are a part of their email subscription list.
So, the just of this review is to warn all of you to not trust everything you read that is meant to be factual, but to rather use your own logic and common sense first, doing your own research not just believing organisations or people because they are ‘professionals’ or ‘corporate giants’. Also, read as much together with your kids as you can so that when you pick up errors you can explain to them what the reality of the subject is. Teach them to think for themselves!