App review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2012
Big Kid Life Fire Fighter
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Big Kid Life Fire Fighter

L'il tykes do some solid problem-solving while showing courage

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Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 2 reviews
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Grades
Pre-K–1 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Math, Communication & Collaboration, Critical Thinking

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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.

 

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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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.

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.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

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

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

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 Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

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


Common Sense reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Community Rating

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Featured review by
Kristy (GAE) L. , Media specialist/librarian
Media specialist/librarian
P.S. 200 Benson
Brooklyn, United States
Save the pets and problem solve too!
I think Big Kid Life Fire Fighter is a good, interactive problem solving game for younger children. It offers support via the narrator, and allows adults to set up an account to monitor the progress of the student. I like that it offers various levels of difficulty and still offers support via suggestions by voice ad picture. I will use this with my own children, as well as very young students.
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