Ansel and Clair: Jurassic Dinosaurs

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
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Dig into the stellar second app in time-travel trilogy.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about paleontology, geography, geology, and the dinosaurs of the Jurassic Period. This app goes far beyond the typical lessons about a dinosaur's name, size, and herbivore/carnivore status -- it includes everything from how dinosaurs hunt, protect themselves, and find a mate to how kids should pronounce complicated dinosaur names and how paleontologists safely dig for bones. Ansel and Clair: Jurassic Dinosaurs involves kids in the process of digging up dino bones and then lets them time-travel to interact with live dinosaurs -- it's awesome.

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 and 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 have interactions. It can be frustrating for younger kids that they must click on the red "x" before they're allowed to move on to the next feature, so parents may need to make sure they understand that. Kids can take photos and insert them in an in-app Travel Log, located in a backpack on the screen kids can tap. Other visual directions (such as giant dinosaur "fingers" showing kids to tap with one or two fingers) require no reading.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

There's an Ansel and Clair "more apps" tab on the main page, but you need to solve a math problem (known as a parental gate) 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: Jurassic Dinosaurs is the second in a trilogy of dinosaur apps featuring time-traveling characters Ansel and Clair. Here, Ansel and Clair (who are also the main characters in other apps about different subjects) are visiting the Jurassic Period to learn about seven dinosaurs from that time, including the allosaurus, brachiosaurus, and stegosaurus. Kids don't need to be able to read to play the fun games and learn a lot about the good ol' dino days. Note: The app does allow kids access to email on the iPad for sending dino pics.

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What's it about?

Kids join alien Ansel and his computer sidekick Clair as they visit a dusty dinosaur dig with a friendly cartoon paleontologist, Dr. Bones. By helping Dr. Bones dig up bones, they're able to travel back in time to the leafy, larger-than-life Jurassic Period to see seven dinosaur species. As they explore, kids listen to fun facts, feed a dinosaur, take pictures, use stickers, and write in a journal. They can even build their own dinosaur. The app offers plenty of dino-pointers and trackers to tap and learn information. By tapping the on-screen backpack, kids access their journals to add their photos or write a note about your favorite dinosaurs. ANSEL AND CLAIR: JURASSIC DINOSAURS is an interactive, fun way to learn about dinosaurs of the Jurassic Period.

Is it any good?

Ansel and Clair: Jurassic Dinosaurs allows kids to absorb complex information about life in the time of the dinosaurs without overwhelming them with too many details or complex vocab. There's even a pronunciation hint that appears above dinosaurs so kids can learn how to say those giant-size names correctly, syllable by syllable. The continents on the globe, the landscape, and the depth of the dinosaur dig all are different from those in the other Ansel and Clair dinosaur apps, reflecting the unique conditions of this period. The app has background music that can be turned off. Ansel and Clair: Jurassic Dinosaurs is a very well designed, interactive learning experience for dinosaur-loving kids that will both delight and inspire them to learn more.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why it's important to study creatures that lived so long ago. What can you learn about today's animals by looking at dinosaurs? 

  • Help your kid use the pronunciation hints to say the name of each dinosaur correctly.

  • Hide plastic dinosaurs in sand so your kids can dig them up.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science and dinosaurs

Themes & Topics

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