Universe in a Nutshell

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Universe in a Nutshell App Poster Image
Size up everything from elephants to electrons with a swipe.

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Kids say

age 2+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about the size of hundreds of objects. Zooming in and out gives kids a tangible way to get a sense of how the different sizes compare to each other. Kids can also read a brief description of what each object is -- and perhaps be inspired to learn more.   

Ease of Play

Super easy to use: Swipe to adjust the scale and tap to learn more about each featured item.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Universe in a Nutshell is a reference app that allows kids to get as sense of the relative size of over 250 objects. A simple swipe adjusts the zoom and kids can find something as small as a planck length, and as large as the observable universe. Information about the objects is all text-based, so kids need to be strong readers to use the app on their own. The scale is set to the metric system which means that those who are more familiar with the Imperial system (the one used in the United States) will need to convert on their own. Universe in a Nutshell is collaboration between a science blogger and a science-based YouTube creator.  The settings menu includes direct links to these developers' blog site and YouTube channel. 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 10 years old June 1, 2021


I don't see anything wrong with it. Go Kurzgesagt!
Teen, 13 years old Written byMovie_Rater_Boi October 6, 2020

Really Good App about Size Comparison

This app teaches people the size comparison of the universe. It's really entertaining and educational. You can see the smallest known object to the largest... Continue reading

What's it about?

UNIVERSE IN A NUTSHELL opens with animated graphics of a human, a giraffe and an FM Radio wavelength, among other objects. Swipe to adjust the zoom, and continue zooming in to find objects both big and small. A scale on the bottom of the screen indicates where the user is in the zoom scale. Tap on any object to learn more about it. A glossary section lists the objects by size. Leave the background music on, or easily mute it from the main screen.

Is it any good?

This super accessible reference app gracefully brings the universe down to size. It can be really hard to wrap your head around the size of really big or really small things, but swiping through the scale makes the amazing size comparisons feel tangible. The graphics are nice, though some kids might appreciate seeing actual images of the objects, when available. Each object has a brief, and sometimes amusing, description. Since there's not much depth, these blurbs simply whet kids' appetites. They may be inspired to learn more but they'll have to go elsewhere to do so. In fact, the reference information here is really limited to just the basics. For example, though kids can get a sense of just how much bigger the sun is than a grain of salt, there are no explicit comparisons among any particular objects (e.g., how many salt grains could fit in the sun?). That said, there are some interesting and creative points on the scale such as the number of steps a human takes in a lifetime or the daily growth of a bamboo stalk. Universe in a Nutshell is approachable for anyone. But kids who like to geek out on science -- and on matters bigger or smaller than what they can tangibly imagine -- will particularly appreciate this experience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the scale of objects included in Universe in a Nutshell. What's the biggest thing you can imagine? What's the smallest thing you can see with the naked eye?

  • Which objects pique your kids' curiosity the most? Help them find out more about what interests them. Go to a library, a museum, or do some internet research together.

  • Help kids experiment with measurement and size using things you find all around you. Break out a ruler or a measuring tape, or make up your own units of measure. Make sure to take notes so you can look back later and make comparisons.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love stem apps and science

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