A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that IF... The Emotional IQ Game is an adventure game that helps kids age 6 to 12 develop the skills that lead to emotional intelligence. Inspired by the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling, the app leads kids on a quest that promotes self-awareness and positive social communication. Kids think about and exercise choices related to core social and emotional learning (SEL) skills such as gratitude, helpfulness, and regulation of fear. As they play, kids get dialogue choices and can choose to say unkind or smart-alecky things; if they make an unkind choice, other characters react with hurt feelings or advice. There is a lot of static dialogue in the game that contains the instructive content, but kids can skip it if they choose. Characters use language such as "Let's find a win-win" and "This is really frustrating and scary" to help kids learn problem-solving and emotional vocabulary. Parents can view a report on a kid's gameplay and skills practiced for each chapter. This first chapter is free; all chapters thereafter must be purchased.
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What's it about?
Kids create their own dog avatars and travel through Ziggurat, a glittery fantasy world, fixing things in the environment and collecting "energy creatures" called Vim to cleanse them of dark energy. The quest begins by following the verbal and written instructions and blinking arrows; kids navigate by tapping on and holding the arrow icon to move. With the help of a wise Zen-like master, YouDog, and other characters, kids learn the story of Ziggurat, go on short adventures, and participate in dialogue about emotions by selecting one of the available choices. At one point, an encounter with a mystery voice leads kids through a guided meditation. If all chapters are purchased, kids can play in any order, though each chapter's story builds on the one before it.
Is it any good?
Exploring the beautiful fantasy world of IF... THE EMOTIONAL IQ GAME can help kids naturally absorb the valuable social and emotional lessons seamlessly built into the quest's gameplay. These lessons may help kids navigate potentially troublesome situations such as bullying, test anxiety, and everyday frustrations in the real world -- especially if parents and teachers reinforce these lessons by using the same language and promoting the skills (such as deep breathing) characters model on the app.
Depending on a player's age, level of concentration, and interest in quest-style games, one chapter of IF... may take anywhere from about an hour to multiple play sessions to complete. Each chapter includes different SEL skills lessons and adds more complexity to gameplay, with the addition of more things to find and more difficult terrain to navigate. A player's age does not affect the content of the game, and some kids may grow impatient with the amount of talking in the game, though the dialogue is built as a part of the adventure and not separate from it. New chapters are added regularly. The addition of a map (so kids can orient themselves to where their character is in the fantasy world) could improve this already highly engaging experience. IF... is a tremendously inventive way for kids to learn emotional-intelligence skills.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about and use some of the key words found throughout IF... -- such as "admire," "grateful," and "calm" -- and distinguish the difference between "sad" and "mad" to help your kid develop a broad and accurate emotional vocabulary.
IF... provides some excellent discussion starters in the dialogue options between characters and the player's avatar. For example, discuss why some ways of responding socially promote social connection more than others. When a character makes a positive remark to your avatar, explain why "I feel grateful" is a better response than "I don't think I'm lucky."
Refer to some of the suggestions provided to characters on IF... in everyday situations with your kid to help him or her ride the ups and downs of emotions. For example, one suggestion that YouDog provides to characters is to take a deep breath and intentionally relax muscles during times of stress or frustration.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, vocabulary
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making
Emotional Development: empathy, handling stress, identifying emotions, labeling feelings, persevering, perspective taking, self-awareness
Communication: friendship building
Responsibility & Ethics: integrity, making wise decisions, respect for others
Health & Fitness: meditation, mental health
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free to try, Paid, Free
- Subscription price: $20.99 for 3 months; $35.99 for 6 months; $59.99 for 12 months.
- Release date: March 26, 2015
- Category: Entertainment
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship
- Size: 469.00 MB
- Publisher: If You Can
- Version: 2.8.2
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love adventure games and learning with apps
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.