MarcoPolo Ocean

Common Sense Media says

Preschoolers build, explore, and play in colorful ocean app.






What parents need to know

Ease of play

Well designed for preschoolers. The verbal instruction, sound effects, and visual clues all help kids know what to do next in a puzzle or what their options are during free play. Sometimes it's not entirely clear what certain animals can do, and only some parts of puzzles include more information, so kids may wonder in those instances what to do next, but the app offers clues in those cases, too.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

No personal information is collected. Non-personally identifiable information, such as screens viewed and action taken within the app, is collected. The app's privacy policy is accessible under the kid-protected parent area on the app. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that MarcoPolo Ocean is a beautiful free-play and puzzle app that includes five fun activities. It's colorfully animated and narrated to help kids of preschool age and up form an overall concept of what undersea environments look like and what animals live in them. Kids can explore a coral reef in shallow areas of the ocean, or take a dive to see what lives in the dark depths of the ocean. They can assemble pictures of marine animals and learn their names and body parts and then make the animals swim through the water with realistic motion. MarcoPolo Ocean also invites kids to build a ship and a submarine, puzzle-style, to explore human-made transportation above and below the water. Throughout play a narrator gives kids brief facts about more than 30 species of fish and marine mammals as well as some marine-vessel vocabulary, too.

What kids can learn


Language & Reading

  • vocabulary
  • following directions


  • animals
  • engineering
  • ecosystems


Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • part-whole relationships

Engagement, Approach, Support


Free play and puzzles engage kids in fun, lightly guided ways. Kids get to choose what to explore and will be delighted with the results as they see ocean views and animals change. Beautiful animation enlivens ocean-related concepts and vocabulary.

Learning Approach

Kids match parts of plants, animals, and vessels to puzzle pieces, forming part-whole relationship concepts. As kids travel through the oceans, they view different ecosystems and learn science and engineering vocabulary.


Clear, friendly narration guides kids into the puzzles and free-play options. Find excellent extension ideas for parents and teachers in a kid-protected area on the app.

What kids can learn


Language & Reading

  • vocabulary
  • following directions


  • animals
  • engineering
  • ecosystems


Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • part-whole relationships

Kids can learn about ocean ecosystems, marine mammals, plants, and fish, as well as boats and submarines on MarcoPolo Ocean. As they explore the ocean ecosystems and what lives there through puzzles and free play, kids learn topic-specific vocabulary such as fish body parts, parts of a ship, and aquatic animal behavior. Even preschoolers can learn some early engineering vocabulary, as they build and learn the names of parts of submarines and boats. MarcoPolo Ocean creates a fun environment for kids to explore and gain an appreciation for the waters that cover so much of the Earth's surface, the animals that live there, and the vessels humans use to explore it.

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

What's it about?

Tap Play and enter the main screen, which includes a shoreline and an ocean. Swipe the fish icon to view all the types of fish you can add to the scene. Tap the puzzle icon to hear information about ocean life and access a puzzle, which will highlight an activity such as reef building. As kids fill in the puzzle, the narrator speaks related vocabulary words. Tap on the wave icon to return to the main screen and play in other ocean landscapes for more exploring, facts, and puzzles. There's just enough of a dip into ocean knowledge within the waves of kid-friendly interactivity on MARCOPOLO OCEAN.

Is it any good?


Diving into the wonders of the ocean is easy with MarcoPolo Ocean, as kids simply tap, drag, and swipe to explore. The friendly narrator keeps facts brief, indicating only the term for many of the puzzle pieces ("Fluke," she says as kids place the orca's tail into the puzzle) and a slightly longer explanation for other environments or animals. If kids can't find where a puzzle piece fits, it flashes to give them a clue. There are a few tidbits that aren't totally in line with real ocean life. For example, in the section about marine mammals, there's a manatee pictured in the same environment as a polar bear, which may make it seem as if those animals live in the same area of the ocean. Also, sometimes kids will need to practice trial and error to find out how certain parts of the free play work. The kid-protected parent section includes explanation of the app's activities and settings, as well as extension ideas for parents.

Families can talk about...

  • Read through the kid-protected parent section to find extension ideas, such as a fun sink-or-float activity, to continue learning.

  • Check out websites that include images of different boats and submarines so kids can view actual photos of parts of those vessels that they've learned to identify on the animated versions they pieced together on MarcoPolo Ocean.

  • If you have a public aquarium nearby, take a family field trip and visit it to see the real thing. Or watch a documentary-based movie featuring oceans such as Disney's Oceans.

App details

Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:January 30, 2014
Topics:Ocean creatures, Science and nature
Size:191.00 MB
Publisher:MarcoPolo Learning
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.0 or later

This review of MarcoPolo Ocean was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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