Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer App Poster Image
Delightful sea adventure makes a great first app for tots.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn to use their imaginations as they explore the underwater world and see what different creatures might be doing. Even though there is no text involved, kids can build literacy skills through imaginative play. If kids create a story around Fins, they'll practice narrative skills. Since this may be one of the first apps little ones explore, they'll become familiar with the touchscreen as well as scrolling and tapping gestures. They'll also learn cause and effect as they see that tapping the yellow dot causes an animated interaction. The beauty of Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer is that it's fun, open play for kids -- and that's just how little ones learn.

Ease of Play

Toddler-friendly app is designed for exploration. Kids simply scroll and tap.

Violence & Scariness

The little fishy's adventures lead him into some silly encounters. He's swallowed by a whale and sucked into a sea plant, but he's never harmed, and it's not scary at all. 

Sexy Stuff
Language

The fishy encounters some mild potty humor, which is sure to delight potty-training or recently potty-trained little ones. A bird poops on his boat, a seahorse poops in the water, and larger fish burp out smaller fish.

Consumerism

A logo on the start page links to other apps, but the connection to the app store is protected by a parent-lock code.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer is an open-ended exploration game in which kids take Fins the Fish on an adventure through the ocean, encountering other sea creatures. It's totally toddler-friendly. Kids simply scroll or tap to lead Fins on his way. Yellow dots signal interactive elements, and kids can tap the dots or move Fins over them to see the animation. It all loops, so even if kids pass an adventure, they'll encounter it again. There's some silly, mild potty humor, which is likely to delight little ones. A seagull poops on Fins' boat, and a seahorse poops in the water. Some larger fish eat some smaller fish and then burp them out, too, but it comes across as silly and not scary or gross. 

User Reviews

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What's it about?

Kids find Fins the Fish in his underwater home, where they start playing with him by tapping. They can open and close his front door and blow the horn on his roof. Then Fins swims around, and kids can guide him as he explores the ocean -- both under and above the water. Yellow dots signal that there's some interaction to be seen, such as knocking over a crab’s sand castle, playing mariachi music with a fish band, and eating ice cream with an octopus. The scenes loop so kids can eventually discover all the adventures.

Is it any good?

It's refreshing to find a preschool app that lets kids explore and play rather than trying to make it "educational" by adding in the ABCs. Fins is adorable, and his adventures are delightful. Little kids can easily explore on their own, but it's also a great cuddle-up-together-and-explore experience for kids to share with parents. There's no set path for the story to take, and no "right" way to play -- kids just get to play. Fins' adventures provide great material for creative storytelling, too, which parents and kids can do together. The sound effects aren't annoying (which is a big plus for a preschool app) and are actually kind of peaceful, just like the sounds of the ocean. Parents looking for a delightfully fun, age-appropriate app for their young preschoolers will appreciate Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Explore the ocean together, making up a story as you go along. Then have your kid create his or her own story.

  • Before touching the yellow dots that signal an interactive element, ask your kid to predict what might happen when it's touched.

  • The logo link to other apps can be turned off in the device's settings menu.

App details

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