Review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2014
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Mac, Izzy & Friends

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Engaging stories, prompts, tools encourage exploration and creation

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Creativity

Subjects
  • Arts
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Pre-K-1
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5 images

Pros: Fun exploration lets kids express themselves and stretch their imaginations.

Cons: Activities can feel repetitive, and in-app purchases are conspicuously displayed.

Bottom Line: An engaging assortment of activities encourages creative exploration and expression.

Use Curious World to prompt kids for guided creative expression. Read the digital books as a class and do offline activities together. Then encourage kids to explore on their own, make drawings and recordings, and share with their peers. Or have kids work in pairs or small groups to create and explore. Older kids can write about their creations: Write a story about a creature they've designed, describe the creation process, or reflect on the different audio or visual effects. Use the activity-pack themes to inspire a more in-depth look at, for example, how light and shadows interact or when dinosaurs lived. 

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Collection of creative activities is designed to get kids experimenting and exploring. Izzy and Mac, two blob-like characters, guide kids through stories, videos, audio recordings, puzzles, a variety of drawing tools, and more. The app includes a few creativity tools -- e.g., take a picture and explore different visual distortions from fish-eye to sepia coloring. More activities are available in packs organized around such themes as shadows and light and dinosaurs, and offer additional activities, including a prompt for an offline craft. One pack is included free; others are available as in-app purchases. Many art activities require kids to use their device's camera to manipulate a photo with stickers, visual-distortion effects, and more. Photos are saved in the app's gallery but not in the device's album, and they can't be shared. 

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Kids will have a blast using this engaging tool for exploration and creative expression as they distort pictures of their faces or make their voices sound as though they're talking in a tiny tin box. The experience is rounded out with a variety of activities in which kids need to watch, listen, do, and create. Many activities feel as though they're repeating throughout the game: The puzzle in the shadows pack isn't that much different from the puzzle in the exploration tools. Drawing activities are actually similar enough to be familiar to kids, but each also offers something new. All kids, especially younger ones, will benefit from some teacher help and guidance, especially at first. Offline activity extensions are a perfect way to get kids and adults exploring together.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Activities get kids fully involved and engaged. Cute hosts encourage and model playful exploration.

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

Kids learn mostly through free creative expression and by taking ownership of their experiences. Adults can enhance learning by participating with kids online and offline.

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

Kids save and review creations in the in-app gallery. Navigation might take getting used to, especially for the littlest ones, but is basically easy. Play is accessible to a wide range of kids. 


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