Professor Astro Cat's Solar System

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Professor Astro Cat's Solar System App Poster Image
Blast off into outer space with lots to read and explore.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn a great number of facts about space, planets, our solar system, space travel, the sun and the moon, and more. Get a sense of size, distance, and scale in outer space and learn about what the planets are made of and how humans landed on the moon. For all the facts, graphics, and explanations, there's also plenty of room for kids to gain a general sense of wonder and excitement about outer space. Some kids may not love the format of the true/false quizzes and may have trouble answering the questions if they're just clicking around and exploring; a more informal assessment tool would be more fun for kids. However, especially for kids who can't get enough of astronomy, Professor Astro Cat's Solar System may inspire curiosity as it answers questions.

Ease of Play

Written instructions help guide kids through the different areas available for exploration, but it's not always clear what to do first.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Professor Astro Cat's Solar System is a digital version of a children's book written by a quantum physicist about outer space. The app uses the same text and illustrations but adds some interactive features, trivia games, and a build-a-rocket-ship puzzle. Because it's text-heavy, it's most appropriate for strong readers or for kids and parents to share together. Kids can create their own profiles under which they'll explore the solar system, collect medals, and build a rocket ship. Read the app's privacy policy for details on the kinds of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

Create your PROFESSOR ASTRO CAT'S SOLAR SYSTEM profile to collect your very own cadet badge and start exploring outer space. Scroll through the solar system and tap on the sun, moon, planets, and others to learn more. Each section has a list of fun facts, a small animation and/or interactive activity, and a "zipper" to get inside and look under the surface. Read it all, and then play the Jetpack Challenge to answer 10 true-or-false questions. Answer enough correctly and earn a medal and pieces for your rocket ship.

Is it any good?

Wonderful illustrations and bite-size, kid-friendly factoids abound in this whimsical adventure into space. Especially for kids who are already fascinated by all things space-related, Professor Astro Cat is a great guide who gives information but also creates opportunities to inspire questions. The major downside is that, just like in a traditional book, this digital version is very text-heavy and relies mostly on passive intake of information rather than active exploration. To be precise, there are ways for kids to be actively involved, such as navigating through the app, but most of the learning content is in the text. Also, some kids may find the different flashing options on the screen distracting and might find it hard to know what to do first; there's no set order, but there's no way to know that until you dive in. Despite these small drawbacks, it's a fun way to explore outer space and is likely to inspire kids to want to learn more.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about and explore this app together. Read together, ask questions, and encourage your kids to ask their own questions when they want to know more about a topic.

  • Take inspiration from what interests your kids and help them pursue their curiosities and questions. For example, take a trip to the library to find books and videos that explore the solar system.

  • What's the difference between reading an interactive book such as this one versus the traditional paper version? Is one more fun than the other? Is one better to learn from?

App details

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For kids who love outer space and science

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