Sprinkle Junior

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Sprinkle Junior App Poster Image
Water puzzles for youngsters; super fun, stays shallow.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn a bit about how water behaves. They watch it flow through paths, splash as it hits obstacles, collect in pools, cut away at rock, and push objects with its full force. On some levels they'll get a little practice strategizing and doing things in order, such as first picking fruit off a tree, then using the water to push the fruit into a little house to feed the mysterious inhabitant (who then spits the seed out the door). They can learn a bit about fire as well: If they move an object that's on fire, it can make the surroundings catch on fire. Sprinkle Junior is only intended to be low-pressure fun, but kids might learn some things about fire and water through observation and practice a little problem-solving.

Ease of Play

Play is never explicitly explained, but kids should figure out the basic point of the game eventually. Tap and drag to spray water and move obstacles.

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

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sprinkle Junior comes from the Sprinkle family of games and is specifically designed for small children. It's not entirely clear from the app itself, but the backstory is that some tourists unknowingly left behind little firebomb meteors as their rocket ship passed by Titan, one of Saturn's moons. The goal in this junior version remains the same: Spray water to put out the fires. Unlike in the versions for older kids and grown-ups, however, there is no limit on how much water kids can use, all levels are unlocked from the start, there are no puzzles to solve, and there's no countdown timer. Through 30 levels, kids simply spray water to put out fires.

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What's it about?

On each of 30 levels of SPRINKLE JUNIOR, kids find a hose, a landscape, some silly alien beings, and a series of small fires. Kids must move the hose up and down to aim enough water at the fires to snuff them out. Once all fires are out, kids pass the level. Sometimes kids also have to manipulate some objects in the scene to pass the level -- for example, put out fires on four little blocks and then feed them to a monster-looking alien. All levels are always unlocked and kids have unlimited water and time, but there are no instructions or hints.

Is it any good?

Sprinkle Junior is an accessible, safe, and straightforward game; it's only shortcoming is that it doesn't strike the right balance between simplicity and challenge. Kids certainly can have fun spraying water around, feeding alien monsters, and manipulating silly objects in this extraterrestrial environment, but there are only a few instances where water physics make a difference or where they really need to figure things out, such as when kids must put vegetables in a pot before taking it off the fire. Also, kids are free to choose whichever level they want at whatever time, which allows for great flexibility, but it also eliminates the sense of achievement or progress kids get from passing levels. On the other hand, with no instruction or hints, some kids might get stuck on certain levels and not know to drag and move items out of the way. Most kids will figure things out and have a great time, but a little more depth and a few more options would make this app amazing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the backstory, if they can figure it out. What effect did these tourists have on the inhabitants of Titan? Are there similar situations in real life? 

  • Talk about water physics. What makes water behave the way it does? How does the game represent the power of water? Build some real-life waterways with tubes, tunnels, straws, and so on, and watch what happens. 

  • Work together on setting time limits for using screens. Talk about how easy it is to get drawn in and spend a lot of time playing games such as this one.

  • Discuss fire safety. What happens when something that is on fire touches something else? What kinds of things catch on fire? What should we do if there's a fire?

App details

For kids who love problem-solving and strategy

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