Geography Apps: The 39 Clues – Vesper Hunt

Sometime back, we were looking for Geography apps like the old Carmen Sandiego Game. Recently, we stumbled on a free app by Scholastic called The 39 Clues – Vesper Hunt. It is a game that is part of the Scholastic book series with the same title – The 39 Clues and can be played online or via the app.

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The 39 Clues is very reminiscent to the old Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego game. This time, you’re a member of a powerful family called the Cahills. Your mission is to track down the Vespers – your enemy – and stop them from destroying your family. Using your logic, your knowledge of geography, and by working through puzzles, you can track down the Vesper suspects and foil their fiendish plots.

The puzzle games are the unique twist to this game that is different from the original Carmen Sandiego game. The 39 Clues includes 3 puzzle games:

Circuit Game

Start out by focusing on the pieces along the edges. Once you have these pieces in place, you can move to the interior. Every piece will connect — there are no dead ends.

Matching Game

Begin by quickly tapping a number of the circuits. You will probably find one or two matches that way. Then, you can focus on making more strategic guesses.

Number Game

Tap or click on an empty space next to the highlighted square. Focus on finding each of the pieces one at a time. If you make a mistake, just start over — you should have plenty of time to get it right.

The rest of it is pretty much the same – you are given geographical clues which will tell you what city you need to travel to next. For instance, suspect bought opera tickets and one of your next destination options is Sydney. You will also receive a clue about your suspect – gender, hair colour, interests, talents, or trademark – which you will have to use to help you narrow down the suspects so you know which Vesper you are after.

Aside from teaching your child geography, younger children will learn to deduce what the clues suggest about the suspect. For example, suspect was bragging about high scores which suggests an interest in video games. Another example might be suspect bought a wig which suggests the suspect’s talent is in disguises.

When travelling from one city to another, you are also shown some interesting facts about the country as well as a map depicting where the cities are relative to each other.

It is a really fun way to learn geography – which I can personally vouch for because I learned my capital cities playing Carmen Sandiego and was the only kid in my class who knew the capital city of Egypt at that time. I can’t really say geography was a favourite subject of mine either. Aristotle, who has yet to show any inkling of interest in geography, was quick to seize this app and has since been piecing together his geographical knowledge on various countries around the world. Best of all, it’s free.

And now that he’s familiar with the game, The 39 Clues, Aristotle might pick up on the book series, too. I have found that Aristotle needs a little push when it comes to new books. He loves his old books enough (he keeps re-reading them) but starting a new series is always a challenge. Until he “knows” it, he doesn’t really want to read it. I’ve had to come up with all manner of tricks to get him started on something new and then allow his curiosity to take him the rest of the way.

But I digress… You can play The 39 Clues – Vesper Hunt here: