MarcoPolo Ocean Gets Kids Exploring

A couple of months ago, Camila reviewed a fun ocean exploration app for juniors ages 2+ called Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer. We had a lot of fun playing with the app, discovering plenty of hidden surprises, and learning about different animals living underwater.

Today, I want to highlight another great ocean exploration app for juniors called MarcoPolo Ocean. In addition to open-ended exploration, the app also offers a jigsaw building mode. Juniors can build and explore five different objects and environments, from coral reef and marine mammals to boat and submersible.

Kids explore the ocean and learn about its inhabitants in MarcoPolo Ocean

Learn as You Build

To start building, tap the jigsaw button on the top right corner. It will show a banner of five objects that you can build. As soon as you tap one, you will be shown a new jigsaw building screen.

Each screen always start with a smaller view of the environment. As you complete the jigsaw for that environment, the screen will zoom out, showing you a bigger environment and more objects to place. This approach lets juniors give the same level of attention to the overall picture.

As you play, a narrator will occasionally provide you with information on the objects that you’re interacting with. This includes the names of the fishes, an additional bits of knowledge such as what gills are for and what is a caudal fin. Juniors can learn about the inhabitants of the ecosystem as they play.

To give you some ideas about what the app is like, here are some facts that will be provided by the narration:

  • Some herrings are small enough to fit in your hands.
  • Killer whales are also known as orcas.
  • Both herrings and orcas travel in groups, yet they are referred differently. One is called a school of herrings, and the other is called a pod of orcas.
  • Humpback whales communicate to each other using songs.

Watch trailer video for MarcoPolo Ocean on YouTube

Parents Need to Know

MarcoPolo Ocean encourages juniors to play in its open-ended environment, exploring the ocean as one giant aquarium. Kids can learn about the ocean’s inhabitants, discover new things, and get more information from the narration. It’s the perfect digital sandbox for juniors ages 3+ to learn about the different species living in the different parts of the ocean.

Keep in mind that the app requires 1.1 GB of storage space -- it’s one of the largest educational apps I’ve installed in the past year. But the activities are well worth the space. The developers also included a guide for parents to explore the topic further by recommending ocean-themed books and ideas for activities at home. Parents are encouraged to play with sink/float concept, build DIY aquarium from a shoebox, visit a nearby port/harbor, and go on a field trip to an aquarium or a pet store.

Kids can learn about the parts of a ship as they explore and build jigsaw puzzles

Things I Like

MarcoPolo Ocean is a playful and interactive app. You can tap, swipe and drag various objects on screen and see how they interact. It’s a simple app, yet it has a lot of depth and details. The jigsaw building activities are not just about construction, but also learning about the components.

For example, juniors can learn about the different rooms inside a ship, including the engine room, cabin, hold, galley. They can also learn about different parts of a submersible such as mechanical arm, propeller, sonar, and periscope. There is also the plethora of uncommon sea animals such as anglerfish and manatee. Your juniors are going for an immersive learning experience with this app.

Learn about the inhabitants of the ocean in this open-ended app


MarcoPolo Ocean is a beautiful and fun ocean exploration app for juniors ages 3+. Its open-ended play environment encourages juniors to explore and discover new things underwater. The narration helps explain contextual information as juniors interact with the objects. I believe it has the best jigsaw building mode I’ve ever seen.

MarcoPolo Ocean is available for iPad
Get it on the App Store: iPad

App was provided for our honest review.

Like this app? You might enjoy these:
- Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer Lets Kids Explore a Magical Ocean
- Wee Subs
- ABC Aquarium Introduces Aquatic Animals to Kids