A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bubble Puppy Play and Learn features favorite characters from the Nickelodeon preschool show Bubble Guppies. Although the content is appropriate for preschoolers, the design is not. Some parts play in landscape mode and some in portrait mode, so kids have to actively shift the device's position back and forth. The fine-motor skills needed for the math mini-game don't match the target age, either. For such a pricey app, kids and parents deserve better.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Kids play with Bubble Puppy, dressing him up, feeding him, taking care of him, and playing with him and toys they earn through the learning games. Starting in the house, kids can drag different hats, glasses, and accessories onto Bubble Puppy, a dog who lives underwater. They can give him a shower or brush him, and they can choose which foods and treats to feed him. Then they can go outside and choose their learning adventure: either letters or numbers. In the letters game, kids make Bubble Puppy bark by dragging the correct letter bubble (or word bubble in the higher levels) into place. In the numbers game, they use their fingers to move Bubble Puppy in a race to collect the number bubbles, jumping and dodging obstacles. Kids earn bones for completing the learning games and can use the bones to buy toys to play with Bubble Puppy. After successfully completing levels, kids level up to more challenges (or a parent can choose the level) -- from Level 1 to Level 6, all increasing slightly the level of preschool skills.
Is it any good?
Playing with Bubble Puppy is really fun, both in the house, grooming and caring for him, and outside, playing with him using the toys bought with game rewards. The design is awkward, though, which makes it hard for preschoolers to use. The app starts in landscape mode for kids to create or choose their usernames and select a game. The games are played in portrait mode, though, so preschoolers have to be savvy enough to shift the device. The learning games, content-wise, are appropriately challenging for a preschooler -- matching letter and numbers -- but the design of the games has kids moving objects in ways that are just too tricky for a preschooler's fine-motor skills and reflexes. BUBBLE PUPPY PLAY AND LEARN wins for the play but falls short on the learning part of the game, which just doesn't add up to much for such a pricey app.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Language & Reading: letter or word recognition
Math: counting, numbers
- Skills: Self-Direction: work to achieve goals
Health & Fitness: fine motor skills
- Price: $3.99-$6.99
- Release date: December 11, 2013
- Category: Education
- Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Ocean Creatures
- Size: 194.00 MB
- Publisher: Nickelodeon
- Version: 1.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.3 or later; Android 2.3.3 and up
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.