Curious George Train Adventures - A STEM-based learning game for kids 4-6!

App review by
Ashley Kemper, Common Sense Media
Curious George Train Adventures - A STEM-based learning game for kids 4-6! App Poster Image
Charming graphics, basic engineering, prominent purchases.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn introductory STEM topics as they apply knowledge of pulleys, motion, and direction, though there's no instruction or explanation of these concepts. Kids can also practice fine motor skills by operating the train's power source and conquering obstacles to earn as many stars as they can.

Ease of Play

Game is simple, and on-screen guides remind kids what to do next, but some may have trouble with dual-hand controls.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Only first level is available when purchasing the app; other levels $0.99 for each or $1.99 for all three. Purchase behind multiplication-problem parent gate.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Curious George Train Adventures – A STEM-based learning game for kids 4-6! is a straightforward and easy-to-use adventure-style game that teaches kids very basic engineering and physics concepts. Kids help George bring building materials from one site to another while simultaneously maneuvering around obstacles. Although very young users may find it difficult to manage the power lever with one hand and eliminate obstacles with the other, most kids will likely like the mix of challenges. Also, only one area with 10 levels is available for the purchase price while others are available via in-app purchases, which are very visible, though gated behind a multiplication problem. Though preschoolers can certainly play, make sure to establish rules around the purchases upfront. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

Kids open CURIOUS GEORGE TRAIN ADVENTURES - A STEM-BASED LEARNING GAME FOR KIDS 4-6! to the Tiki Adventure island. The man in the yellow hat gives an overview of George's job: transport all the supplies from one side to the other and drop off as many as possible at the building site. Kids propel the train up and down hills and over obstacles by adjusting the color-coded power bar in the bottom-left part of the screen. Obstacles include seesaw-style levers and pulleys (introducing simple machines), bumps and hills in the road (practicing Newton's laws of motion), and flower bushes. If kids forget what to do for each obstacle, an on-screen arrow reminds them how to move forward. Once George maneuvers his train to the building site, kids earn stars for their work and having the most supplies in their train.

Is it any good?

This game is definitely designed for preschoolers, and it delivers on a solidly fun activity, but its general repetition and visible purchases take away from it's overall kid-friendly quality. On the upside, as each new type of obstacle is introduced, the game doesn't immediately give kids a solution. Instead, it empowers them to try to solve each problem first instead of passively following the screen's directions. There are also very limited words and language demands in this game, which makes it accessible to a wider ranger of users, such as ELL kids or kids who are not able to read yet. The downsides are that the cost of the app covers only one of the adventure islands, and additional islands cost more. If they weren't front and center for kids to constantly encounter, it would be less of a problem. Also, though the obstacles are varied and stay relatively fresh, even more surprises would help further avoid repetition.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about in-app purchases. Will they be allowed to buy additional levels? If so, how many?

  • Talk about how each obstacle affects George's path, and ask kids how they helped get George through each challenge. Explore with kids how to earn all three stars on each level; is it better to go faster through the level or take your time to overcome each obstacle without spilling supplies?

  • Discuss the importance of perseverance: Help kids think about what might happen if George didn't get the supplies to the end of his path. As kids move through each level, go back and look at the progress they've made by counting the levels they've completed. 

App details

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