By Dana Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Get in touch with nature with cool augmented-reality app.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn some basic behaviors of brown bears, monarch butterflies, chimpanzees, lions, and sea turtles, as well as see what their natural habitats look like. Kids can learn the sounds these animals make, the foods they eat, and how they interact with the natural world. Some activities include skills such as recalling patterns and locating specific colors. Kids also can practice fun tech skills on this augmented-reality app while using their devices to cause the app to interact with their real-life environments. If parents try some of the suggested extension activities, kids can learn even more about wild animals and where they live. Disneynature Explore is an engaging way for kids to learn about five kinds of animals and their surroundings as they practice some basic tech skills.
Ease of Play
Easy to play, with excellent audio and visual prompts and clear choices -- without there being too many choices. The tracking game requires a decent amount of unobstructed outdoor open space and most likely parent help to ease frustration.
Violence & Scariness
When the lion is hunting, it kills an animal to eat, but kids don't see it happen; the scene is clouded by dust.
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Products & Purchases
The Disney logo appears when the app opens. The kid-locked parent section contains many references to Disney and the Disney Citizenship program.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Disneynature Explore is a free, interactive nature-education app. Some of this "augmented reality" app's activities are intended for kids to do outside with a parent and a mobile device; others can be done inside or outside. Through exploring the habitats and lives of five realistic, animated animals -- a bear, a butterfly, a chimpanzee, a lion, and a sea turtle -- kids learn about wildlife behavior and nature. Kids also practice skills such as finding specific colors in nature, matching simple patterns, and taking photos. Disneynature Explore includes a a Spanish-language option and a parent section for more ideas for learning about animals and ecosystems.
Where to Download
Videos and Photos
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What’s It About?
Tap Explore, Journal & Photos, or the kid-protected parent tab on the main screen. In Explore, choose an activity from the icons on the right and choose an animal from those on the left. Follow the audio instructions (for example, to take a photo or play a game) and view and listen to an explanation of the animal's related behavior. Earn pins and take photos that are stored in the journal and photos area. By playing DISNEYNATURE EXPLORE, kids and parents may be inspired to protect nature and learn more about wildlife.
Is It Any Good?
Disneynature Explore is a beautiful app with novel activities that nature lovers likely will find engaging and even realistic. It's easy for kids to choose an animal to view and an activity they want to play related to that animal.
The app's parent instructions highlight that kids will need help from parents to do some activities. For example, the augmented-reality tracking activity can run into problems if kids are playing in a small space or a space with a fence or other obstacles. Depending on sunlight, the screen can be difficult to see outdoors, and the brightness of the screen may need adjustment. Preschoolers may find the combination of holding a device upward (especially if it's an iPad), walking outdoors, and focusing on the instructions and visuals too much to coordinate and will need parent support. Parents could help minimize frustration by reading the instructions on the parent page beforehand. Disneynature Explore can be an incredibly fun, informative way for kids to learn real facts about nature and animal behavior.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the animals' behaviors and environments. Ask your kid how they're different from or similar to human behavior and homes. Bears get itchy backs, lions need to eat, chimps use tools; how do those behaviors relate to and differ from our own?
Talk about how your family can keep wild animals' environments healthy. For example, on this app the sea turtle's environment is affected by plastic bags. How can people reduce their use of plastic bags or make sure they don't end up in the ocean?
Use the parent section for further information on how to explore nature and learn about wildlife together.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Science: animals, ecosystems and the environment, Arts: photography
- Skills: Tech Skills: using and applying technology
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: March 27, 2014
- Category: Entertainment
- Topics: Science and Nature, Wild Animals
- Publisher: Disney
- Version: 1.0.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later
- Last updated: August 16, 2016
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Where to Download
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