After raving about TouchPress’ remarkable Barefoot World Atlas just last month, it was a pleasure to discover My Big World for iPad, a geography-based edu-app aimed at 3 to 6-year-old children. It’s never too early for kids to learn about the world beyond their day-to-day lives. My Big World will raise a pre-schooler’s global consciousness without overwhelming them.
My Big World’s GUI is bold and colorful, yet never so cluttered as to deluge its users with too much information. Even the youngest users will enjoy spinning the world with their pudgy fingers, and tapping on any number of pictures such as a tiger, a Matroyshka, or the Leaning Tower of Pisa to learn more.
Although My Big World comprises nearly 350 digital pages, it is still sized at a modest 160 MB, which is small enough to find room on most devices, even one that’s already jammed with other must-own titles.
Kids can tap on one of the floating question marks at any point to take an easy quiz about world cultures. The user simply matches the person to the country or region that he or she hails from (e.g. the Mountie is from Canada and the man in the bowler hat is from Great Britain). There are also coloring games hidden within the app, which children are sure to enjoy. Tapping on a floating book brings up a narrated story from that region.
As the kids tap the pictures they zoom in on progressively more detailed levels of information until they reach four puzzle pieces. Tapping each piece reveals a brief fact about that picture.
What I liked: The app’s screen shows the sun’s path and the moon’s orbit around the earth, which spins on its access. It is a small detail, but it reinforces the relationship of the three celestial bodies (as long as you remind your kids that it’s the earth that actually goes around the sun).
What I didn’t like: It would be great if the entire app were narrated, since most kids in the age group it targets can’t read yet. The narrated stories have a lot of text on each page, which might put off pre-readers. A few of the paragraphs included typos or awkward sentence construction. The developer should have edited the text more thoroughly before publishing the app.
To buy or not to buy: If you are the parent of a child who is curious about maps, globes, or other cultures, then this app is a must-own. While My Big World is not comprehensive, it doesn’t need to be. Despite its occasional lack of polish, the app still crafts an engaging and age-appropriate introduction to geography and world culture.