In Khan Academy Kids, five original animal characters encourage children to think, play, learn, and persist. The character set is inspired by animals from around the world. We designed them to begin to introduce the theme of celebrating differences. Kodi is a kodiak bear from North America, Reya is a red panda from Asia, Peck is a bird from South America, Sandy is a dingo from Australia, and Ollo is an elephant from Africa.
They celebrate differences
The diverse personalities of the characters show children how differences can make for good friendships even though there can be challenges at times. We celebrate Kodi who is an eternal optimist and fair, Reya who is confident and quiet, Peck who is always excited and often impulsive, Sandy who is a free spirit and sometimes misunderstood (as a dog or wolf instead of a dingo), and Ollo who is dependable and emotive.
They guide the learning experience
The characters guide students as they learn through interactive lessons, books, animated videos, and creative activities. They introduce lessons on topics like reading, language, counting, and geometry, and appear throughout the interactive learning experience.
Our main guide character, Kodi, helps students learn with instructions, helpful tips, encouragement, and reinforcement of the learning concepts. Educational experts and teachers scripted the language used by the characters to teach concepts and encourage students to keep learning with a growth mindset. As an example, instead of just giving students affirmation when they get the right answer (e.g., “Yay!”, the characters often praise what the child has done (e.g., “You traced the letter D.”)
They teach social-emotional lessons
The five characters are featured in the original stories written by experienced children’s book authors for Khan Academy Kids. These stories build upon the characters’ personalities and relationships to teach reading and social-emotional lessons. The books cover themes about friendships, patience, dealing with frustration, persistence, resolving conflicts, facing fears, feeling left out, and self-confidence.
They encourage students to learn and play
Khan Academy Kids lessons are designed to spark children’s love of learning. As students complete lessons and master different topics, they collect bugs, hats, toys, and clothes for their favorite characters within the app. The character rooms on the student’s homepage house these collections.