Bluster! App Poster Image





Competitive play gives word-matching game a fun boost.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Clear, concise instructions show kids how to play. It can be difficult to discern where to swipe to scroll through the word lists (hint: below, not on, the list), which can slow kids down.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

McGraw-Hill Education's logo appears at the bottom of the screens throughout play. You can buy additional word packs for $0.99 each via in-app purchase.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Bluster! is a word game developed by the educational publisher McGraw-Hill. Kids can play in single mode, cooperatively with a partner, or competitively with a partner. The Honors section tracks high scores for each arrangement of play. Kids need to read independently to play because no words are read aloud. No personal information is requested, but kids can enter their initials for the Honors board. Additional word packs can be purchased for $0.99 each.

What kids can learn


Language & Reading

  • vocabulary


Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making
  • part-whole relationships


  • academic development

Engagement, Approach, Support


Three options for play, three levels, and more word packs keep gameplay interesting. The well-designed table-top team and versus modes enhance engagement.

Learning Approach

Surprising weather component is fun, but it doesn't contribute to learning. The range of levels and word packs will challenge kids at many reading levels.


Few instructions are included, with no hints to find the right answer if a kid gets stuck.

What kids can learn


Language & Reading

  • vocabulary


Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making
  • part-whole relationships


  • academic development

Kids can learn to recognize rhyming words, homophones, synonyms, adjectives, prefixes, and suffixes. They'll strengthen vocabulary skills through exposure to 800 words, and they can learn to work cooperatively in team mode or competitively in versus mode. Bluster! makes sometimes-dry vocabulary practice fun by adding the game element.

This Learning Rating review was written by Amanda Bindel

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What's it about?

Choose from three levels of play. A list of words appears across the screen, and kids follow the instructions to drag three words into place. For example, "Match 3 words that rhyme," or "Match 3 words that have the same prefix or suffix." Play is timed and can be paused by tapping the sun. Kids can play solo against the clock, cooperatively with a partner, or against another player. Kids race against time and weather to match as many words as possible. Fun play with more than 800 words.

Is it any good?


BLUSTER! includes many levels of play to match kids' current skills. Level 2 includes rhyming words, prefixes, and synonyms. Level 3 includes prefixes and suffixes, word roots, and homophones. Level 4 includes rhyming words, prefixes and suffixes, and adjectives. Oddly, there's no Level 1. In solo mode, kids only make word matches. In the competitive mode, bad weather comes through to slow players down, which is frustrating for the affected player but exhilarating for the other player. Getting the words to drag properly or scrolling through the list gets a bit tricky when kids are going for speed. In the team and competitive modes, the iPad screen works beautifully as a table-top game.

Families can talk about...

  • Since Bluster! has both cooperative and competitive options, play with your kid in both modes.

  • Play word games verbally. Take turns naming different rhyming words, words that begin with the same prefix, or words that are homophones.

App details

Pricing structure:Free
Release date:February 1, 2013
Size:13.00 MB
Publisher:McGraw-Hill School Education Group
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.0 or later

This review of Bluster! 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.


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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About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

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