Big Kid Life Vet

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Kids help animals by succeeding at simple learning games.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Overall the app is easy to play, with lots of visual and verbal prompts. However, it's easy for kids to get stuck on the new games page and have a difficult time getting back to the vet game. Recording messages is a little more difficult at first if kids don't understand the very limited instruction. They must release the button, speak, and then press it again to send.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The logo for Fingerprint is on the app's main intro screen, as well as on the screen that prompts kids to send a message to their parent. An "FP" icon on some screens will, when tapped, move kids to a Fingerprint page that tells them about new games from the developer. If kids tap on the new game, another screen pops up and a verbal prompt says, "Tap here if you want to tell your mom that you want this game." Then a message is sent to the parent.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Minor concerns. Parents can opt to exchange personal messages back and forth with their kid through a service called "Mom-Comm," but they must use Facebook or an email account to do so. You don't have to sign up for Mom-Comm for kids to play the app; instead you can sign in as a guest user for app gameplay only.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Big Kid Life Vet is one of a series of apps by Fingerprint that lets kids try out different jobs while also practicing basic educational skills, such as logic and geometry, letter and shape identification, and phonics. Kids are assigned to certain "patients" including an octopus, dog, and panda. They must take care of them by performing X-rays and playing games. Fingerprint has (optional) free features that parents can use to communicate with their kids via the app and keep track of what their kids are playing. There is a fair amount of advertising for other Fingerprint apps on this app; nothing too overwhelming or out of the norm for a free app, though.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • letter or word recognition
  • phonics

Math

  • shapes

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • thinking critically

Creativity

  • imagination

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Veterinarians are an easy win for kids, and not only are they in charge of the office, they get to comfort and examine animals and help them by answering questions.

Learning Approach

Quizzes about shapes, letters, and pictures are age-appropriate and couched in the fun environment of a vet's office.

Support

Kids get plenty of hints, and the correct answer flashes if they're having too much trouble. Teachers or parents get skills reports over email. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • letter or word recognition
  • phonics

Math

  • shapes

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • thinking critically

Creativity

  • imagination

Kids can learn pre-reading skills including matching and phonics in this well-developed, parent-friendly app. Kids work on shapes, letters, phonics, and critical-thinking. The game is fun and educationally sound, but the parent communication is what sets Big Kid Life Vet apart. Parents receive emailed reports after kids play, giving a snapshot of the skills covered and offering recommendations for further play. Parents and kids can communicate with each other with voice messages, too. Kids will have fun pretending to be a vet while developing critical thinking and pre-reading skills, and parents will know what their kids are doing.

This Learning Rating review was written by Amanda Bindel

Kids say

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What's it about?

Kids become vets who help sick animals by practicing preschool skills. Parents help with the initial setup and can use the app for three different children. Kids choose their avatar, level of difficulty, and which of three patients to help first. They calm the animal using a described motion on the touch screen. Then kids X-ray the animal patient by dragging the scanner over the animal. The X-ray opens the challenge, which instructs kids to identify the specified object or shapes, or letters or letter sounds, depending on the level.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Kids love pretending what it will be like to have certain jobs when they grow up, and veterinary medicine is a popular "what I want to be" choice. BIG KID LIFE VET allows very young kids to play vet on an app, while also giving them some practice in basic educational skills through simple games built into the app. What's great about this app is that when a kid performs well on a game (finding shapes and objects, for example), the animal they are taking care of is given treats or somehow otherwise feels better, so kids get a sense of connection between learning and positive results beyond the typical games for kids where they earn points to "buy" pretend stuff. As a result, learning means helping, not just increased ability to buy stuff. This app is one of a series of similarly crafted apps by Fingerprint, a developer that has come up with ways for parents to manage a child's apps, see what they're playing and learning, and send and receive personal messages back and forth with their kid through the app (optional).

Families can talk about...

  • Steer kids who enjoy imaginative play, especially those interested in playing doctor or vet, to this app.

  • Take advantage of the app's innovative communication tools by sending encouraging voice messages to your kids and tracking their progress.

  • Mimic the app's premise and incorporate preschool skills into imaginative play.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:February 18, 2012
Category:Educational Games
Topics:Science and nature
Size:22.00 MB
Publisher:Fingerprint
Version:1.2.0
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.2 or later

This review of Big Kid Life Vet was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 July 9, 2012
 

big kid life vet

messages back and forth with their kid through the app (optional).
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Safety and privacy concerns

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