Review by Christy Matte, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2012
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VTech InnoTab Software - Brave

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Merida engages kids in math, logic, and some archery

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Pre-K-1 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: This game offers solid skill-building, plus room for creativity, exploration, and problem-solving.

Cons: The range of math skills is a bit broad, and there's no way to track a child's progress with the game.

Bottom Line: Drawing on the popularity of Merida, this fun game challenges kids beyond simple arithmetic problems.

Much like other titles of this type for this age group, it's best for quiet time, recess, a specific InnoTab station, or a reward for completed work. Brave can help reinforce addition and subtraction skills, although kids will need to be past the stage of requiring objects to count. The cooking activity can help kids develop observation skills, as well as introduce/reinforce the idea of fractions. The e-book language is challenging for early readers, but older/more advanced readers may benefit from being read to with the highlighted text.

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Editor’s Note: This game’s publisher, VTech, experienced a breach of parent and student data on November 14, 2015. Click here for more information.

VTech InnoTab Software - Brave is a collection that includes an e-book that roughly follows the movie plot, two creative activities, and three learning activities. Kids can help the witch cook by matching shapes and figuring out simple fractions. They can help Merida with her archery by solving math problems that include the addition and subtraction of two or three numbers. And they can use their logic and problem-solving skills to help the little brothers navigate the castle in search of a key. For kids who are feeling more creative, there's the option of decorating a tapestry or designing their own archery course.

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While not always completely organic, the learning is well-integrated throughout. The cooking activities are a wonderful way to illustrate fractions, as well as demonstrate how fractions are useful in a practical setting. Kids may be asked to cut a sausage into six parts and then add one-sixth into the pot. Kids can select an easy or difficult mode for each of the learning games, but there's no automatic leveling if they choose incorrectly. Helping the triplets find their way through the castle also gives kids the feeling that they're able to explore the environment. Players can also save up gems (or perhaps wisps!) to purchase additional items for the archery and tapestry activities, helping them plan ahead and think about saving/budgeting.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
5

Kids will enjoy the way all the activities complement each other around the theme of Brave. Being able to design their own archery fields adds to the replay value.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

The math and logic puzzles pair well with the material being covered, and the creative aspects give kids a sense of ownership over the experience.

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

Help options are plentiful, but there is no way to track how kids are doing within the game.


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