Common Sense Review
Updated November 2012

Big Kid Life Fire Fighter

L'il tykes do some solid problem-solving while showing courage
Common Sense Rating 3
  • Kids are firefighters, climbing ladders and putting out fires to rescue animals.
  • Kids solve problems scattered throughout the buildings.
  • Kids choose the level of difficulty based on the length of fire truck they choose. The difficulty increases in the buildings and the problem-solving of rescuing the animals more than in the actual questions.
  • Scenes like this one appear between levels of gameplay.
Pros
It's easy to monitor what kids are learning.
Cons
Quizzes come at the end, so kids may rush through them to get the reward.
Bottom Line
Critical-thinking challenges and age appropriate quizzes turn kids into heroes.
Amanda Bindel
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Firefighters are a slam-dunk for kids, and the missions -- saving pets! -- are fun.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Kids have to think about how to get through a building. The quizzes are age-appropriate, although they're tacked on at the end so kids may rush past them.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

A narrator gives hints when kids need help. The app can email teachers or parents a summary of which skills kids are working on.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

 

After completing each level, kids have the chance to record a message or email the person who helped them create their account.

 

 

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What's It Like?

The romanticized world of firefighting gets interactive in Big Kid Life Fire Fighter. There's mild scariness here, with fire and smoke. But mostly kids are solving problems about how to put out fires, go on rescue missions, and find their way through buildings. The first step is choosing an avatar and a truck. The game has three levels, and longer trucks mean more challenging courses with more fires to put out. Also, the harder the level, the more difficult it is to maneuver through a house.

After kids have made their selections, it's time to fight fires and smoke monsters! Little firefighters will rescue animals and extinguish blazes with their avatars, who turn red if they run into smoke or flames -- but kids aren't penalized for not extinguishing flames quickly enough.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Problem-solving skills are paramount as kids work their way through a building. For example, how do they get to the next floor when the ladder is blocked by a wall or boxes? (Fortunately, a narrator provides suggestions.) The final step is to climb a ladder as kids move toward an exit door, which has a star on it. Before they can get out, though, they have to solve a puzzle at a box on the wall. A question must be answered correctly, and all questions are early preschool-level, about shapes, colors, numbers, or categories (of the "which does not belong" variety). When kids complete tasks, the narrator recognizes them for their hard work and encourages them to do it faster next time. It's a solid and age-appropriate game, from the high-interest role play and parent communication to the help and guidance the game offers.

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