The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends - Play & Explore

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends - Play & Explore App Poster Image
Fascinating animal facts and fun games in kid-size bites.

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn fascinating facts about wild animals such as insects, sea animals, chameleons, and, of course, caterpillars on The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends - Play & Explore. They also can play lightly challenging games that include preschool-appropriate skills, such as counting, sorting, and navigating mazes. Games include fun tasks such as "watch the chameleon change colors as you help him eat bugs" and "help the caterpillar avoid sweet snacks and eat healthy fruit." Other simple lessons about healthy eating and animal groups (which parents may need to amplify so kids don't miss them) are built into the games' concepts. The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friend gives kids real information about the fascinating world of animals while they practice basic learning skills.

Ease of Play

Very easy to navigate and play. The Read to Me option is selected by default. Read It Myself and Autoplay also are options. The eight games include clear verbal instructions.

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Sexy Stuff
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Consumerism

The app's main screen includes a "More From Storytoys" icon that shakes to grab kids' attention. Tap on it and more storybook app titles from this developer appear on a bar across the bottom of the screen. Tap on one of those titles, and a "Parents Only" notice appears. Swipe two fingers across the screen to purchase those storybook apps. 

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends - Play & Explore is an interactive pop-up storybook app that includes eight games for preschoolers. The book focuses on kid-friendly, nonfiction science and nature information about wild animals, such as sea animals and insects. In addition to the famous caterpillar, Eric Carle fans also will recognize lots of other characters in the illustrations, such as the chameleon, hermit crab, and seahorse. The games include preschool-age-appropriate brain-game challenges, such as counting, sorting, and building mazes, as well as older-kid-friendly challenges, such as "help the bear find her cub" and "help the caterpillar avoid sweet snacks and eat healthy fruit." The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends includes five language choices.

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What's it about?

Kids will have fun learning through animal facts, eight games, and Eric Carle characters. Tap on THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR & FRIENDS - PLAY & EXPLORE to open the nonfiction book with narration. Tap the white arrows to turn the pages. The mini-games appear in-between the book's pages of content. Listen to or read the mini-games' instructions, then swipe or tap the games' characters to complete the challenge. Tap the Home icon to return home, and the Content icon allows kids to skip to different sections related to topic, game, and badge to earn.

Is it any good?

The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends is engaging without being too fast-paced for preschoolers. This beautiful nonfiction book and game app includes simple science and nature lessons written into the book's content: Seahorse fathers help take care of the babies; animals use camouflage; and caterpillars shed their skins as they grow bigger. The simple games provide just enough whimsy without distracting from the learning. The narration and instructions are clear and easy. To keep this app fun and stress-free for preschoolers, avoid the wiggling icon on the main page that promotes other storybook apps by this developer and focus more on the stories and games than on badge-earning.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • If the basic science and nature information presented in this book sparks your kid's interest in one particular animal, get a book or visit a website specific to that animal. 

  • Highlight some of the side lessons this app gently presents, such as why the caterpillar wants to avoid sweet treats and eat fruit instead. 

  • Read some Eric Carle books together and see if you and your kid notice some of the same characters from this app.

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