Marine Missions

Common Sense Media says

Easy missions for the youngest Jacques Cousteau wannabes.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Very easy to play. Clear verbal and visual instructions. Once a player understands the basic idea of the main games, each mission is similarly structured. The Creature Builder activity gives kids lots of direction ("Let's add some details to your sea creature") to help young users create with all the options. Parents can find written instructions for some activities under the "For Families" tab.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

There's a National Geographic Kids logo on the main screen. A link under the "For Families" tab moves users out of the app and onto the National Geographic Kids website, where kids will see ads for the subscription-based magazine of the same name.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

No personal information required to use this app. National Geographic posts a privacy policy for kid-related information on its website for game and other related digital content. However, kids can click out of the app and onto the Internet under the "For Families" tab, which isn't under a parental lock.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Marine Missions promotes ocean conservation through fun mini-missions and activities. It encourages very young app users to think about what humans need to do to clean up the world's oceans. Through a few very simple games that encourage kids to pick up trash in the on-screen ocean or swipe up oil spills, kids get the essential messages about what pollutes our oceans. The Creature Builder activity lets kids design a silly combo-animal by choosing from many comics-style sea creature parts. There are also some basic sea animal facts and photos. Nothing too deep in these waters, but just enough information and engaging play to set young kids sailing into ocean conservation. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • naming

Science

  • animals
  • biology
  • ecosystems

Social Studies

  • geography
  • global awareness

Skills

Creativity

  • making new creations

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Marine Missions engages kids through fun, simple games that are designed with the youngest app users in mind. The imaginative "Creature Builder" is particularly engaging, with many choices and free creative play.

Learning Approach

Beautiful world map helps kids find games and includes audio narration of the names of the world's oceans. Brief written information (with an audio option) and photos of sea animals add a simple marine biology lesson.

Support

Clear verbal and visual instructions abound. Adults can find written instructions for some activities under the For Families tab.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • naming

Science

  • animals
  • biology
  • ecosystems

Social Studies

  • geography
  • global awareness

Skills

Creativity

  • making new creations

Kids can learn the very basics about pollution problems in the oceans, such as garbage and oil spills, while playing with Marine Missions. They also can learn the names of the world's oceans as well as some of their unique characteristics, such as blowholes and tidal bores. Using the Creature Builder tool, kids can engage in creative play and learn about real sea animals. Marine Missions delivers fun, sea-level learning about ocean conservation for young kids.

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

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What's it about?

In MARINE MISSIONS, kids choose the first challenge by tilting (or tapping) the iPad to move a boat on the screen to a spot on the map. In one mission, kids tap trash to toss it into a recycling bin and swipe to clean up an oil spill. In another, they swipe or tilt the screen to move a cute hermit crab over blowholes to recapture his mask. The Creature Builder provides many choices for making a pretend sea animal, and kids also can see photos with real sea life. This app offers uncomplicated lessons about how pollution affects the ocean and its creatures.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Marine Missions is a fun way for very young kids to learn the most simple ideas for ocean conservation. For example, trash and oil are bad for oceans. Kids also can have some fun making silly, imaginative sea animals and learning about ocean creatures. The challenges, such as "Clean Up" and "Blowhole," require kids to perform very simple tasks such as picking up trash or moving a cute hermit crab over blowholes when they aren't spouting to recapture his mask. The Creature Builder creative activity includes dozens of options for kids to create a new creature based on a real sea creature, such as a sea star, a shark, or a sea snake.

While the beautiful map and voice instruction help kids learn the names and locations of the different oceans and continents, kids aren't going to learn a lot of details or find great academic challenge on this app. Marine Missions is more about helping kids start to think about marine ecology through small waves of fun and creative play.

Families can talk about...

  • Navigate through the app to help your kid find the (somewhat buried but useful) information and photos of sea animals.

  • Discuss what your family can do to help keep the oceans clean and safe for sea animals.

  • Set up a family recycling program.

App details

Device:iPad
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:July 25, 2013
Category:Education
Topics:Ocean creatures
Size:368.00 MB
Publisher:National Geographic Society
Version:1.1
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.1 or later

This review of Marine Missions 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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Quality

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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