KiddosProduct Reviews

Review: Curious World app by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

kids playing on curious world

If you’re a regular here, you know I’m sort of luddite but I am also human and live in the 21st century. So, I can’t resist cool technology 100% of the time. Besides, I feel like it sort of does a disservice to our little ones to completely cut them off from what the rest of the industrialized world is doing with their toddlers and young kids. They do have to find careers and function within that as adults. That’s why I am happy to be writing about a new app, Curious World, by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the world’s leading educational content company since 1832. Let’s just say that they probably know a thing or two about how kids learn and I am a sucker for educational anything. 

The new app is called Curious World. It’s aimed at young kids ages 3 and up. I use the term app lightly. When I think  of apps I think of something fairly two dimensional. This could be my luddite-ness shining through, but when I took a spin on Curious World I was blown away by the app’s depth and integrity. It is designed to learn and grow with your child for years, yes, years! And you know that because these guys are pros, they’ll be updating the content to keep up with current trends in learning and development as our kiddos grow.

Curious World Kids Dashboard Landing PageThere are loads of videos, music, games, books, activities, categories, characters and a lot more all simply organized and ready to inspire young kids from age 3 up. Kids can “drive” this all by themselves by clicking on whatever looks interesting. They have no idea that they’re embarking on an educational journey.

Included Content in Curious World PBS Full Time Kid with Mya

My son is a total word nerd at 2.5 so we tried out a bunch of the content that taught him more about words, reading and spelling. Overall, the content was stellar. Videos that tie in their favorite PBS shows and many of the HMH children’s library of books are there as well, ready to be read alone, guided, or aloud. Trucks of the alphabet and other fun pieces of content have even the youngest kids tapping, swiping and talking out loud and anticipating whatever will come next. It truly functions based on each child’s unique curiosity.

Curious World is a safe place where parents can be sure that whatever their kids are watching or interacting with is educational, high-quality and commercial-free. The kids just know that it’s cool and fun. It doesn’t feel like school or a chore at all. It’s purely interesting, entertaining, silly and magical. So parents and kids win. Yay!

Parents can also access a dashboard that shows what content your child has been engaging with to help you understand their strengths and areas that might need more encouragement to explore. The app then provides activities and ideas that help take the content from the screen to real life. I love that concept. An app that gives you an exit strategy! Half of the screen battle with kids is that you basically have to enter a hurricane of emotion to get them to turn it off. With this app, the content guides you off screen. I’m sold for that reason alone! The parent feature also lets you set up the app for multiple children based on their age and ability so that each child has a custom experience that you can observe and adjust through the dashboard.

curious world dashboard

The screen was a little hard for my guy to engage with. It could be because neither of us actually own an iPad (gasp!!) and don’t “play” on the touchscreen phone except to check the weather. So, our tapping and swiping might not be so up to snuff. He’s also a little young. The app is for age 3 and up. I’m not sure what that says about me, though!

I highly recommend giving Curious World a try if you’re looking for a way to teach your child about today’s technology while letting them have a little fun in a safe, educational environment curated by experts with zero inappropriate advertising. This is an app for families on any end of the screen time spectrum. Whether they let their kids watch as much as they want, never touch a screen or are somewhere in the middle; this app ensures quality and developmentally appropriate content is being served up.

I’m glad that I was given a subscription to try out. We put our subscription on my sister’s iPad so that whenever she babysits or he spends the night, he can explore and learn about engaging with apps and touchscreen technology without us worrying about what he’s being exposed to. And, we can check out the dashboard to see what he’s been up to while away from home.

If you have an extra long flight or trip in your future; this could be a HUGE asset to have on your iPad. If you work from home and are looking for ways to occupy your children safely while you have meetings or focus on your work for a while; this could be a good trick to keep up your sleeve, too.

Thank you HMH for taking the time to create something truly valuable!

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  1. Lisa
    April 18, 2016 at 9:02 PM — Reply

    Your sister with the iPad 😉 adds to this that review her nephew had a blast watching the vignettes that were little learning modules. They were catchy and kept his attention. He had fun trying to color and “paint” the dinosaurs in another module. Some things were harder than others for him, but like you mentioned, it was more of an age related thing. I can vouch for the inventiveness and quality of thought that went into this app. Lots of fun for adults to spend with kids to share a learning experience.

    • April 20, 2016 at 12:39 PM — Reply

      Thanks Auntie Lisa for adding your thoughts since you were the one who spent most of the time on it with him. 🙂

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