BrainPOP

Website review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
BrainPOP Website Poster Image
Videos and activities are fun, accurate, and valuable.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 20 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn accurate, age-appropriate information about specific topics within the Sciences, Math, English, Social Studies, Engineering & Technology, Health, and Arts & Music. From gravity to famous scientists and cell phones to soccer, BrainPop helps kids learn through videos, games, and quizzes. Kids can also use their critical thinking skills to make connections between topics in the same and in different subject areas, helping kids build the concept that most learning, if not all, is interconnected. BrainPOP is a standout website for helping kids learn a well-rounded variety of information.

Positive Messages

By encouraging kids to follow up video learning with interactive elements such as games, quizzes, and printable activities, BrainPop sends the message that learning is fun.

Violence

The U.S. History section contains some very serious war- and terrorism-related topics, including the American Revolution, Civil War, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the September 11, 2001 attacks. For example, in the lesson related to the September 11 terrorism attacks, an animated video of an airplane crashing into a building is shown, as well as the Twin Towers collapsing. That said, the lessons generally handle these moments in history with skilled sensitivity. BrainPop includes a message before playing the videos that explains: "This movie contains a sensitive subject. Please watch this movie with an adult, and take time to discuss it."

Sex

The Health section contains videos that discuss topics such as puberty, male and female reproductive organs, fetal development, and motherhood in careful, educational ways.

Language
Consumerism

This is a subscription service, so the upside is no flagrant ads, but users have to pay a monthly ($9.95/mo. with a one-year commitment) or yearly ($99) fee. You can try the site with a free trial membership. Games in the GameUp section are always free.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lessons and videos that address smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, using illegal drugs, and general addictive behavior all contain the messages that using addictive substances is dangerous and isn't healthy or cool.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that BrainPop is a paid subscription site (with some free content available to anyone, such as games and some videos) that contains animated content, much of which is aligned to state education standards. BrainPop is designed for kids in fourth grade and up. Lessons begin with a brief animated video and include a wide variety of school- and life-related topics, some that are difficult but handled quite sensitively, including lessons on terrorism, war, sexual reproduction, and alcoholism. There's also a companion site for younger kids, an educational gaming site called GameUp, and a Spanish language site. Families pay $99 a year or monthly with a year commitment; homeschooling families, schools, and other organizations pay more.

User Reviews

Parent of a 7 year old Written byCalla1978 July 10, 2014

Incorrect information.

I watched one of the brain pop videos to see what it was teaching my daughter. It said that creationism can't be taught in schools because of a separation... Continue reading
Parent Written bysshally July 23, 2015

Age 8 but with Caution

We typically use Brain Pop jr, but my child has exhausted all the videos...we home school and find this a good supplement. My son enjoys Brain Pop with Tim and... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 15, 2013

silvonadux

I used to homeschool with my mom and we found brainpop! This is a totally safe website that explanes ways to do math,(division, fractions, geometry, algebra, et... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byHeretohelp26 January 15, 2013

Great site

I think it's a great learning site but sometimes they say the word "sex"

What's it about?

There is limited free content, so to get the most benefit from this site consider trying the free trial subscription. If your kid likes BRAINPOP's format and content, purchase the subscription. Once kids choos a topic (such as history, math or health) and a video within that topic, they press play and watch the few minutes-long video. Each video is accompanied by interactive activities and quizzes that reinforce what kids have learned. GameUp offers unique games that explore concepts in math, science, health, and technology.

Is it any good?

BrainPop is a standard-bearer for quality, self-directed online educational content for older grade school-age kids. This interactive site includes videos, audio prompts, graphics, and games in a blended format that will be very familiar to most kids. Kids can spend hours on this site exploring many of the main topics that contain more sub-categories, like the science and math sections. There are some sensitive topics addressed here, such as war and terrorism, but kids are warned to get a parent or teacher to watch that video with them prior to clicking play. A year's subscription is worth it because there's at least a year's worth of content for a kid to explore on BrainPop.

Most games are clever, creative, and address learning concepts not traditionally explored in this format, such as the Judicial Court where kids argue court cases at the Supreme Court. They also offer kids a really nice way to actively engage with the subject matter.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about any of the videos on BrainPop that pique your kid's interest, but especially those that are emotionally or intellectually challenging, such as those that address difficult times in history like war and terrorism, social problems, as well as personal health and physical development and videos that contain warnings about smoking cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol use.

  • Talk about the different ways of learning. Do you remember more when you have an activity to do after watching a related video?

  • Families can also talk about other educational sites that benefit learning and where to find reliable information online.

Website details

  • Subjects: Language & Reading: reading, storytelling, text analysis, vocabulary, writing
    Math: algebra, arithmetic, geometry, measurement, probability, ratio
    Science: astronomy, biology, ecosystems, energy, gravity, life cycle, motion
    Social Studies: citizenship, cultural understanding, events, government, historical figures, history, the economy
    Arts: dance, drawing, film, music, painting, photography, sculpture
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, making conclusions, part-whole relationships, thinking critically
    Self-Direction: academic development
  • Genre: Educational
  • Pricing structure: Paid (From $220)

For kids who love learning and exploring

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