Explore the Planets
Professor Astro Cat's Solar System is an educational astronomy app that teaches kids about the planets in a fun and interactive way. It's based on a series of books starring the playful Professor Astro Cat.
Read, Learn, and Play
Offered in a choice of seven languages, including English, Spanish and French, Professor Astro Cat's Solar System invites kids to choose a character (they're all cats) and enter their name to become the newest recruit into the Astro Cat Space Program.
Kids embark on a mission to explore and discover the solar system by swiping to each planet and tapping to zoom in and learn more. When they feel they've learned everything there is to know about a particular planet, kids can test their knowledge by taking the Jet Pack Challenge – a mini-game where each correct answer keeps Professor Astro Cat's jet pack moving through space. In addition to the planets, there are also units about the moon and space travel.
Professor Astro Cat's Solar System is a great educational resource. There's a lot of information for kids to absorb, but it's presented as manageable bite-sized chunks of text, peppered with fun graphics and interactive learning exercises – such as a diagram that shows the different phases of the moon.
The Jet Pack Challenge quizzes, with their True or False format, are a fun way to test kids' new-found knowledge. Correct answers are rewarded with stars, medals, and pieces that can be used to construct a massive rocket ship. Questions can be easy or more complex and challenging, which suits a range of ages.
Kids can replay the quizzes as many times as they like until they achieve a perfect score. The questions aren't exactly the same each time, but there's enough repetition of questions that the quizzes also reinforce learning through repetition – if kids hear the same question more than once, they'll eventually learn the right answer even if they weren't familiar with the fact at first.
Kids should have no trouble finding their way around Professor Cat's Solar System with minimal help from parents. It's a very easy and accessible way to learn about the solar system. We also love that the app is personalized, meaning kids see their names in the text, and they're really made to feel like they're taking part in an adventure rather than reading a textbook of outer space facts.
On the home screen is an icon for the Parent's page. It is hidden behind a parental gate that isn't that difficult to overcome -- it asks for the year the parent was born. On the parents' page, you can register for a newsletter, rate the app in the app store, and follow a link to purchase the book on which the app is based through Amazon. There are also social media links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Since this app is targeted at kids that might be able to input the year of their parent's birth, they could follow the links and find themselves logged into their parents' social media networks. Just watch out for the question of when you were born.
Professor Cat's Solar System is best for strong readers who may already have expressed an interest in astronomy and are ready for an app that can expand their knowledge.
This kids' app review of Professor Cat's Solar System was written by Erin Bell.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.