BrainPOP

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

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 31 reviews

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Educational Value

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.

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. Message before playing the videos 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 (from $24.95/mo) or yearly (from $230/year) fee. Content on a rotating daily topic is free and games 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 games and other resources) 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, a Spanish language site, and a separate site for English Languages Learners. Families pay $230 a year or $24.95 monthly; homeschooling families, schools, and other organizations pay more. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCommon Sense Pa... July 16, 2018

Reproductive Education Without A Permission Slip???

Brain Pop does have lots of interesting things to learn, and can be very useful . HOWEVER, I don't understand how students can get a full blown explanation... 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
Teen, 13 years old Written byTitania Villin April 13, 2020

Hate me, but it's trash

Alright, first the jokes aren't even funny. They try to make 'learning fun' but it's just cringe. The characters are annoying and the animat... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byOkfineIwillLeave October 29, 2020

Who thought it was a good idea to make a kid's website like a banking website?

I was just minding my business doing my homework here, and then bam, I have been logged out. Two whole hours of work. Just to be logged out. What a waste of tim... Continue reading

What's it about?

Check out BRAIN POP'S daily featured topic before deciding whether to subscribe. Kids start by watching the few minutes-long video for an overview, then choose from a wide variety of enrichment activities such as quizzes, making concept maps, downloading a printable worksheet, creating a movie, or using code to show off what they've learned. Content is organized by theme: science, social studies, English, math, Arts and Music, Health and SEL, Engineering and Tech, or New and Trending. Each theme has units (e.g., scientific inquiry) and is further broken down by topic (e.g., computational thinking). The games section within the topics offers unique games that explore concepts in math, science, health, technology, and more.

Is it any good?

This resource is a standard-bearer for quality, self-directed online educational content for older grade school-age kids. BrainPOP includes videos, audio prompts, graphics, games, and use-what-you-learned activities 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. There's more than enough content here to keep kids busy, engaged, and learning for a long time. 

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. Many topics also offer kids the opportunity to use what they've learned to create something from simple organizational tools like concept map creators, to more complex tools like videos and games kids create with a movie maker or through coding. All these activities offer kids a really nice and unique way to actively engage deeply 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 topics that contain warnings about smoking cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol use, or the social emotional learning topics such as managing stress.

  • 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 and the environment, 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, self-assessment
    Emotional Development: handling stress, identifying emotions
    Communication: conveying messages effectively, multiple forms of expression
    Tech Skills: coding, digital creation
    Health & Fitness: balanced diet, mental health, movement
  • Genre: Educational
  • Topics: STEM, Great Girl Role Models, History, Science and Nature
  • Price: Paid
  • Pricing structure: Paid (From $230 yearly or $24.95/monthly)
  • Last updated: February 23, 2021

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