A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What 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.
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What's it about?
Kids choose from three pretend play activities to do with Caillou. In the kitchen, they can find the ingredients Grandma needs to create different recipes. Once kids master that challenge, they'll only be given the shapes of items to find in the kitchen. Under the sea, kids listen carefully for Caillou's description of an animal and then tap the sea creature he's describing. At the museum, kids dig for dinosaur bones and match them to the correct box and then, once all bones are collected, put the dinosaur back together.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about pretend play. Caillou pretends he's a paleontologist and a deep sea diver. Ask kids what they'd like to pretend to be and create your own imaginary world to explore -- playing doctor with dolls and stuffed animals, playing school with a whiteboard and books, or playing restaurant with real or pretend food, for example.
Let kids help in the kitchen the way Caillou helps his grandma. Kids can gather ingredients, just as Caillou does, or they can help measure and count, too, practicing early math skills.
- Devices: iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, vocabulary
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, thinking critically
- Price: $1.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Release date: December 12, 2013
- Category: Education
- Topics: Dinosaurs, Book Characters, Ocean Creatures
- Size: 107.00 MB
- Publisher: PBS KIDS
- Version: 1.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later; Android 2.3 and up
- Last updated: July 12, 2020
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