Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2019

Funbrain

Free resource filled with books and games lacks depth, help

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Math

Skills
N/A
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Pre-K–8
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (2 Reviews)
Privacy rating (How we rate)

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Pros: Lots of varied activities -- from reading to math to fun.

Cons: Constant ads and superficial games.

Bottom Line: Funbrain has more ads than learning opportunities.

Funbrain promotes itself as being a helpful tool for students to use when they finish an assignment, or for teachers to use as a fill-in activity for students who have time for more practice -- and students could certainly kill some time on the site. Teachers could show some of the videos to the whole class or use the books as a read-aloud displayed on the screen.

If you do choose to use the site in class, you'll want to create a way to track students' progress. It’s unfortunate that there isn't a teacher dashboard on the site -- such an addition could help teachers know exactly where, and how well, their students are practicing.

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Funbrain is a free resource that includes books, games, and videos for students. Students can browse content by grade level (pre-K to 8) or content (games, videos, reading, playground, and math zone). The home page also features the most popular games and activities as well as those newly added. Many of the games overlap multiple grade levels. Video series include Problem Solved, DC Super League, Young Justice, Kidz Bop, Highlights, and more.  The reading library includes a solid collection of graphic novels and popular titles, like the Wimpy Kid series and Judy Moody books.

Teachers should be aware that multiple ads appear on every page, and students will watch a video ad before playing any game or watching any video.

While it bills itself as a learning site, Funbrain's purpose seems to be more about generating ad revenue. There are plenty of games and fun activities for kids on the site, but the depth of coverage, educationally speaking, is at best surface-level. Some helpful positives are the fun and engaging cartoons and arcade illustrations, as well as kids' ability to move around the arcade and board game. One great activity is Math Baseball, where two players can go head-to-head in a math competition and points are awarded based on the difficulty of each problem pitched.

However, for what the site offers in fun for students, it lacks in help. If students don't get an answer right or don’t advance to the next level, they're never given any help or a tutorial on how to do better with the task. It would also be beneficial for the site to include some vocabulary words or writing prompts related to the readings.

Overall Rating

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

The site is colorful and has interesting content such as videos, books, math games, and arcade games -- and there's a lot of it. But kids will have to watch ads before they can play.

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

Students can review basic math skills and practice reading. Winning can unlock more levels in some games, which can motivate kids, but some activities don't have any learning benefits.

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

Students are pushed for right or wrong answers but never get guidance on how to get the correct answer, or why an answer was incorrect. There's no way to search for content by keyword and no way to track student progress or use.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Adrienne D. , Early childhood provider
Early childhood provider
Develops different areas of development
My overall opinion about his project as a teaching tool is that it is great to get the children interested in learning. It is also useful to help them want to complete their work and explore technology resources in the classroom. To serve us better it would be great if it was designed to have an account for each student so I can manage the games they have done and also monitor which games they like to play the most.
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Unclear whether this product supports interactions between trusted users and/or students.
Personal information is displayed publicly.
User-created content is not filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Users can create or upload content.
Processes to access and review user data are available.
Unclear whether this product provides processes to modify inaccurate data.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Traditional or contextual advertisements are displayed.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.
Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.