Ansel and Clair: Cretaceous Dinosaurs

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
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Discover delightful dino details with fun, interactive app.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about the dinosaurs of the Cretaceous Period in Ansel and Clair: Cretaceous Dinosaurs. This detailed app goes far beyond the typical dinosaur lesson that includes name, size, and whether it's an herbivore or a carnivore to include lots of fun factoids. These run from how dinos protect themselves, hunt, and find mates to how kids should pronounce complicated names or how paleontologists safely dig for bones. Kids also can learn why scientists believe that meteoric activity, not volcanoes, were responsible for the creatures' demise. Ansel and Clair: Cretaceous Dinosaurs is a very well designed learning experience for dino-loving kids that will both delight and inspire.

Ease of Play

There's an excellent parent section under the "?" tab that reviews the main features of the game page by page. Tap the "i" icons to view information or art, and an "x" icon and arrows show kids how to move from one scene to another. A tracker icon indicates all objects on the screens that offer interactivity. Clicking on the red "x" before they're allowed to move on to the next feature may frustrate younger kids, so parents may need to make sure they understand that feature. Kids can take photos and insert them into a Travel Log, located in a backpack kids can tap. Other visual directions (such as giant dino "fingers" showing kids how to tap with one or two fingers) require no reading.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

There's an Ansel and Clair "more apps" tab on the main page, but you need to solve a math problem before it will move you to the App Store for purchase.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ansel and Clair: Cretaceous Dinosaurs is part of a trilogy of dinosaur-based learning apps featuring time-traveling characters Ansel and Clair. Here, Ansel and Clair (who also star in a handful of other popular apps) are visiting the Cretaceous Period to learn about dinos from that time, including the Tyrannosaurus rex, the oviraptor, and the sarcosuchus (a giant crocodile!). Kids don't need to be able to read to play the fun games and learn a lot about dinosaurs. This app doesn't currently have the tap animations or the "make-a-dino" game as do the other two Ansel and Clair dino apps, but the developer has indicated that those features will be added in future updates.

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What's it about?

Create a user account and watch the cool intro. Ansel and Clair talk about each dino in detail and often instruct kids to do something interactive after the explanation, such as swiping away sand from the oviraptor or helping out another with his sneezing problem. Tap the backpack or journal to add photos or write a note about your favorite dinosaurs. You also can go on a dusty dig or travel back in time to the flowery Cretaceous Period with the dinosaurs, while a globe shows the continents split into Gondwanaland and Laurasia. Watch a volcano erupt and start a meteor shower, and then learn about why scientists believe meteors, not volcanoes, played a role in dinosaur extinction.

Is it any good?

After playing with this highly interactive, colorful, and fascinating app, don't be surprised if your kid wants the other two apps in this series. Although this one is missing a couple of features, it's still just as good as the others. Kids will be tickled by funny features such as the Kosmoceratops, who "sneezes" all over your kid's mobile device's screen; he or she will have to wipe away the dino snot. It's not all that educational but sure to prompt lots of silly giggles. Even with this goofy fun stuff, ANSEL AND CLAIR: CRETACEOUS DINOSAURS offers lots of learning.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why we continue to learn about dinosaurs even though they're not around anymore. Why is it important to understand our earth's past? 

  • Help your kids use the pronunciation hints to say the name of each dinosaur correctly. Ask them why they think dinos had such long, funny names. 

App details

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For kids who love dinos

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