Review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated July 2014
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Kitty's Trip to Europe - United Kingdom - Geography for Kids

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Unique U.K. trek is simple, engaging; needs more consistency, depth

Subjects & skills
Skills
N/A

Subjects
  • Social Studies
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
K-2
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Pros: Engaging host teaches fun U.K. facts through an easily accessible interface.

Cons: Depth of information and interactive elements are inconsistent, don't always inspire.

Bottom Line: Basic introduction to U.K. culture; more depth, variety, and consistency would make it even better.

This very simple introduction to how people across the pond live can be useful for discussing geography, the world's people, and their cultural differences (even in countries as similar as the U.S. and U.K.). But information and games are somewhat superficial; teachers will likely want to supplement with further investigation, group/class discussions, stories, and more. Teachers might also let kids decide what interests them (e.g., food across the world), let Kitty give them a start on a cultural adventure, and then research what people eat in five other countries. Kids can report on what they learn in a class presentation, in pictures, or in writing.

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On this journey through the U.K., Kitty introduces K-2 students to a variety of tidbits about U.K. geography (map), history (Big Ben), culture (monarchy, fish and chips, rugby), and literature (Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes). Most of the 18 informational stops are interactive -- e.g., kids can fry fish and potatoes to make fish and chips -- and, at most, kids respond to a multiple-choice quiz question or play a brief game, like putting puzzle pieces together to make a double-decker bus or aiming Robin Hood's bow and arrow to hit a target. At several random points on the journey, Kitty opens a gift box containing an article of clothing; at the end, Kitty is dressed in an ostensibly British outfit. Teachers can create multiple user accounts; each user's progress is saved across play sessions.

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Kitty is an appealing guide for a little adventure through the U.K. Many topics, such as castles, food, sports, and story characters, should pique kids' interest. Gameplay is simple and accessible, even for young kids. A fine line exists between providing enough depth and overwhelming young kids with too much information, however, and many of the tidbits, despite demonstrating a great approach and appropriate language, lack depth or some common thread that could tie everything together. Interactive elements are fun, but seem random, which might confuse kids. For example, some information stops are interactive, some aren't; some have an interactive quiz or game, some don't. Available games and quizzes are an engaging start, but could use more variety (many are repeated multiple times), depth, or explanations (some quizzes cover information not previously discussed).

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Overall Rating

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

Kitty is a cute and engaging guide who explains things in kid-friendly language. Most games and interactive features are fun, although they can get repetitive. 

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

Kitty introduces little bits of trivia about the U.K., and kids can (usually) interact, play a game, or take a multiple-choice quiz. Kids may learn some facts about U.K. history, culture, food, and literature, but there's little depth.

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

Language level and interface are both very accessible for young kids. Teachers can create multiple accounts so kids can follow their own paths; progress is saved across sessions. Suggestions for more learning would be useful.


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