By Danielle Nelson
*This article is posted on The Express Times website
Jack Wagenheim, 6, of Moore Township, shows off the app Happy Travels that he designed with help from his parents.
Express-Times Photo | MATT SMITH
Jack Wagenheim’s app can take you to the Bermuda Triangle, through a rain forest, into outer space, on a polar expedition, under the ocean and on an African safari.
Not bad work for a 5-year-old.
The Moore Township resident spent months building the app Happy Travels, directing his graphic designer mother and computer coder father to make his visions a reality.
“He was the CEO of the project and we were his little workers,” said his father, Kenn Wagenheim.
The kids game includes six books that take children through adventures with various characters as they make discoveries, capture creatures and collect gems from treasure chests.
Check out Jack’s app at happytravelsbyjack.com.
“You drag your finger any way you want to move and you are trying to get the (required) amount of treasure chests in each book,” Jack said. “All the characters do different stuff.”
Jack started reading a series of children’s books full of science, history and nature lessons at the age of 4. What he learned formed the basis of the adventures in Happy Travels.
Jack started designing the app on paper this past February. Equipped with his pencil and crayons, he drew his first vehicle for his first book, the Bermuda Triangle.
“I drew the ship and then said it would go through mysterious creatures,” he said.
Jack drew birds, fishes and underwater frogs. As he added levels, he drew different vehicles, creatures and scenes.
Jack told his parents how to make the images move. For the most part they accommodated him, although Kenn Wagenheim could not figure out how to make a pig eat and dance.
“Aside from that, everything he asked us to do we did,” Kenn Wagenheim said.
“We went through a lot to make this game,” Jack said with a smile. “Daddy had the hardest job because he had to code for days, days, days.”
Jack’s father spent his nights coding and Jack would give his efforts the thumbs-up or thumbs-down in the morning, according to Jack’s mother, Sarah Wagenheim. Jack’s portion of the app was complete before his 6th birthday in May. The app was released in June.
While Jack was the brains behind the idea, design and logo of his app, he credits others for helping, such as composer J. Andres Ballesteros, and Jessica Wolf, who also created a font based on Jack’s handwriting.
“We had a lot of other helpers besides my family on this game,” Jack said.
Happy Travels was released June 26 and is available in the App Store, Amazon and Google Play for children of all ages for free.