Grammar Wonderland (Elementary)

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
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Grammar games fun at first, then repetitive.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn grammar concepts involving nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Games quiz kids on common, proper, concrete, abstract, singular, plural, and possessive nouns, as well as adjectives, pronouns, verbs, verb phrases, verb tenses, irregular and progressive verbs, linking verbs, indirect objects, and subject-verb agreement. Kids can progress along a map, but scores aren't saved and can't be shared with parents. Grammar Wonderland gives kids a way to practice isolated grammar skills in a way that's more fun than worksheets.

Ease of Play

Game controls can be tricky, and kids need to manage multiple mental tasks simultaneously: reading the questions, finding the correct answer, and controlling the game.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Grammar Wonderland (Elementary) is an educational game created by school textbook publishing company McGraw-Hill. Through three arcade-style games, kids practice grammar concepts related to subjects, verbs, and adjectives. Multiple users can have accounts on one device, and kids can customize their challenge level to easy, medium, hard, or expert. Kids can focus on particular concepts or simply play through and tackle skills at random. The app doesn't provide definitions for or instruction around the parts of speech.

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What's it about?

After setting up an account with a first name and last initial, kids choose to practice specific skills or explore worlds. Both options feature the same games: navigating an airplane to touch the correct clouds while avoiding obstacles and wrong answers; feeding an astronaut polar bear the right food packets; or tossing the right water buckets at a camel. Kids choose from among easy, medium, hard, or expert levels, and work on nouns, verbs, or adjectives. Each game handles incorrect answers differently: The camel game offers only two options, so the correct answer is obvious; the airplane game penalizes incorrect answers by slowing the plane down a bit; and in the bear-feeding game, the bear gets a sick, sad look when fed the wrong answer.

Is it any good?

GRAMMAR WONDERLAND (ELEMENTARY) packs quite a bit of grammar content into its games, though it's all for practice and not instruction. Kids do have to focus on several unrelated skills -- reading the question and using game controls -- to play successfully. The games move pretty quickly, so all of that can be distracting for kids, making the game frustrating. Since the grammar elements aren't really related to the game content, kids may tire of the app before playing through the whole thing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about subjects, verbs, and adjectives before kids play, if they don't already have some prior knowledge.

  • To improve writing and grammar skills, read widely, read aloud to kids of all ages, and encourage kids to read independently. 

  • Ask kids to use particular parts of speech: Which adjectives would describe this flower? Which verb applies to what you're doing now?

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