Kidspiration Maps

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Kidspiration Maps App Poster Image
Young writers get organized with colorful mind-mapping tool.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn to organize and express their ideas, starting with images and progressing to words. They learn to organize and write stories; sort and group thoughts, ideas, and items; and develop study skills in many subject areas. Using pictures, kids can express their ideas visually and then translate those ideas into words. As they grow older, kids can work with more abstract ideas and images. This highly visual mind-mapping tool enables -- and inspires -- kids to be both organized and creative.

Ease of Play

The tap-and-swipe gestures of the iPad work well with mind maps. Help screens are text-heavy, but kids will learn as much from exploring. Undo and redo buttons fix mistakes.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kidspiration Maps is a mind-mapping tool designed specifically for elementary-school-age kids by the creators of Inspiration Maps. The colorful and picture-heavy organizer helps kids learn to organize and classify information to help with writing, reading, and understanding. The app includes a microphone for kids to express their thoughts while creating their diagrams. Using the microphone can help kids with receptive and expressive language issues, giving them the opportunity to practice their language organization and verbal memory. Kids can create graphic organizers such as story maps, Venn diagrams, and webs using the included pictures or their own images. The pictures and graphic organizers can help kids with organizational difficulties. In addition to making graphic organizers the app includes premade activities for reading, writing, social studies, and science. These activities can help kids who are struggling with functional concepts through both visual and written outlines. Outlines can be converted to graphic organizers and vice versa. Kids can share creations by emailing, printing, or saving them to iTunes, Dropbox, Photos, or the app (as PDF or PNG files). The Lite version, which is free, lets kids create up to five mind maps with no sharing options but includes frequent requests to upgrade.

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What's it about?

KIDSPIRATION MAPS is a kid-friendly tool for mind-mapping, a strategy that helps kids organize, learn, and remember information more efficiently. Kids can choose to create a diagram or a SuperGrouper, open a document, or choose a preloaded activity template for reading, writing, social studies, science, or math. To create a diagram (which could be a story map, brainstorming session, or Venn diagram), they start with a white background and a text bubble that can be customized. Kids add text, images, other connecting ideas, and even their own voices. They can toggle back and forth between the outline and graphic views. Using SuperGrouper, kids practice sorting, categorizing, and logically grouping ideas or images or create a picture story using the images provided. Activities are preloaded learning activities that include instructions. These can be used as is or adapted and edited. Projects can be printed, emailed, saved in the app or to Dropbox, or sent to iTunes.

Is it any good?

Kidspiration Maps is primarily used in the classroom but can be handy for parents and kids who like to create their own stories and learning activities. This versatile organizational tool comes preloaded with dozens of templates for reading and writing, social studies, science, and math activities. When creating their own maps, kids can be as creative as they want, customizing colors, fonts, shapes, and images. Instructions are text-heavy, and the process of creating a mind map from scratch is not very intuitive, so kids will need some demonstration and explanation. But they should be able to pick it up easily and quickly be able to use it to express their ideas and organize their thoughts. Though pricey, Kidspiration Maps is a worthwhile investment, especially for homeschoolers, because it makes creating prereading and early math activities (or using the dozens of activities already included) really easy. Unlike many educational apps, this one isn't responsive to activities included or created; when kids drag objects into the shape sorter, for example, the app won't tell them if they're correct.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Young kids will need parents to be present and involved as they work on these activities.

  • Write a story together using SuperGrouper. You can choose a background and add images and record the words. Then tap and play back.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Skills: Creativity: brainstorming, combining knowledge, making new creations, producing new content
    Self-Direction: academic development, working efficiently
  • Price: $9.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: October 11, 2013
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 150.00 MB
  • Publisher: Inspiration Software, Inc.
  • Version: 1.1
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later

For kids who love drawing, reading, writing, sorting

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