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Hopster Saturday Club: Empathy

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Hopster Saturday Club: Empathy App Poster Image
Dramatically expressive cartoons help kids ID feelings.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn the names of 15 emotions. They'll practice identifying the facial expression that matches each emotion and think about what circumstances might result in someone feeling each emotion.

Ease of Play

Kids tap to choose games, facial expressions, and record their voice.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

App is connected to a TV series that requires payment to watch, though there's no direct link to the series in the app.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hopster Saturday Club: Empathy gives kids practice with identifying emotions. It's a companion app to Saturday Club, an original series from the digital TV network, Hopster. The app is free; access to the TV series isn't. But kids don't need to have any familiarity with the TV series. One activity asks kids to describe how they're feeling at that moment and compiles a daily diary. Parents need to enter their year of birth and then give permission for the app to access their device's microphone before kids can use feelings diary feature fully. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Choose from three activities in HOPSTER SATURDAY CLUB: EMPATHY. A daily diary asks kids to choose from 15 different facial expressions to describe how they feel that day. Once they choose an emotion, they can make short audio recording describing why they chose that emotion. In another game, kids choose which of four characters is expressing an emotion that matches a scenario such as "Which friend has fallen and scraped her knee?" In drag and drop expressions, kids mix and match eyes, mouths, and accessories. A library displays each character's expression of each emotion.

Is it any good?

These silly and extremely emotional characters showcase a relatively well-rounded collection of feelings, even if some of the games are overly simplistic. Four characters model the basics like happy, angry, and sad. There are also some more complicated emotions like embarrassed or content. Kids see four different characters represent each of the 15 included emotions, which may help them recognize how emotional expressions have similar characteristics. However, it isn't always easy to confidently identify the emotions with these simplistic cartoon drawings. It's nice that kids work not only on recognizing and naming emotions, but also on exploring the situations in which someone would feel that emotion. The expression-creation game has the potential to be really fun, but unfortunately it disappoints. It would be nice to see kids have more control over the possible expressions and to label and document what they've created, for instance. Though Hopster Saturday Club: Empathy is partnered with a TV series, it easily stands on its own, particularly when parents and kids play together. Hopster Saturday Club: Empathy can be a fun, easy, and free way to spark conversations about a good number of emotions.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the feelings in Hopster Saturday Club: Empathy. Complete the daily diary with them and ask them to explain their choice of feeling. Then, tell them how you're feeling and why.

  • Talk about and label feelings as much as possible in your daily conversations. Help kids identify their own feelings, and those of others around them. Try to go beyond the basics to help kids develop a rich feelings vocabulary.

  • Read stories that describe lots of different experiences and talk about how they think the characters feel at different parts of the story.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Skills: Emotional Development: empathy, identifying emotions, labeling feelings
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: April 1, 2019
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 103.40 MB
  • Publisher: Hopster
  • Version: 1.1.15
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later

For kids who love learning about feelings

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