U.S. Geography by MindSnacks

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
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Fun games challenge players on U.S. geography and culture.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can reinforce and expand their knowledge of U.S. geography and state cultural trivia with U.S. Geography by MindSnacks. The brief factsheet style lessons for each state can help kids review facts they already know and fill in informational gaps before playing the eight games. Fun game-style quizzes include more than 1,000 facts about U.S. geography and culture.

Ease of Play

User interface is easy to navigate. Each game is explained clearly in brief written directions. It may help users better understand the importance of the review portion of this app if it was more prominently displayed.

Violence
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A small "more apps" tab at the bottom of the main page requires adults to input the year they were born before moving onto the promotional page.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that U.S. Geography by MindSnacks includes eight wide-ranging quiz games that test players on more than 1,000 questions related to U.S. geography and state trivia. A tutorial is provided for each state so, before playing, kids can review basic information aligned with National Geographic's Geography Standards. To keep kids interested in the subject matter, games use fun hooks, such as a state-shape-eating frog or a dart for kids to mark the spot on the map where a certain U.S. landform or landmark exists. Material in some games, especially at higher levels of difficulty, tests users on very specific and/or not commonly known state trivia. Post-quiz reports show how close kids are to mastering each state's information and what skills players developed during the game. This app is just as suitable for adults who want to brush up on U.S. geography and state trivia as it is for kids who want to test and expand their newly acquired knowledge.

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What's it about?

Create a profile name for progress tracking, then review state information before playing the first game. A list of 20 states appears: Tap a state to learn more about it. The name of the state is spoken, and photos and information appear. The first game, Belly, appears with instructions to tap the state shape that matches the state name on the screen to fill a frog's belly with states. When the round is complete, progress reporting appears. Players then can move on to the next game. Continue for more than 40 hours of game play.

Is it any good?

U.S. Geography By MindSnacks is a fast-paced, information-packed quiz app that draws kids into practicing U.S. geography and state trivia information through eight fun games, distinctive visuals, and demanding questions at the higher levels of play. Players can choose from four games at first, and must complete those to unlock the other four. In addition to the creative games, one of the best features of this app is the thorough progress reporting: Some reports indicate whether a player answers each question quickly or slowly, others show what skills (such as visual recognition, geo-literacy, or cultural literacy) kids master as they play and to what extent they've done so over multiple play sessions.

This app isn't perfect: In some instances, the information players are quizzed on is downright obscure. Also, players can't select which states to focus on. It's probably best if kids have a basic knowledge of U.S. geography before using this app. Still, U.S. Geography by MindSnacks is a fun, absorbing way to help kids memorize facts while viewing some gorgeous images of America and its landmarks.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • If your child is new to U.S. geography and state facts, suggest starting with the easy level of each game.

  • Consider posting a U.S. map in your home and use it to map places of interest to your family, such as where relatives live, or where you've visited or would like to visit.

App details

For kids who love geography, maps, travel

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