US Geography With Flat Stanley HD

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
US Geography With Flat Stanley HD App Poster Image
Sending Stanley soaring adds silliness to studying states.

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Educational Value

Kids can learn U.S. geography and grow in cultural understanding of each state by playing US Geography With Flat Stanley. As kids identify the location and shape of each state and match its name to the right spot on the map, as well as learn about each state's unique symbols, culture, and history, they are practicing memorization and gaining awareness of the part-whole relationships that are inherent in America and between its states and regions. US Geography With Flat Stanley is an enjoyable game that's best suited for kids who can read and who already know a little bit about U.S. geography.

Ease of Play

Easy to use, as long as kids can read and have a general idea of where most or at least some of the 50 states are located. States can be split up in regions, but the area within each region is large enough that it can be frustrating to locate particular states if kids don't already have a general knowledge of U.S. geography. The spelling part of the game may be too easy to play; instructions for "Spell Florida," for example, include the words kids are supposed to spell.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that US Geography With Flat Stanley can help kids learn the location of each state by seven regions. Kids need to be able to read to play the game. In the spirit of the original school activity in which kids mail Stanley to far-flung places, this app asks kids to send a cute little aviator Stanley image via airmail to each state. Players aim a slingshot at the map toward a requested state and let go, sending him flying. If he hits the right spot on the map, kids get a star under the region, then are asked to spell the state, and then can view more information about that state on a page with photos and information specific to that state. Kids can also tap on a state to see its capital city.

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What's it about?

Tap on a region and the U.S. map appears with that region highlighted. See Stanley in a slingshot next to an airmail postcard that says "Send me to Virginia" (or another state in that region). Kids pull the slingshot back and point it toward the state they think matches the request. Let go, and watch Stanley fly. If correct, kids move to the next page that asks kids to spell the state. Then they tap on the state and see the state flag, bird, flower, and other facts.

Is it any good?

US GEOGRAPHY WITH FLAT STANLEY HD is a fun way for kids who already know the basic vicinity of U.S. states to practice pinpointing where they are on a blank map. Flinging the happy aviator Stanley via slingshot toward each state adds a dash of excitement to the typically rote activity of state identification by memory. The information and photos provided on the states' flags, bird, history, and more are simple and inviting.

On the downside, there are no audio instructions, so kids have to be able to read to play. Also, the spelling scramble activity oddly tells kids in the written instructions how to spell the word ("Spell Virginia"). Finally, little states in the Northeast may be more frustrating for kids to hit. Even if they think they're aiming the slingshot properly, Stanley may land in a nearby smaller state simply because of the small margin of error in those tiny spots on the screen. Overall, US Geography With Flat Stanley provides a good way for kids to practice identifying states' locations and learn more about states.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Hang a U.S. map on your refrigerator or other prominent place in your home. When a different state or region comes up in conversation work with kids to find it on the map for some geographic context.

  • Talk about your state's symbols and flag. How do those things apply to your state's culture?

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