Ocean Forests entices kids to learn about kelp forests by having them dive into an interactive ocean. This app is part non-fiction book, part unstructured underwater exploration, and part game. Not only can children read about this ecosystem, but they can see videos and interact with the creatures that live there!
How to Play
The book portion of Ocean Forests offers three options for reading: have the 28-page book read aloud by a narrator while the words highlight; read it yourself, with the support of being able to tap on any word to have it pronounced; or record yourself reading (or have a loved one do it for you). In all three modes, the app lets kids have immediate access to a dictionary, which reads science words aloud and defines them.
In the underwater exploration section, kids control how they want to view this dynamic, 3D underwater world. They see the floating giant fronds and watch as fish and animals enter and exit this gorgeous forest. Players swipe to look around, and they can also zoom in and out by expanding and pinching two fingers on the screen. Tapping the flashlight in the upper corner highlights the items in the scene that can be tapped for more information, including Rockfish, a Moray Eel, Bat Ray, Leopard Sharks, and much more.
The gaming section has two games: Retrieve Our Subs and Mind Match. In the former, players answer multiple choice science questions by dropping a ship's giant hook to rescue submarines showing the correct answer. In the Mind Match, kids turn over cards to match pictures to names of sea creatures. Both games are playable on three levels of difficulty.
Why This Science App is Good
With breathtaking animation that makes it seem as if you are swimming underwater in this green, floating forest, kids experience life in a unique habitat. The book section uses video to show the animated kelp forest while it reads the words aloud and defines terms. Watching bat rays, anchovies, sea otters and such swim in front of you is great motivation to learn more about each creature. In the open-ended explore mode, kids control their learning by choosing where to swim and what they want to hear the friendly narrator explain further. And the two fun games reinforce the facts you have just learned. Ocean Forests is a dive worth taking.
Ocean Forests is a great choice for all iPad-owning kids. This non-fiction, interactive book transports kids to a giant kelp forest and provides them a guide as they scuba dive. It is also a great app to use to reinforce learning after a trip to the ocean, a marine wildlife park, or an aquarium. Teachers and librarians, this app should be on your radar!
This Ocean Forests app review was written by Jinny Gudmundsen.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.