Curious Playground

Common Sense Media says

Empowering tool lets you create personalized activities.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Verbal directions explain each activity. Creating activities is easy and intuitive.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

In-app purchases, ranging from $0.99 to $2.99, unlock additional content. A link to purchase other apps is included, too.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Plain-language privacy policy explains that no personal information is collected. Parents or kids can share the content they've created by AirDrop or email.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Curious Playground is content-rich and easy to use for both young kids and parents. It comes preloaded with seven game categories and can support up to three user accounts. Kids or parents also can create their own games that they can play themselves or share with others who have the free app. The paid version of the app includes in-app purchase options to unlock everything at once or to get additional music. The free version of the app includes dozens of activities, but additional content can be purchased. The buy link isn't blatantly dangled in front of kids while they're playing, though, and the button has to be held for three seconds to open the link.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • spelling
  • vocabulary

Math

  • addition
  • division
  • fractions
  • multiplication
  • subtraction

Social Studies

  • geography

Arts

  • music
  • improvising and music analysis

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • memorization
  • solving puzzles

Creativity

  • combining knowledge
  • producing new content

Self-Direction

  • academic development

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Activities are pretty simple and not too engaging on their own -- basically, they're game-like quizzes. Creating and sharing their own content is what will keep kids highly engaged.

Learning Approach

Kids are empowered to create their own challenges, and the existing activities can give them some ideas of where to start. The challenge level of each activity adapts as kids complete activities.

Support

Up to three users can track performance on one device, but no evaluative feedback of specific performance or skills is tracked. Learning can be extended almost endlessly with the creation tool.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • spelling
  • vocabulary

Math

  • addition
  • division
  • fractions
  • multiplication
  • subtraction

Social Studies

  • geography

Arts

  • music
  • improvising and music analysis

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • memorization
  • solving puzzles

Creativity

  • combining knowledge
  • producing new content

Self-Direction

  • academic development

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn and practice a range of academic skills, from math to spelling to music to history. They can learn to recognize flags of different countries, learn the capitals and geographical locations, practice all operations of math, and work on spelling and memory. Kids can explore musical notes and develop an appreciation for famous paintings. Most important, they can learn how to challenge themselves and express themselves by creating their own activities using the create feature. Curious Playground's activities let kids practice a broad range of skills, and the creation tool lets them challenge themselves.

This Learning Rating review was written by Amanda Bindel

What's it about?

CURIOUS PLAYGROUND starts by asking the question, "Are you a player or a creator?" It's not intended to be a deeply philosophical question, and, with this customizable app, kids can be both player and creator. It's preloaded with more than a dozen puzzles, including famous art such as the Mona Lisa; five memory games; words from categories such as math, music, and the human body; math including fractions, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; geography, including capitals and countries; music with songs such as "Are You Sleeping?" and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"; and a word search game. Kids and parents can create custom activities using their own photos, words, or songs as well.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Although the content covers a broad range of information (flags from different countries, geography, multiple levels of math, music, art, and words), the activities aren't as engaging as apps that focus on one skill. Each activity is basically a mini-quiz, and kids earn trophy cups for completing activities. There's nothing too exciting about the cups -- just a number on the screen.

What will engage kids is the creation tool with which they can design their own activities to complete themselves or share with others. They can create their own puzzles or memory games using the device's camera (it won't pull already-taken pictures from the camera roll, though), write their own songs, and enter their own words. The developer's target age range is 3 to 7, but the challenge on some activities spans higher -- math includes division up to four digits, for example. The activities automatically level up after kids successfully complete a level, but kids or parents can adjust the level manually, too, for kids who want to start at a more challenging level. The options for content are pretty limitless with the creation tool, making Curious Playground a good choice.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what kinds of activities kids would like to create on the app. The ability to create your own challenges is empowering!

  • Create a custom word game using your child's name, street name, and city to help preschoolers learn to spell their names and addresses.

  • Make word games from spelling lists for elementary school-age kids.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:Free (with in-app purchases)
Pricing structure:Free, Free to Try, Paid
Release date:January 8, 2014
Category:Education
Size:62.80 MB
Publisher:Curious Hat
Version:1.3
Minimum software requirements:iOS 6.0 or later

This review of Curious Playground was written by

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.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Poll

What are the different ways that you access Common Sense Media ratings and information? (Check all that apply)

Essential Apps Guide