Coral Reef, produced by Tinybop, introduces children to the wonders of a coral reef. Children can choose an underwater creature from a menu and then can drag the creature so that it interacts with other plants and sea life around it. Each creature or plant is labelled (although these labels can be turned off), so there is an opportunity for reading. The vocabulary would be challenging for the majority of four or five year olds, but the app is designed to be read with adult support. Children might need some patience in terms of experimenting with the interactions, and some sections of the app are more varied and engaging than others. However, the developers have clearly thought carefully about how to demonstrate to young children the ways in which one creature's action in an ecosystem affects others. The app offers excellent opportunities for speaking and listening activities with an adult. There are rich conversations to be had around the reasons that the creatures are responding in one way or another. For instance, in the shark scene, the shark disappears from the screen if it is dragged over the sea anemone's stinging tentacles and the more octopi you drag onto the screen, the more sharks appear. It is easy to see how the app promotes discussions around cause and effect. In all, Coral Reef is a beautifully produced app and one that encourages a scientific understanding of the ocean, without over simplification.

Other notable themes and features of the app include , , , , .

Learning Area Milestones

  • Able to focus for longer periods
  • Can understand sequencing ‘first/last/next’
  • Understands use of objects i.e. ‘what do we drink with?’
  • Can predict what will happen next
  • Begins to explain ideas
  • Able to use language to gain information and give and get ideas
  • Can begin to read words and simple sentences
  • Increased vocabulary and forms of speech which are influenced by books
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Best Features

Loads of fun

Play together

Lots to do


Make it your own


About the app


Supported Devices
Apple iPad

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