Sago Mini Puppy Preschool

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Sago Mini Puppy Preschool App Poster Image
Simple mini-games have puppy charm but little substance.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids get some light practice with a few early learning themes. They'll count to 10 and match quantity with number name and written numeral. As they take puppies in and out of the tub, they can also practice with counting in ascending and descending order. Kids have to recognize and match shape and color to sort and choose the right items. And kids can get creative and express their musical sides with the puppy piano.

Ease of Play

Tapping and dragging to navigate and play is super easy for small fingers.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

A small icon on the home page leads to ads for other apps from the same developer. A parent gate protects purchases; the icon can be turned off through your device's settings menu. The Sago Mini characters are a part of a commercial franchise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sago Mini Puppy Preschool is a set of four simple games that touch on a few preschool learning themes. Harvey the dog stars in the games and is accompanied by nine additional puppies. Play is a mix of semi-open-ended exploration -- such as in a counting game -- and games with a specific goal, such as matching shapes or sorting by color. The puppies burp and fart loudly throughout the game, which will probably make kids giggle. The "For Parents" section features a brief letter from the developer with some ideas of how to enhance your kids' experience with the games. The For Parents icon and the ad icon can both be turned off through your device's settings menu. Parents can also choose from 16 languages -- including Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Indonesian, and Russian -- to use for the counting activity. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

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What's it about?

In four games, kids play with puppies while exploring some basic early learning topics in SAGO MINI PUPPY PRESCHOOL. Count puppies as you take them in and out of a soapy bathtub. Match shapes to give the puppies a toy or sort by color to give them food. The match and sort tasks get more complex with more options as kids continue but reset every time they close the game. And you can play a tune -- freestyle or by following a guide -- on a puppy piano.

Is it any good?

Simple game mechanics and cutesy graphics may easily appeal to small kids, even if there's not much meaty content. Sago Mini games excel at being super kid-friendly and very accessible to young kids. They're friendly, welcoming, and easy and look good with lovable recurring characters. Sago Mini Puppy Preschool doesn't disappoint in this respect, even though the only familiar character here is Harvey the dog. Play is only partly open-ended in that two of the games (shape matching and color sorting) have very specific goals and only advance if kids make the right moves. The other two games have a bit more flexibility, within limits. Kids can take up to 10 dogs in and out of the tub to their hearts' content as they listen to the narrator count up and down. It's a neat touch to be able to play with the settings and learn numbers 1 through 10 in a new language. And the puppy piano is a pretty typical app "keyboard" with nine notes, with the one exception being that each note has its accompanying dog (matched by size, meaning that a bigger dog equals a lower note) and sounds like a bark/howl. Parents looking for simple, harmless games to entertain their young kids should feel perfectly fine about Sago Mini Puppy Preschool. Those looking for more substance may want to look elsewhere.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the learning themes introduced in Sago Mini Puppy Preschool. Ask your kids to name the colors they see in the color sort game. Encourage them to count out loud with the narrator in the counting game and sing along to the songs they make with the puppy piano.

  • Play lots of games offscreen to support basic preschool learning. Build, sort, label, and sing songs, recite nursery rhymes, and read books. Point out colors, shapes, types of movement, and directional words (for example, "inside," "behind," "in front of") in items you see around you.

  • Play continues indefinitely until you stop it. Talk to your kids about screen-time limits. You can use the Common Sense Media guide to making a Family Media Agreement and Device Contract for guidance.

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