Britannica Kids: Ancient Rome

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Britannica Kids: Ancient Rome App Poster Image
Roman culture made engaging and entertaining.

Parents say

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Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational value

Kids can learn about Ancient Rome and its culture -- covering everything from gladiators to the Caesars to Roman gods. The app presents information in variety of fashions, as well -- from encyclopedia entries to pictures and video to interactive quizzes and games. With its games, quizzes, photos, and videos, Britannica Kids: Ancient Rome brings a level of engagement to history, a subject some kids struggle to enjoy. 

Ease of play

Navigating from one section to another is easily done via an unobtrusive wheel at the bottom of the page. Words that might be challenging to kids are highlighted and show definitions when touched. 

Violence & scariness

The app doesn't shy away from the history of gladiator duels. While it doesn't show violence being inflicted, it describes fights to the death, and one picture shows a victorious gladiator standing surrounded by corpses. 

Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism

One of the selections on the navigation wheel is "Shop," which prominently features other Britannica Kids apps, including DinosaursVolcanoes, and Knights and Castles. 

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Britannica Kids: Ancient Rome is an educational app with a variety of ways for kids to learn about the rise of the Roman Empire. While it, of course, has encyclopedia-like entries (which, thankfully, don't run too long and risk losing the reader's attention), it also offers several games and quizzes to engage children ages 8 to 14. The app mentions some of the uglier parts of history, such as gladiator fights, but doesn't focus on the gore. Users can upload pieces of the app to their Facebook and Twitter pages as well as use location mapping to see where they are in proximity to the empire. 

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What's it about?

Kids can read a series of articles about the Ancient Roman culture and its gods. A spin wheel at the bottom of the app rotates between categories and a series of games, which include Brush-Off (where players uncover a picture by "brushing" away dust by wiping the screen with their hand), jigsaw puzzles (assembled by hand), pictures, and video.

Is it any good?

History can be boring -- and the encyclopedia is seen by many as the product of a bygone era -- but Britannica Kids: Ancient Rome is a wonderfully educational and entertaining way for kids to learn more about the Roman culture. There are the usual (and expected) walls of print, but they're not the chief focus -- and they're extra helpful, highlighting difficult words and offering definitions so kids don't get frustrated.

It's games like the timed quiz, magic square, and puzzles that kids are more likely to spend time with. While they'll learn less with these than they will by reading, they will be engaged and spend more time with the app. Britannica packs a lot of value into this one. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Visit the library or a museum to learn more about Ancient Rome.

  • Encourage kids to use the quiz feature to test what they've learned. Encourage them to reflect on any items they missed, and to continue to explore the app to learn more.

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love history

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