Da Vinci - History

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Da Vinci - History App Poster Image
Get to know the original Renaissance man with this charmer.

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about Leonardo da Vinci, his works, and the Renaissance in Da Vinci - History. Kids can listen to the story of da Vinci's life, view his art, read short biographies of other key Renaissance figures, and play games. This app helps kids learn not only about the man and his work but also build the concept of how a single person's story contributes to a notable period in history -- in this case, the Renaissance. Da Vinci - History is a nice, interactive way for kids to learn about the life, work, and times of this inventive icon.

Ease of Play

Easy to play. Kids need to be proficient readers or have some of the content read to them to fully interact with all five learning features.


No sexual content, although the app does include the image of da Vinci's anatomically correct sketch of the Vitruvian Man.


The app's main screen includes an About Us tab that moves kids onto a page that includes promotions for the developer's other apps and links to the App Store.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Da Vinci - History is a must-have for kids who're interested in art and have not yet been introduced to Leonardo da Vinci. Even for kids who already know a bit about da Vinci, this app goes into much more detail about his life and the Renaissance than one would expect on a kids' app (but not too much). Although kids who know how to read will get more out of this experience, even younger kids who can't yet read but who like art probably will find it highly engaging, especially if a grown-up reads the text-heavy parts to them.

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What's it about?

Tap one of seven options on the main menu (Story, Portraits, Sketches, Games, Paintings, Languages, and About Us). The app doesn't indicate which option to choose first, but kids should choose Story and Portraits before playing the games or some likely won't make sense. Once kids tap an option, most are self-explanatory. For example, tap Story and the story about da Vinci's life begins to play; tap Sketches and the first sketch appears, along with an arrow on the side of the page to tap to view more. A menu icon guides kids back to the main menu. Kids can listen to da Vinci's life story presented in a (partially) animated format. Then they can play a matching game or a find-the-difference game; take a quiz; spot 10 Mona Lisas in a scene; learn about other famous historical figures of the Renaissance; and view da Vinci's art and sketches.

Is it any good?

DA VINCI -- HISTORY is part of a series of apps for kids by Quelle Histoire about historical figures. With a level of quality fitting for the man it depicts, this app skillfully encourages kids to learn about da Vinci and his art in a beautiful, interactive format. It includes a well-produced audio story, fun games, and beautiful art. With its focus on one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance, it's no surprise that this app is particularly visually compelling. It also includes some interesting details that touch on topics like religion and art history, science, and geography. For example, a map located in the corner of the Story feature tracks da Vinci around Italy and France through his life's journey and portrait biographies include those of popes, kings, and other Renaissance artists.

It would have been a smart addition to provide kids with the option to draw their own sketches of inventions alongside da Vinci's or to provide an in-app art tablet on which kids could paint to keep them coming back. Currently, once the story is listened to, the content is read, and the games are played, this app loses its stickiness. Still, Da Vinci - History is highly recommended to introduce kids to da Vinci, his works, and the Renaissance.


Talk to your kids about ...

  • Encourage your kid to choose the Story and Portraits options first before playing the games, or some games likely won't make sense.

  • If one painting or sketch captures your kid's imagination, find a website or book that explores it in more detail.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Subjects: Social Studies: historical figures, history
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: investigation, memorization
  • Price: $4.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: December 21, 2012
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 83.60 MB
  • Publisher: Quelle Histoire
  • Version: 1.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.3 or later
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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