Note: This app is narrated without text to read along and formatted more like a game than a book.
Ready Jet Go Space Explorer lets us join along with Jet and his friends as they explore and play in space. There are games and coloring functions along with star charting capabilities that may just keep my kids from making off with my phone when we are out camping. Not that I’d take my phone camping. That would be silly. But I digress…
This app opens up with Jet asking us if we’re ready to explore. Almost immediately he asks us to find some constellations, telling us that we can explore the sky by swiping on the screen. We explored the sky for a bit this way, tapping on constellations and planets when we would come across them. By doing this we could see and hear their names.
Our control panel looked like the dash of a spaceship (named Space 9000), and we quickly began to find that there were other ways to explore and things to do. By tapping the purple saucer button we enter a fun game of hide and seek with Jet. Off he goes to hide among the stars, giving you hints about where to find him. Don’t worry if you get lost, his little friend sunspot will help guide you to him. Oh! And you earn an explorer badge each time you find Jet.
After playing hide and seek, why not go color the stars? For each of the major constellations, we were offered the option to paint it any color we wanted. I think a golden Leo is just the thing, don’t you? It’s a pretty simple coloring function, and it won’t let you color outside the lines so everything stays neat. I do wish this function had a few more options and the ability to color with a bit more detail.
At any time you can tap on the face of Space 9000 and be offered a glossary of the planets and major constellations. By tapping on one, you are shown its relative position in the sky. To get a closer look and hear lots of interesting facts, you simply have to pull the red lever and Space 9000 will zoom you there. Find out about the positions of the planets and learn what their names mean. Learn about the 24 different constellations – learn how to find them and what their names mean, among other things.
While exploring, you can tap on stars to find out the names of them. If you come across a constellation, Space 9000 offers you the chance to zoom in closer and find out more. You can also visit the planets or earth’s moon this way.
Our very favorite thing about this app is that, while you can explore the sky with a simple swipe of your finger, you can change the mode of exploration to and augmented reality mode to let kids really get a feel for how we fit into the solar system. This works much like the star-tracker type apps that many adults have on their phones. Simply move the device around to be shown what is in the sky in those areas. We were still offered the same options to explore and find out information this way, but the thrill that my kids get being able to find the formations in the sky that they are learning about in the app makes it our preferred method of exploring the app.
Overall, this app is a well-made, engaging app that helps introduce kids to the wonders of space. I know that my family will be making use of this for a long time to come. The fact that such a quality app is also free is a major bonus.
Bottom Line: Ready Jet Go Space Explorer is a brand new app from PBS Kids that allows kids to explore and play among the stars (learning interesting facts along the way). If you’ve got a budding scientist on your hands, this app is a must.