A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn to follow directions and think critically completing puzzles, matching shapes, and identifying objects. They'll also learn a bit about dinosaurs, undersea animals, and cooking, though not with much depth beyond the names of the animals or foods. The skills focus is on visual discrimination -- matching the shapes of objects, be it shapes of foods or dinosaur bones, or matching verbal descriptions to the sea animals. Though the title stresses pretend play, Caillou Let's Pretend is more about following directions and visual discrimination than imaginative play.
Ease of Play
All instructions are delivered verbally and can get pretty lengthy, which preschoolers may have a hard time paying attention to. The games get more challenging as kids pass the beginning levels.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Caillou Let's Pretend is a preschool-friendly game with three activities: helping grandma in the kitchen, exploring under the sea, and digging for dinosaur bones. Parents can find written instructions explaining the skills being developed in the information section. All instructions for kids are verbal and tend to run a bit long for a preschooler's attention span, especially in the sea game where kids have to identify the fish based on Caillou's verbal description. Once kids master each activity a few times, it gets a bit more challenging. Play continues automatically with the same activity until kids or parents stop and choose another.
Is It Any Good?
The three activity options give kids a range of choices to explore, but each game becomes repetitive pretty quickly. Grandma's kitchen is good for a few laughs as kids experiment with adding the wrong ingredients, whether intentionally or by accident, to create something that doesn't look so good. Grandma has a disturbing habit of touching her hair frequently while she cooks, which doesn't set a very good example for hygiene, and every dish is prepared the same way: in a mixing bowl, stirred together from a yellow liquid batter, no matter if it's spaghetti and meatballs or a fruit salad. In the sea activity, kids have to listen to Caillou's verbal cues, almost like in a quiz.
The activities don't offer much depth, though they do get a bit more challenging. Although it's a great choice for Caillou fans, kids may prefer apps that offer more depth in any of the activities -- cooking, dinosaurs, or ocean creatures -- or an app that opens up more options for creativity.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.