Pokémon, and more recently Pokémon Go, are extremely popular, and this both with kids, teens and adults. But while the game is fun and can be quite addictive, in-game play isn’t exactly appropriate for younger children, what with the battles and all that. Not to mention that you don’t want your 3 year old wandering out of the house in hopes of finding a rare Pokémon in the park across the street.

That is why Nintendo and Niantic along with the Pokémon company, have created a new Pokémon game intended for children between the ages of 3 and 5. The new app is called Pokémon Playhouse and features age-appropriate activities like grooming, feeding, giving treats and even creating bands. Young trainers can also take their Pokémon to the park, and the app features an array of educational puzzles and activities that are sure to capture the interest of any preschooler. The game also features a human ‘guide’ that helps kids navigate the various activities and explains what is expected of them. There are also levels to the activities – in-game progress brings players closer to hatching an egg. The game currently features over 50 different Pokémons.

Parents will be delighted to learn that the app not only is free, it is also free of in-app purchase options, making it even more interesting because, let’s face it, a 4 year old throwing a tantrum over not being allowed to purchase a cute bow for her favorite Pokémon isn’t that appealing. Parents beware, however: while this app is a great learning tool for any preschooler, it’s clear that the goal here is not only to offer educational content – the goal is also to introduce Pokémon to a younger generation of fans, who will undoubtedly grow up wanting to move on to other Pokémon games. And we all know all of those games aren’t free, and most of them feature in-app purchase.

Still, I like the idea of a Pokémon world designed exclusively for the littlest fans. I also like that it isn’t a game without any other purpose than having fun, but one in which preschoolers will actually learn things, things that no doubt will get them ready for the big world of kindergarten.

The app is now available both for Android and iOS devices, here and here respectively.

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