App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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Like much of the country, we are experiencing a rough winter this year, oftentimes with days too cold and snowy to spend a lot of time outside. During these times of difficult weather, I have enjoyed testing the new app This is My Weather - Meteorology for Kids - a content-rich interactive application that thoughtfully uses a child narrator to explain different weather topics.
First, children will have a chance to dress a character of their choice in weather-appropriate gear. This app may generate a temperature to dress for as well as allow parents to change up the need for different outdoor apparel and to dress for local weather. I enjoy this section, especially as one can choose a boy or girl of many different skin tones to dress, but I would love to be able to pre-select what is considered an appropriate outfit for my child’s specific needs the way one can adjust the temperature itself as here the character will announce that he is too cold, hot, or just right.
The rest of my family has an ability to deal with the cold that I do not possess now or as a child, so my boy may be comfortable without a hat at 50 degrees, but I at any age would have needed a hat to remain comfortable, so it would be nice to customize the need for gear depending on the child using this app to truly make this a personal experience that one can learn from. It would also be nice to see glove or mitten options available so the character in question does not have bare hands in precipitously low temperatures that the app can be set for.
From here, children can scroll through each season to see how these changes affect a tree seen center screen from beginning to bloom in spring, to including this tree’s full canopy in summer, the leaves beginning to turn in fall, and finally the sparse sight of winter as this tree is now snow-covered. One will also notice that within each section, three areas of interest can be tapped that will then include different weather facts that may in some way relate to the season at hand.
While I admire the way this app is organized, I do wonder if a literal child may wonder if for example, fog, nicely demonstrated by allowing children to wipe haze from the screen of one’s device, is only a springtime phenomenon as well as wonder if the other concepts at hand are specifically relegated to the season they are organized under. Having said this, I do appreciate how each of these areas touches upon information children will find interesting as well as finding the facts included to easily absorb such as the difference between kinds of precipitation such as fog, rain, hail, or snow as well as what causes rainbows to form and answering questions about thunder and lightening.
Interactive moments are also included such as helping to produce rain with a well-placed tap or the sliding of clouds together to demonstrate water or ice crystals being flung against each other to create a thunder and lighting scenario. Learning about wind speed is also included by adjusting a slider that will demonstrate conditions at different gusts at specific miles per hour. Also nice is the way this app shows a bigger picture to children, including how the earth is rotating to explain sunrise and sunset for a view of the world bigger than their immediate area.
Older children will also be able to read about each of these topics sometimes in greater detail - a nice touch that will make this app appeal to a wider age range, but it would be nice for pre-readers to have access to this area as well. I also think that the “expert” stars one needs to collect will cause some confusion as how to actually gather these tokens which are opened when the reader has continued through the area of the app - a process a bit convoluted for my taste. Even having said this, I do recommend this app for its educational content as I do the other apps from this series including This Is My Body - Anatomy For Kids and This is my car – Mechanics for kids which are equally worth checking out.