Bean Bag Kids Apollo 11

App review by
Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Media
Bean Bag Kids Apollo 11 App Poster Image
Cheerful ebook takes kids on a journey to the moon.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about space exploration, the role of an astronaut, gravity, and the mission of Apollo 11. Text highlighting can help young learners boost their reading skills. Several pages of the ebook include a small notebook icon; kids can tap the icon to learn more about a particular topic and build their vocabulary skills. For example, in the beginning of the story, kids can tap to learn about the job of an astronaut, as well the Greek origins of the word. Interactive activities encourage kids to follow directions and stay engaged, but they don't address the content being taught in the story. Bean Bag Kids Apollo 11 is an engaging, kid-friendly way to learn about an important milestone in the history of space exploration.

Ease of Play

It's easy to get started with the story -- just tap the play button. Some of the interactive activities take a while to figure out, even with basic directions. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Tap three times to access the parents' section, where users will find links to the App Store. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bean Bag Kids Apollo 11 is a digital storybook about the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. With colorful graphics, interactive features, and text-to-audio voice-over, kids can take a virtual trip to the moon and learn about space shuttles, gravity, astronauts, and more. Throughout the story, kids are prompted to help with the mission by completing brief interactive activities. Kids probably will enjoy the activities, and the app does a good job of keeping them engaged during a fairly long, text-heavy story. However, the activities do not directly contribute to the learning experience about the Apollo 11 mission. Nonetheless, kids will be inspired as they are immersed in the journey to take the first manned spacecraft from Earth to the moon. 

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What's it about?

Kids are greeted with a sound bite of the inspiring speech from John F. Kennedy about the Apollo 11 mission. Then, kids can tap the play button to begin the story. Each screen includes text (with highlighting) and narration, along with colorful animations. Many of the screens also include a notebook icon; when kids tap on the icon, the story pauses and a pop-up window appears, including relevant details and sketches about the story content. Kids take part in the mission by completing brief activities, which are fun and help keep readers engaged. At any point in the story, kids also can tap a small icon to get to a menu. The menu has links to restart the story, change from English to Spanish, or choose a story scene. There's a parents' section, too, and an extras section, both of which must be tapped three times for access. The extras section includes links to a sound board, a "making of" gallery with sketches of the original app storyboard, and a "spot the difference" activity in which kids compare two illustrations to find 12 differences.

Is it any good?

If you're searching for a fun and engaging way to teach kids about space exploration and the Apollo 11 mission, then BEAN BAG KIDS APOLLO 11 will do the trick. The information is presented in a way that makes it easy for young kids to understand, and the graphics and activities help break up the text and keep readers interested. Kids will feel as if they're part of the mission as they help the astronauts blast off, clean up the spacecraft, collect items on the moon, and more. Although they're engaging and prompt kids to follow directions, the activities do seem a bit random at times and do not directly address the content of the story. It would be great to see some games or quizzes that are aimed at assessing knowledge or deepening understanding. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the story. Pause from time to time and ask kids to summarize what they've read so far. 

  • For early readers, turn off the narration and have kids read the story aloud. 

  • If possible, visit a museum or go online to learn more about space exploration. 

App details

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