A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
What's it about?
NATURE CAT'S GREAT OUTDOORS introduces kids to the great outdoors with a backpack full of fun -- specifically, a journal for recording observations, a camera for capturing photos, a compass for finding direction, and a microphone for recording sounds. An audio/visual tutorial guides kids through each feature, or kids can choose to skip it. In terms of the tool choices, kids can draw or write in their journals, as well as add photos from their media gallery. Pictures they take are automatically saved to the gallery. Recorded sounds are classified as animals, insects, people, weather, birds, plants, water, or mystery and can also be added to journal entries. The compass feature teaches kids about directions, if location data is enabled. Though there's a small icon linking to other kids' apps, actual downloads are protected by a parent gate.
Is it any good?
Playing outside without a device is optimal, but linking the great outdoors and the digital world may lead some kids to appreciate nature in a new way, though the navigation isn't always smooth. Themes all relate to nature, but kids could just as easily use the tools indoors as out, making it more of a creation experience. While a paper-and-pen nature journal is simpler, Nature Cat's Great Outdoors gives kids options they could only have with a device. The interface is easy to use at first, but then it gets iffy, especially when you're moving from one feature to another. Because it starts with lots of selections (about what the current weather's like), kids may go looking for those selection choices again but will be unable to find them. There are also load screens between each selection, and the wait might be just long enough to frustrate some kids. Though the navigation is a bit clunky, kids can do a lot in one app, and it's all for free!
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what kids choose to record in their Nature Cat's Great Outdoors photo journal. Ask questions like "What made you take a picture of this?" or "What do you like about this picture?"
Give kids an outdoor mission, such as recording the sound of an animal or taking a picture of an insect. Look over what they've captured and encourage them to journal about it in the app.
- Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: collecting data, investigation
Creativity: making new creations
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: September 10, 2016
- Category: Education
- Topics: Arts and Dance, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Science and Nature
- Size: 288.00 MB
- Publisher: PBS KIDS
- Version: 1.0.1
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.1 or later; Android 4.4 and up
- Last updated: June 23, 2019
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