Sloth World - Play & Learn!

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Sloth World - Play & Learn! App Poster Image
Odd series of questions isn't worth subscription price.

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

Educational Value

Questions touch on preschool learning themes of creativity, logical reasoning, literacy, empathy, and healthy habits. Some themes are better represented than others. Kids will get some exposure to letters, numbers, categorizing, patterns, spatial reasoning, and emotion recognition. They'll also get lots of practice answering multiple-choice questions. The customizable sloth character gives kids some opportunities for creative expression. Unfortunately, some content might cause confusion, which negates some of the learning value.

Ease of Play

Game is easy to play, but some questions depend on cultural knowledge that may not be the same for all kids.

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

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sloth World - Play & Learn! is a subscription-based app for preschoolers with light learning content. The app is a series of questions, or levels, that ask kids to identify letters, or missing objects, order pictures of plot points in a story, categorize items, and more. In the parents' section, parents can set a time limit for playing with the app, up to 180 minutes. They can also choose to play in English or Portuguese.  There are some questions that depend on cultural knowledge that not all kids may have, and others that don't entirely make sense. This may frustrate kids when they don't understand the question or can't find the "right" answer. The free download includes access to the first "world" with 58 levels. To unlock more worlds and levels, kids need to pay $6.99/month or $44.99/year for a subscription. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

In SLOTH WORLD - PLAY & LEARN! kids are tasked with teaching an ancient sloth -- who has just woken up in modern times -- about the world. Kids answer a successive series of questions bunched into groups labeled with locations as Home, Beach, School, or Forest. Most questions are multiple choice and ask kids to do things like identify which banana is different from the others, which activity "we do after eating," which object starts with the letter "A," or which face is sad? Other questions involve spatial reasoning, such as "which object is to the right of the couch?" or categorizing, such as "drag all the fruit into the bowl." Answer each question to move on automatically to the next. Answer more questions to earn items to personalize your sloth.

Is it any good?

Though the developer makes big educational claims, this inconsistent set of questions for the preschool set is too superficial to tap into meaningful learning. Sloth World - Play & Learn! has a few things going for it. For example, the graphics are kid friendly and colorful and the sloth theme is appealing. Lots of questions are decent standard material for this age range, such as which of these items starts with the letter "A?" Some are even somewhat creative, like those that ask kids to use spatial reasoning. And yet, there's a sizable enough number of questions that miss the mark. Inconsistent levels of difficulty mean that kids get questions about which items are fruit right next to questions for which kids have to do mental subtraction problems. Many questions ask odd things ("what is between the dress and the pants?"), don't have clear answers (putting a story in order when the pictures don't represent a story that has one clear order), or are culturally bound (for "which of these items belongs in a fridge" the milk is a cardboard box that's unlikely to recognizable to most kids in the U.S.). There are also mistakes, such as the question that suggests that soup is eaten cold instead of the ice cream cone. Many of the educational claims make no sense, such as labeling categorizing fruit with the "creativity" educational theme.

Also, the app's structure of question after question can easily get repetitive, and there's no clear reason why Sloth World - Play & Learn! uses a subscription model rather than a one-time purchase. Despite some positives, there are too many inconsistencies, culturally-bound questions, odd choices, and mistakes to make Sloth World - Play & Learn! worth time and money for most families.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the questions in Sloth World - Play & Learn! Which ones are easy to answer and which ones are harder? Play with your kids to get a sense of what they're able to figure out.

  • The app's learning goals are great. Engage your kids in lots of activities - on screen and off - that encourage them to think creatively, use logic, practice empathy, and so on. There are lots of ways to tap into these goals, including good old traditional pretend play with stuffed animals, dolls, or action figures!

  • Make your family's policies around screen time and in-app purchases clear before handing over your device.

App details

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