it's a small world

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
it's a small world App Poster Image
Sweet, engaging sing-along app captures spirit of park ride.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

While it's a small world is meant to entertain, rather than educate, kids can learn about different cultures and geographic landscapes around the world in a simple, sweet way that's suitable for preschoolers. The story, images, and bit of interactivity help kids start to conceptualize global awareness about cultural traditions, people, animal life, and geography. Also, kids can learn the words for "hello" in many languages, as well as read along by following a bouncy ball over the story's words. There's no heavy learning here, but the sweet song and colorful images help young kids build global awareness.

Ease of Play

Very easy to play and follow along with the sing-along. Many options for simple touch interactivity.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Disney's logo appears on the main intro screen. The "Settings" page includes banner ads at the top for other Disney App Store purchases, as well as a field where you can sign up for Disney Updates via email. And the song is sort of a promotion for the well-known Disney theme park ride of the same name.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that it's a small world is a hopeful, interactive sing-along storybook app that depicts a world of beauty and peace between cultures where "a smile means friendship to everyone." Based on the Disney song and amusement park ride of the same name, the app transports kids throughout the world via a hot air balloon ride that drops into different scenes in the story. Players can touch a multitude of different images in the scenes to make characters do different things, like build a snowman, play with animals, and more.

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What's it about?

Kids start at the Home tab on the main screen, and choose whether they want to experience the app in sing-along or regular mode. In settings, they can choose to turn on or off the music, narration, and sound effects, and can select one of nine languages for the song. Kids can tap on different areas of the screen on each page to find cute, interactive surprises as they read or sing along.

Is it any good?

IT'S A SMALL WORLD is like bringing the beloved Disney amusement park ride right into your mobile device. It shows and sings about so much sweetness and light around the globe that it's hard not to feel happy while watching the faces of children and animals and listening to the well-known song. The interactivity keeps kids engaged and lets them participate in the scenes by doing things like building a snowman or releasing a goldfish into a pond from a bowl. The images also may help young kids learn about different countries around the world and their cultural traditions, dress, animals, and geography in a very simple way; although, that educational component could have been even more effective if the app had included the names of the various countries so parents could have identified them for the child as they "traveled" to each one.  Overall, a delightful experience for parents and kids alike.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Encourage your kids to learn other languages. Kids can gain cultural respect and awareness through language learning.

  • Ask your kid: What does "it's a small world" really mean? Is the world really small? How can we be better at sharing the world with all its inhabitants?

App details

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For kids who love music

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