A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Weird But True is a fun adaptation of the popular book by National Geographic. The free app comes with 25 facts, and you'll have to pay to get additional packs (ranging from 99 cents to $1.99; unlocking all the content will set you back $5). Each fact is presented as a page with fun fonts, sound effects, and occasional illustrations. On the fact page, kids can tag a fact as a favorite, rate how weird the fact is on the "weird-o-meter," tap to see and hear an animal float across the stage saying "that's weird," share the fact with a link to the app on email, or visit the menu. Kids can swipe from fact to fact, visit their favorites, or scroll through topics alphabetically. Kids can also see a list of the weirdest facts as rated by other users during the past week. A few facts mildly mention violence, such as ants that explode when they're attacked.
What's it about?
Kids swipe through screens with weird facts in this easy-to-use app. The facts are visually appealing, but are not read aloud and thus require good reading skills. With each fact, kids can mark it as a favorite, rate the weirdness factor, and share it via social media. Kids can also browse the facts by topic and by "top weird-o meter," a weekly ranking of the weirdest facts by other users.
Is it any good?
WEIRD BUT TRUE is a great adaptation of the popular book series by National Geographic. The app focuses on cultivating curiosity, which it does well. Kids will love the fun sound effects and creative design of fonts and colors on the pages, as well as the several different ways of interacting with the facts.
But there are some downsides. First, the developer is not entirely upfront about what you're getting when you install the app. The app's description in iTunes refers to "more than 600 kid-friendly facts," but does not clearly explain that to get all the facts you'd have to make four in-app purchases totaling $5. Second, the app does not contain sources for the facts or explanations of why or how they're true, which not only could help kids learn more about the facts, but also helps them learn to evaluate seemingly factual statements in our digital age. So, families may want to use this app to spark creativity and questions (and have fun!), then find time to talk about verifying facts with research -- and enjoy doing that research together.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Science: animals, astronomy, biology, chemistry, electricity, energy, measurement, motion, physics, substance properties
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: January 26, 2013
- Category: Books
- Size: 45.70 MB
- Publisher: National Geographic Society
- Version: 2.0.1
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 5.0 or later