The Magic Pond

App review by
Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Media
The Magic Pond App Poster Image
Fun mini-games and surprises may dry up quickly.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn to use touchscreen technology as a way to explore hidden pictures and animated graphics. They also can learn to match shapes with shape outlines. As they interact with the scenes, kids see the impact of their actions. For example, in one scene, kids pop bubbles blown by the frog. Each popped bubble turns into a step, and with enough steps the frog can reach the moon. The Magic Pond's combination of open-ended exploration and goal-oriented mini-games will appeal most to toddlers and preschoolers, who will love revisiting each area of the app again and again.

Ease of Play

Tap gestures are kid-friendly, and there's no wrong way to use the interactive features. Some visual or audio cues could help kids who are just learning about touch technology.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Magic Pond lets kids play three mini-games and explore different areas of a pond inhabited by a cute frog and other adorable creatures. There aren't any directions or visual prompts, so kids are empowered to learn by experimenting. Preschoolers and kindergartners will probably revisit each area multiple times, whereas kids older than five or so may lose interest after a few uses.

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What's it about?

There are four areas for kids to explore in THE MAGIC POND. When kids tap on the biggest circle containing the cow, there are lots of interactive graphics and animations to explore. Kids tap to uncover hidden animals, make a ladybug fly, race a boat across the lake, ring a cowbell, sing along to "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," and more. In the chameleon mini-game, kids tap to find hidden chameleons among the trees. The band mini-game lets kids drag band members into place by matching them with their shape outlines, and each member starts to play when correctly placed. Finally, kids tap to pop bubbles in the frog mini-game. Each popped bubble turns into a step, and several steps lead the frog to the moon. Kids can tap the home icon at any time to return to the main screen.

Is it any good?

The Magic Pond is filled with colorful graphics that engage kids and encourage them to explore all the interactive elements. Kids can freely explore as they wish, which has its benefits. The pond area has the most bang for the buck, with a lot of hidden treasures for kids to uncover. The other areas are fun to try, but some kids might grow tired of the activities quickly. With its low price tag, The Magic Pond could make a good starter app for toddlers who are just being introduced to touch technology.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about their favorite parts of the magic pond area. Encourage kids to listen carefully to the sounds they hear, and then discuss how the area is similar to an actual park or backyard kids have explored.

  • Encourage kids to tell a story about the different characters. Where were they before this? What are they doing now? What will they do next?

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