L and I have been playing with a new app based on the popular Dinosaur Train TV Series from the Jim Henson company, Dinosaur Train: Paint and Match by Kuato Studios.
This is an educational app with two game options aimed at children aged 5 and under, so perfect for L who is 3 years old. You can set up how long they are allowed to play for in the app settings before it will stop and won’t start again for an hour. The app is available from the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.
As a general rule I’m not a massive fan of paid apps, when there are so many free ones about. But at only 99p for the whole app, no other expansion payments, no ads and great parental controls, I was more than up for trying it out. Let’s be honest, we’d all rather pay 99p upfront than download a free app, find our kids love levels 1-3 then have to pay a fortune to get the rest of the game.
The first game is colouring. I thought this would be L’s favourite option, but it isn’t. Whilst he enjoys getting to colour in one of a great selection of 24 pictures, featuring Buddy the Dinosaur and his friends on their adventures, it doesn’t hold his attention for long. I think this may be because the screen itself is so detailed it distracts from the actual picture he is colouring, from an adult point of view it all looks very pretty, but from a three year old’s perspective I think he finds it difficult to work out what he is using.
He can choose from a variety of pencils and brush sizes, but I’ll be honest and say I didn’t realise you could change the brush size immediately, it wasn’t obvious. He also hasn’t got on well with spinning the colour palette to select what he wants to use.
I do like that he can save and print his creations though.
L’s favourite game is the memory card game. It has 4 different levels and is hosted by Mr Conductor. You have to try to beat the clock and help him match up as many train tickets as possible. L really loves this. As a parent I love watching him concentrate and try to remember where the different dinosaurs are. Every time he gets one wrong he makes a little buzzer sound and when he gets a pair he cheers. It’s really sweet and he loves it.
I have noticed that he finds it hard to pick an appropriate level for himself. Always going straight for one of the hardest two, not the easiest. On the level selection screen the number of cards you’ll get is displayed. The numbers are quite small and L only recognises a few anyway. They have also tried to show the difficulty level with a visual of the amount of cards, 1 for level 1 and 4 for level 4. This does all blend into the background a bit though.
Regardless, none of this spoils it for him and he will happily sit and try to match his cards and he is definitely getting better. I haven’t seen anything so directly impact his concentration levels before. It is fabulous.
At 99p I do think this app is worth a try. I think the age range of 5 and under is appropriate. There’s not enough to keep older children entertained but for younger kids it is perfect. The graphics are superb and really fun, what kid doesn’t love dinosaurs and trains after all. I can’t see it being a long-term favourite of L’s but for now it is certainly worth the money.
Disclosure – I received the app for free and been compensated for my time to write this review. All opinions are my own.