When I received There’s a Map on My Lap to review, I was excited. My 6 year old enjoys Dr. Seuss, and we read many of the stories from Cat in the Hat Learning Library when she was younger. In fact, There’s a Map on My Lap was one of our favorites in the series, and we have the print book in our home library.
Just like the original book, this app version of the title brings both simple and complex map concepts to children in a very engaging way. It starts with an explanation what the map is and then goes on to explain different kinds of maps – globe, atlas, city and country maps, even topographical maps. It also defines terms used in map making– scale, legend, measuring distances on maps. Parents can build a fairly detailed geographical unit at home for elementary students just based on this one book.
I particularly like the hand-on activities in the app. While introducing the flat world map, the peeling orange activity is an intuitive explanation of the shape of the map. Drawing a map of kids’ own room is another fun idea. My favorite is to measure the length of a curved road on a map using a string and a straight ruler.
The original Dr. Seuss title is faithfully ported into the app, with all the illustrations and texts. Kids can choose three modes. They can read the book by themselves, when the app will stay silent, but if kids tap on a word on the page, they will hear that word read out loud to them. They can record their own voice or they can simply listen to the narration provided with the book. If you want to have a multimedia book in your digital library, you have it with high quality at a reasonable price.
One thing I’d like to see is some additional activities beyond the original print book, such as map puzzles, games, or quizzes. This will help extend the target age and raise interest for reluctant readers.
Designed for kids age 5 to 10, There’s a Map on My Lap works on iPhone, iPod and iPAD. It is $5.99 on App Store.
Update: the app seemed is pulled off the app store. But you can still get a print copy of the book here: There’s a Map on My Lap!: All About Maps
Today’s app is reviewed by Natalie. Natalie lives in the Silicon Valley and works full time at a high tech company. She enjoys reading, travel, and spending time with her daughter. Natalie blogs at Afterschool for Smarty Pants about enrichment activities and life skills for advanced learners.