App review by Christy Matte, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2013
VTech InnoTab Software - Bubble Guppies
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VTech InnoTab Software - Bubble Guppies

Pet care-focused games help practice math and reading

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Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
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Grades
Pre-K–K
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Math

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Pros: This fun preschool game features a variety of activities, familiar characters, and age appropriate subject matter.

Cons: Kids need to choose skill level since there is no automatic leveling and there are no explanations for wrong answers.

Bottom Line: A preschool-friendly title that's solid, but wrong answers are not explained.

This is great paired with the introduction of a class pet, or lesson on domestic animals. It's also a nice tool for indoor recess and quiet time. This game is best played individually.

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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 - Bubble Guppies has several parts. The first is an e-book that tells the story of Molly, Gil, and the other Bubble Guppies as they learn how to take care of their new puppy, Bubble Puppy. The story is read out loud, and kids can tap on words to hear them. They can also tap on pictures in the story to see/hear the corresponding word. After that, kids can enter the Story area, which groups activities and mini-games by topics such as grooming, feeding, and housing. A quiz mode in each topic asks kids to match the correct food/house/toy to a pet. The answers here aren't always obvious, especially for kids; and they may need to use some logic to make the best guess.

Some of the mini-games found in the Story area include one such as Fishketball, where kids knock a ball into the ring of fish that match the color of the ball. This is a cute one, but some kids may struggle with the timing required to hit the ball into the ring. There's a shopping game where kids catch all of one type of object into a shopping cart, and a feeding game where they pour the correct amount of food and water into the puppy's bowl. The games are separated by cut scenes involving knock knock jokes and other animated sequences. As kids progress, they earn flash cards with sight words on them and decorations for Bubble Puppy's house.

Kids can access any of the mini-games and activities individually from the main menu. The last activity is a photo activity where kids can take a picture with a Bubble Guppy frame, or using sticker props like a hat or hair.

VTech InnoTab Software - Bubble Guppies serves as a good introduction to pets and pet care, but it won't add much for kids who already own pets at home. It does reinforce counting, skip counting (by two and four), colors, shapes, sight words, and overall reading through the e-book and mini-games. Activities are age-appropriate and the story line is relatable for pre-school and Kindergarten students. The easy/difficult levels aren't explained, so kids will need to make a guess at which to choose. 

Overall Rating

Engagement

With plenty of variety in activities, kids will enjoy playing over and over again with these popular characters and their pet dog. 

Pedagogy

The information is relevant for kids with or without pets, but it lacks deeper coverage (beyond feeding and bathing, for example). The quiz activity doesn't explain wrong answers, but learning content is well integrated. 

Support

In-game prompting helps kids when they get stuck, and they can track their progress in their "Cubby" via the flashcards they've earned. Parents can track kids' learning through the VTech Learning Lodge.


Common Sense reviewer
Christy Matte Educator

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