The History of Everything

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
The History of Everything App Poster Image
Basic timeline of select events; confusing presentation.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn some basic information about a few select historical events. The timeline covers the birth of the universe, through the evolution of life on earth, to some select events in the common era.

Ease of Play

It's easy to scroll up and down along the timeline, but the logic of how events are presented isn't immediately clear.

Violence & Scariness

Wars and other violent events are included in the timeline.

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The History of Everything is a scrollable timeline that highlights a few choice events from the birth of the universe through modern history. Kids should be confident readers as the historical events are described through text only. The History of Everything was designed to showcase a particular method of app development, and it just so happens to use a lightly educational timeline as its content. There's some text that some parents may find controversial, or objectionable, such as the description of the crusades. Also, there are functionality issues -- for example, years on the timeline not matching up with the placement of event entries and incomplete menus -- that can make using the timeline quite confusing. 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?

THE HISTORY OF EVERYTHING is divided into three categories: Birth of the Universe, Life on Earth, and Common Era. Choose one to see a drop down menu of a handful of specific events/historical people; tap on one event to enter the timeline. In the timeline, kids can see simple animated icons and labels for each event/person for which there is an entry. Tap on one to find out more or scroll up and down to explore other parts of the timeline. Mark some events as favorites to store them on your timeline for easy access.

Is it any good?

In attempting to include everything, this timeline ends up covering woefully little. The History of Everything does cover a broad outline of when a select few major events occurred in the formation of the earth and the evolution of species. From the big bang to the basic steps that take us from single-celled organisms to homo sapiens, the timeline may help kids place important events and get a sense of just how many years ago these things happened. There are kid friendly entries (dinosaurs!) and though the information is text-based, it is written in mostly kid-friendly language. That said, entries are very brief, so kids won't learn much from each event. The choices of historical events for the common era get a little more questionable as the timeline is so sparsely populated. There are certainly some interesting historical figures (Marie Curie, Martin Luther King, Jr.) and events (Moon Landing). But with this is hardly the history of everything. There are also some confusing user experience issues, including menus that don't include all of the events, years that don't seem to match events, and confusing information for scrolling through the timeline. Rather than being developed as an educational or informational tool, The History of Everything was built as an experimental exercise in using a particular method of app development -- and it shows.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the events featured on The History of Everything's timeline. Ask what interests your kids and help them go beyond the brief explanation provided on this timeline by looking online, going to the library, or watching documentaries.

  • Help your kids get sense of the scale of history. How long is several million years? Why are there so many more events to talk about in "recent" history versus ancient history?

  • Talk about the choice of events/historical figures that were included in the timeline. Why were these events or people particularly important? What events or people do your kids know about that may be missing? Help fill in some of the blanks for a time period that interests your kids.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history

Themes & Topics

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