Hidden Pictures by Highlights Magazine -- The Original Find The Object Game for Kids

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Hidden Pictures by Highlights Magazine -- The Original Find The Object Game for Kids App Poster Image

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Classic seek-and-find goes digital, pushes subscription.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can practice visual discrimination, reading (if clues are set to "Word"), and perseverance in these seek-and-find puzzles.

Ease of Play

Easy to play in all three modes, although kids playing without a subscription will run into some frustrating limits.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Users see multiple ads (or ad-like announcements) for Highlights and related subscriptions for this app. While playing, kids will encounter locked puzzles related to subscription-only areas. Tap on "More Puzzles," "New Puzzles,"  or locked puzzles and it reminds you that new puzzles arrive each month if you subscribe. When you reopen the game for a new play session, a pop-up appears that reminds kids, "You aren't subscribed yet!" Parent gate requires entering your age.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hidden Pictures by Highlights Magazine -- The Original Find The Object Game for Kids is like the classic game in Highlights magazine in which kids find the hidden objects, but this version has some digital twists. Kids can get hints and play in three modes: Free Play, Timed, or Directed. To add some educational challenge for kids who can read, the sidebar list of objects to seek can be represented by words instead of pictures. Only a limited amount of puzzle games are available until kids "unlock" more by finding objects, and even more puzzles are available through a monthly subscription, which delivers new content each month. The app store states the subscription is $3.99/month but also lists other in-app purchases for $2.99 and $4.99, which aren't apparent in the app itself. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

First, move through the option to sign up for the paid version (or a 30-day trial of the paid version) of HIDDEN PICTURES BY HIGHLIGHTS MAGAZINE -- THE ORIGINAL FIND THE OBJECT GAME FOR KIDS. Then watch the first object clue (a comb) appear in a column to the left of the image of a farm scene. Find the comb, tap it, and then continue to find more objects in the same way. Choose the next puzzle under the Fun for Everyone section, and select from Free Play, Timed, or Directed Mode. If you need a hint, tap on the magnifying glass to look more closely at one section of the picture. Under the Settings tab, players can adjust the clues to be viewed as pictures or words or to hide them completely. Kids have access to a few puzzles for free, but a monthly subscription is required to unlock them all and get new content regularly.

Is it any good?

This classic seek-and-find picture game looks great and gives kids three fun play options, but there's a catch. That fun play is seriously limited on Hidden Pictures by Highlights Magazine -- The Original Find The Object Game for Kids unless parents buy a subscription. For kids who don't mind very limited access or for those whose parents buy the monthly subscription, this find-the-object game is challenging but has plenty of supports. Kids can choose to look at the picture on the screen through a well-placed magnifying glass to help find individual objects, and they have a choice of three modes, including a timed mode. It's a fun way for kids to practice visual discrimination and reading without even knowing they're building skills. Ultimately, it's most accurate to call the free version a "trial mode," and it may only be worth it to true hidden-picture fanatics to subscribe.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the frustrations of limited content on apps that promote subscriptions and in-app purchase, such as Hidden Pictures by Highlights Magazine -- The Original Find The Object Game for Kids. Read Common Sense Media's Should I Give My Kids a Virtual Allowance?

  • Talk about how to use the hints. How long do you look for objects before tapping for a hint? Is it easier to use words or pictures to help you find the objects?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Price: Free to try; full access via subscription
  • Pricing structure: Free to try (optional in-app purchases from $2.99 to $4.99)
  • Release date: August 5, 2016
  • Category: Puzzle Games
  • Size: 171.00 MB
  • Publisher: Highlights for Children, Inc.
  • Version: 1.23
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later; Android 4.0 and up
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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