Take a look inside 5 images
Bouncy the People Trainer
Pros: Positive messages abound, and kids will find diverse characters they can identify with.
Cons: Art and music activities are not as polished as other content.
Bottom Line: Important info for all kids is especially helpful for at-risk students.
Bouncy the People Trainer could easily be used individually by students at their own pace. It would work beautifully as a social-emotional learning curriculum used weekly over a six-week term. Kids could work through one activity for each of the five parts in a few minutes of each day or work through one entire section in a 20-30 minute chunk of time once a week. While it is thorough and self-contained, the content begs for discussion and sharing, so teachers would probably want to build in small-group or one-on-one discussion time. Elementary school counselors could also use it in one-on-one meetings with kids or in small group sessions. Teachers should note that the app requires a large amount of storage space on a device, which may make it challenging to leave installed throughout the year.
Bouncy the People Trainer is an interactive story that teaches social and emotional skills. Bouncy is a mixed-breed dog who survived abuse from a former owner and now trains people to navigate their own challenges. Kids start by designing their avatar, who appears in the stories, choosing from several diverse options of skin colors, eye shapes, and hair types. They then work through each of five levels, each building on the one before, to learn about Bouncy's story, recognize their own emotions, and learn to believe in themselves, care, try, and persevere.
Activities include identifying how kids would feel in certain situations, reading and listening to a story, seeing a video, making music, answering questions, and creating a piece of graffiti art to hang in their room. Kids earn badges of different breeds of dogs demonstrating skateboarding skills as they complete each level. They can view their progress or their pictures at any time. Kids can do the activities in any order, but the badge-earning levels must be completed sequentially.
This app’s most impressive feature is the diversity of the customizable avatar: Kids can choose from a wide range of realistic skin tones (plus green), a variety of eye shapes and colors, and several hairstyles (including a rainbow Mohawk). With that, kids can make an avatar that resembles them or choose something a little more fantastic. The clothing options include superhero costumes, princess dresses, and more traditional clothes.
Each activity within the levels or chapters is short enough for young attention spans but packed with positive messages and stories of overcoming challenges. The What If, I Remember, You Star, Kids Show, and Got It sections are all stellar, but the Art and Music sections fall a bit short content-wise. Kids get some time to create on their own, but the drumming overpowers the lyrics to the songs in the music activity; once colored, the positive messages in the graffiti art are hard to recognize. Kids will still be drawn to both since they are fun activities. It'd just be nice if the positive messages could resonate as clearly through Art and Music as they do in the other activities.