PBS KIDS recently released its first augmented reality app for iPhone and iPod touch. The app is titled, “FETCH! Lunch Rush” and is available for free download. The app is a fun and educational game for teaching kids ages six to eight math skills like addition and subtraction.

Lunch Rush uses augmented reality to make the game even more interactive. What exactly is augmented reality? Put simply, it’s a way of combining the real world with the digital world. Using the built-in cameras on iPhones and iPods, the app integrates photos of a child’s surroundings with computer generated graphics. In this game, that also means using print outs called “markers” that the app can recognize when photographed.

In this multiplayer game, children have to collect lunch orders for a Hollywood studio crew. The goal is to determine how many pieces of sushi everyone wants by using the markers that prompt actions within the app. The use of  3-D imagery reinforces early algebraic concepts and helps children to understand the connection between real world objects and the numbers that represent them.

“The FETCH! Lunch Rush App is designed as a 3-D game, which helps kids visualize the math problems they are trying to solve,” Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President of Children’s Media at PBS said in a recent press release. “At PBS KIDS our goal is to use media to nurture kids’ natural curiosity and inspire them to explore the world around them; we can’t wait to see what this new app will mean for furthering that exploration.”

Combining entertainment and education, the app appeals to children through play while at the same time building essential skills at an early age.