Piiig Forest Explorer: Natural Science for Kids

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Piiig Forest Explorer: Natural Science for Kids App Poster Image
Virtual forest is lovely but limited.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about 12 forest-dwelling animals: As they guide the chipmunk around the forest, kids learn the names of and some facts about beavers, frogs, bees, a woodpecker, deer, rabbits, bluebirds, a turtle, a skunk, a spider, and a mole -- all in their natural environments. 

Ease of Play

Moving the chipmunk protagonist around the forest isn't intuitive and can be awkward, as the controls aren't always immediately responsive.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Behind a parent gate there's an icon that advertises other apps from the same developer.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that in Piiig Forest Explorer: Natural Science for Kids, users guide a chipmunk through a forest to discover other forest animals and yummy things to eat. Kids are introduced to each of the 12 featured animals and learn a few fun facts about them. Tapping where you want the chipmunk to go may be easier than dragging it, as there's a bit of a response delay when dragging. Because this may not be intuitive for some kids, parents should be ready to help kids if they need it. The game can be played in eight languages: English, Chinese, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Japanese, and Swedish. To change the language, pass through the parent gate and select the language you want. At the time of review, there's no way to turn off the background music. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

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What's it about?

Enter the forest as a curious chipmunk and discover 12 animals in PIIIG FOREST EXPLORER: NATURAL SCIENCE FOR KIDS. Kids start by waking up the chipmunk, then tap around the screen to guide the little animal through the forest. Tap on acorns or berries to eat them. When kids tap on the animals that they find -- such as deer, frogs, beavers, and spiders -- they complete a puzzle featuring that animal, then learn the animal's name and hear a few fun facts about it.

Is it any good?

This virtual romp through an adorable forest has a few nice features but doesn't have enough substance to make it last. The visuals are lovely, and gentle music underlies realistic forest sounds, though it would be nice to be able to turn the music off. Kids will likely enjoy pretending to be a chipmunk: Watching it scamper along the ground, climb up trees, and jump from stone to stone in a pond is great fun. A collection of interesting tidbits about each animal in the forest gives kids a nice but very bare-bones introduction to some of the wonders of the natural world; the vocabulary isn't quite age-appropriate and will be too advanced for a lot of kids. Once kids have cycled through all 12 animals, there's not much left to do other than keep revisiting the same places and same animal information. In addition, the puzzles that kids must complete to access each animal's animation feel out of place and don't add much to the experience. In terms of basic functionality, awkward navigation may frustrate kids as the tapping mechanism isn't totally responsive, and the chipmunk often just refuses to go to a certain location, literally shaking its head no. Improved controls, more smoothly introduced facts, and a few additional biomes would give it a longer shelf life.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the animals that kids find in the forest. Have them guess what the animal is before its name is revealed. Help them find out more information about the animals by looking through books or online.

  • Point out the differences in animal behavior during the day versus at night. Talk about how and why our behavior and rhythms, and those of other animals, depend on the day/night cycle.

  • Go for walks in the forest (or a city park) and see how many wild animals you can find. Make sure to observe the animals quietly without disturbing them.

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love animals and the outdoors

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