Discovering Emotions with Zeely

App review by
Vicki Windman, Common Sense Media
Discovering Emotions with Zeely App Poster Image
Kids learn feelings with cute characters, familiar settings.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn how to identify emotions and practice recognizing different facial expressions. This is particularly helpful for kids with nonverbal and social pragmatic learning issues that may include difficulty understanding and reading facial expressions as well as with eye contact. The app uses real faces and guided instruction, and kids have a choice of four areas: movies, playground, museum, and amusement park. Kids go through each setting independently using the clear instructions and repetition. Discovering Emotions with Zeely is a fun and innovative way to help kids learn how to identify emotions.

Ease of Play

Simply open the app, and you're ready to go. There are four settings for kids to choose from. Each setting is led by "Obo," the main character. He speaks the directions, and a text box appears with written directions.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Discovering Emotions with Zeely is an easy-to-use app that uses guided instruction to help kids recognize and interpret facial expressions. It can benefit kids who are nonverbal or have difficulty interpreting facial expressions. Directions are clear and simple, allowing kids to navigate independently through the four familiar recreation areas and guidong them through seven emotions using different cultures, ages, and genders to understand sad, happy, disgusted, surprised, fear, anger, and pride. In between emotions kids play a game to help them refocus and continue the activity.

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What's it about?

Tap one of the four settings, and you're ready to learn about emotions. Obo, the main character, is a handheld game remote who guides kids through each emotion. After you choose the setting, you're sent into outer space with Obo and Zeely the astronaut. First, Obo shows you a face with a feeling. Next, a magnifying glass hovers over each part of the face to reinforce what the mouth, eyes, and eyebrows look like for seven emotions. After the guided instruction, kids are led to a variety of faces. They drag the eyes, nose, and mouth onto the face to reinforce the facial expression. After four expressions, kids are given a puzzle break. Kids have to put tracks back onto a track reinforcing eye-hand and fine motor skills. The amusement park should be played last, as this setting is a post-evaluation of the feelings.

Is it any good?

DISCOVERING EMOTIONS WITH ZEELY lets kids independently manipulate real faces with real emotions. Using repetition is beneficial for kids who need practice with understanding emotions and facial expressions. Kids will enjoy moving facial stickers onto real faces to create a feeling face. Having a distracter built in helps kids who may struggle with attentional issues. Parents will appreciate the easy-to-read data with clear graphics displaying accuracy and the time it took the child to complete the task. Discovering Emotions with Zeely combines realistic facial expressions, adorable characters, and guided instruction to give kids an engaging way to learn about emotions. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about emotions. What makes you sad? Surprised? Happy?

  • Practice making feeling faces in a mirror to reinforce what the facial expression look like.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Skills: Self-Direction: self-reflection
    Emotional Development: empathy, identifying emotions, labeling feelings, self-awareness
  • Price: $19.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: January 9, 2014
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 207.00 MB
  • Publisher: Virtual EyeSee Inc.
  • Version: 1.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 5.0 or later

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