Highlights: All About

App review by
Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Media
Highlights: All About App Poster Image
Popular magazine goes digital with interactive fun.

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about different topics related to each edition. For example, in the free edition, kids are inspired through reading and gameplay to learn about the fall season, scarecrows, pumpkins, trees, falling leaves, and more. The stories range in difficulty level and include a rebus story (wherein pictures represent words), a short poem, and longer stories. Kids can follow along with the highlighted text or they can record their own voices reading the story. The hidden-picture puzzles are fun and encourage visual awareness while helping to improve observation and matching skills. Though the drawing and video activities inspire creativity, some of the video activities seem out of place. For example, one Brain Play video asks kids to think about three things they like to know about their friends. Overall, Highlights: All About offers a wide variety of learning activities that allow kids to engage with topics from many angles and skill levels.

Ease of Play

It's very easy to navigate, and audio prompts tell kids what to do each time they begin a new activity.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

All 11 of the in-app purchases are displayed when kids open the app.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Highlights: All About is a digital version of the well-known children's magazine. Kids can explore a range of topics by reading, listening to stories, drawing, watching and recording videos, and completing puzzles. The free version comes with the Fall edition, and 11 more editions are available as in-app purchases, which are visible to kids as they open the app.

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What's it about?

When you buy HIGHLIGHTS: ALL ABOUT, the Fall book is automatically downloaded. Simply tap on the book to start. Kids can choose from three main options: Puzzles, Reading, and Activities. In the Puzzles section are matching activities, interactive poems, hidden pictures, mazes, and jigsaw puzzles. The Reading section has four stories of varying difficulty levels: One story is animated, and the others have the option for kids to read and follow highlighted text or to record their own voices reading the story. In the Activities section, kids can watch short videos, record themselves doing an activity, or draw pictures about a specific topic, such as jumping into a leaf pile. As they play kids earn stickers, which are displayed on a separate page. Eleven other kid-friendly editions are available as in-app purchases including Summer, Winter, Spring, Transportation, Rain, Camping, Amusement Parks, Pets, Clothing, Music and Dance, and Books.

Is it any good?

Highlights: All About provides the same top-notch quality as its print counterpart. The activities are fun and challenging with plenty of variation to keep kids engaged. Allowing for a range of reading abilities and beautifully illustrated pages, the reading selections include early and emergent readers. Budding artists can find inspiration in the autumn-related prompts and create drawings. The free Fall edition offers plenty of learning value, but it's important to keep in mind that kids will see all the in-app purchases each time they open the app and likely will ask parents to buy them.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about topics related to each edition. Ask kids what they like most about fall and why. How is it different from the other seasons?

  • Work together to record the action rhymes in the Activities section. For example, in the Transportation edition, act out a flying airplane with kids.

  • Encourage kids to write their own poems. If they can't write, have them draw pictures while you write the words.

App details

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