Parents' Guide to

Sago Mini Zoo

By Ana Beltran, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 3+

Cute virtual zoo offers open-ended play.

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This familiar sort of digital preschool playset lets kids engage in open-ended play while learning about animals and their habitats, but still falls short of offscreen imaginative play. The premise behind Sago Mini Zoo -- which is to empower kids to make the rules, engage in open-play, and use their imagination -- is powerful message. The graphics are vivid and engaging, and kids familiar with Sago Mini apps will recognize the characters. Kids will be excited to find a Ferris wheel, popcorn stand, their favorite animals, and discovering little details in the playset. Sago Mini Zoo introduces little ones to animals and their habitats and provides a platform for conversations about animals, where they live, and why. It also provides families a platform to talk about how to care for animals. Without the guidance of a grown up,ideas on how to engage with the app, and a bridge to offscreen experiences, kids probably won't learn much and may eventually lose interest. The playset offers a wide variety of animals and objects to engage with, but it doesn't replace the level of engagement created by offscreen imaginative play where kids are able to hold, feel, and physically move objects as their imagination -- unconstrained by an app's limitations -- takes flight.

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