Weather by Tinybop

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Weather by Tinybop App Poster Image
Free weather exploration inspires; parent guide helps.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about weather systems and their scientific terms. Kids will learn a lot more if parents get involved and use the handbook as a guide. Experiment with how the sun and air temperatures affect land, water, and our behavior and comfort level. Learn about wind and air currents and their role in creating weather. Look at the water cycle and clouds and learn terms such as "precipitation," "evaporation," and "condensation." See how all these things come together to create storms, snow, rain, and more. Explore freely, but use the guide and labels to get the most out of Weather by Tinybop.

Ease of Play

Navigation is all free exploration, which is great for some kids and confusing for others.

Violence & Scariness

A tornado and a hurricane blow away and destroy a house, trees, and some farm animals, and there's a frightened scream, but kids can tap a button to restore the house.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

A small icon on the home page leads to a list of other apps from the same developer. Users must swipe across the screen with two fingers in the requested direction to access the iTunes purchase page.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Weather by Tinybop is sixth in a series of exploration-based apps that delve into science and engineering topics. Kids freely experiment with different weather-related phenomenon: clouds, temperature, cyclones, precipitation, and more. Though there's a detailed handbook for parents, there's no guidance for kids in the app. The app is available in a long list of languages including Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabic, and many more. Parents can create a dashboard for which they'll need to provide an email address. Read the app's privacy policy to learn what kind of information is collected and shared. 

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What's it about?

Kids tap and drag their way through a variety of weather systems in WEATHER BY TINYBOP. Kids can make clouds, experiment with heat and airflow, create storms, and more. With no guide or explanation, kids freely experiment and explore. Each section has some close-up views to see things such as water molecules in the air or snowflakes forming from ice crystals. Kids can turn labels on in the settings menu to get a bit of an idea of what they're looking at, and parents can download a handbook online or in the app for a detailed guide on the themes the app explores.

Is it any good?

Kids freely -- and safely -- explore and experiment in a fun virtual world full of rain, storms, snow, and extreme weather. This open-ended approach is great for letting kids take the lead, but the lack of guidance -- which is intentional -- also runs the risk of leaving kids lost and confused. The handbook can help, and for this, parents need to get intimately involved in working together with kids to discover and explain the complicated phenomena represented in the app. Since a good number of the graphics are confusing as to what they represent -- especially the close-up looks -- turning on the labels feature can be a big help. Those who are familiar with other Tinybop apps will recognize the navigation features since they're consistent across titles; those who aren't might feel a bit lost. However, most kids will enjoy tapping around and exploring, even if they aren't reading the labels or learning the terms for weather features. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about connections between what happens in the app and real-life experiences. What does it feel like and what's fun to do in really hot weather? Really cold weather?

  • Look for the things represented in the app in the world around you. Go on a cloud-hunting mission and talk about what kinds of clouds you see. Take out ice cubes, or look in the bathroom after a hot shower to experiment with water through evaporation, freezing, condensation, and more. 

  • Read the handbook and play together. Talk about how kids learn differently from interacting with these phenomena through an app versus observing or experimenting in real life. What can kids do in one setting that they can't do in another? Do they like one more than the other?

  • Talk about the tornado and hurricane scenes. Are those parts scary or not? Why? Find out which on-screen content seems scary to your kid.

App details

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