Color Vacuum

Common Sense Media says

Cool concept, confusing directions in color-collecting app.

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Playing around on Color Vacuum is very easy; it encourages kids to free-play and make up their own games. But the app gives very few instructions up front, and the ones that it does give within the three different modes of play are text-heavy and appear and disappear on the screen in a set amount of time. Young kids probably won't understand the concepts introduced here of luminosity and the "additive color system" unless an adult explains.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
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Language
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Consumerism
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Color Vacuum is a whimsical art education app that uses your mobile device's camera as a "color collector." If kids just free-play on this app, it can be fun to see the various colors that are "picked up" from the objects they see around them. Unfortunately, the app's modes and instructions can be confusing and frustrating for kids who want to know what each dial and button on the screen means. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • ratio

Arts

  • painting
  • photography

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • part-whole relationships

Creativity

  • imagination

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Whimsical play engages kids in viewing the various colors that are "picked up" from objects around them. Unfortunately, the app's instructions can be confusing and frustrating. 

Learning Approach

Freeplay with a mobile device's camera and objects in its view help kids discover how primary colors combine at different ratios to produce other colors, as well as discover the different levels of luminosity in objects.

Support

The opening instructions provide a fun story, but aren't clear as far as directions. The directions given within the three different modes of play are not child-friendly and will need adult guidance. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • ratio

Arts

  • painting
  • photography

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • part-whole relationships

Creativity

  • imagination

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn how red, blue, and green combine at different ratios to produce other colors, as well as discover the different levels of luminosity in objects with Color Vacuum. These explorations can help kids conceptualize real-world ratios. They illustrate that ratios are found in many more places than math problems and baking recipes; ratios in color affect how things look and how artists can change images in painting or photography by focusing on them. This app would be much more effective with a revamp of the text-heavy instructions for the modes of play. Kid-friendly explanations would help kids grasp concepts more easily. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

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What's it about?

Color Vacuum encourages kids to use a machine to "pick up" and collect colors in their surroundings. Kids see how red, blue, and green combine at different ratios to produce other colors, as well as discover their different levels of luminosity. Focus your mobile device's camera on a color in an object, and the color appears as a bubble on the app. Three vials show how much of each of the three colors is in the object's color, and lights represent its luminosity. Three modes offer slightly different methods of play.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Young kids probably won't understand some of the concepts introduced in COLOR VACUUM unless an adult explains them. This doesn't mean, however, that they can't learn a lot about color through the simple free-play fun of collecting colors. The opening instructions provide a fun story, but aren't clear as far as directions. The directions given within the three different modes of play are not child-friendly and will also need adult guidance. Color Vacuum would be glowingly improved by better explanations, instructions, and labels on the device parts.

Families can talk about...

  • Get some real paints and play with combining colors on paper plates.

  • Read the instructions on this app for younger kids and interpret the concepts in age-appropriate language.

  • Challenge your kid to find the maximum 25 colors.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:$.99
Release date:May 16, 2012
Category:Education
Topics:Arts and dance
Size:23.30 MB
Publisher:Curious Hat
Version:1.1
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.1 or later

This review of Color Vacuum 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.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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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