Curious World - Early learning games, videos and books for kids

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Curious World - Early learning games, videos and books for kids App Poster Image
Diverse content appealing, but user experience underwhelms.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about a variety of topics including science, math, literacy, creative expression, and health. The content spans a wide spectrum, but it generally ties back to one or more key early learning principles. Fun, engaging ebooks can inspire a love of literature; adventure videos can pique kids' interest in new and amazing things; digital drawing games and offline craft ideas get kids creating; and simple math games expose kids to light early math concepts. As the name suggests, the goal of Curious World - Early learning games, videos and books for kids seems to be to spark kids' natural curiosity and inspire them to explore, but it'll be up to parents to take learning offline and make it more active.

Ease of Play

Activities themselves are super kid-friendly, though navigation through the main menu is a bit cumbersome.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

There is some content available for free, but most of the activities remain locked without a subscription.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Curious World - Early learning games, videos and books for kids is a subscription-based service that provides a constantly updating database of ebooks, videos, and games for young kids. Some content is original and unique to the app's developer, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and features popular characters such as Curious George, and other content is developed by third-party sources such as PBS Kids and National Geographic. The app requires an Internet connection, and though the free download includes some limited content, full access requires a subscription payable monthly or annually, which parents can try out with a 30-day free trial. A subscription also allows parents to track their kids' progress through the activities. Be aware that some parents assert that, once they pay, they are signed out and can't access the full content. The dense privacy policy details the kinds of information collected and shared.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

CURIOUS WORLD - EARLY LEARNING GAMES, VIDEOS AND BOOKS FOR KIDS is a large database of original and licensed videos, ebooks, and learning games. Get craft ideas, visit a panda sanctuary in China, or read the ever-popular Curious George books. Sample the content for free, or pay a subscription fee for full access. On any given day, a sizable selection is available to browse; with a subscription, that content is personalized according to age and developmental stage. Tap what looks interesting to dive in. Kids can read books on their own or be read to, and interactive games touch on early literacy, math, and more.

Is it any good?

Songs, videos, books, and simple games are kid-friendly and cover a wide range of topics, but there's still room for improvement. The books are great: They're full-color, engaging, actual print books that are presented in digital format. Kids can read by themselves or be read to and can choose to have the text highlighted as it's being read. Videos present a nice mix of adventure, stories, songs, and craft ideas to do at home, though some seem to aim too high for the app's target age range. The games are more of a mixed bag: Though most have appeal, they often seem overly simplistic and don’t leave much room for meaningful learning. Also, some parents have had trouble accessing the full content after paying, saying that they're constantly logged out and can't get back in. Given the steep subscription price, before shelling out the bucks it's definitely worth it for parents to try out the free trial to see if the format, content, and user experience work for their kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about any of the content that kids find interesting. Help them navigate the main menu to choose activities, and encourage them to explore things further when they find something they like.

  • Read the ebooks together. Help kids sound out the words to read on their own, or read aloud to them.

  • Use the content as inspiration for offline activities. Do the crafts demonstrated on the craft show, read real paper books, or go to the zoo to see a real panda.

App details

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