We’re big fans of the PBS Kids TV show Dinosaur Train in our house. (You can see more about why we love Dinosaur Train here.) It’s an entertaining show, centered about a kind and loving dinosaur family, and has taught the four of us (my husband and I included) all about dinosaurs. Plus, the music is catchy, the show has good lessons in each episode, and it’s visually attractive. So when a friend passed along a coupon code for the new Dinosaur Train game, “All Aboard, the Dinosaur Train” on iTunes , I was happy to have the kids give it a try.
As background, I should note that we limit the kids’ iPad use in our house to the weekends, and then we restrict that engagement to educational games and books. The iPad is in the same category as the TV (“screen time”), and the kids know that iPad time is special and needs to be earned (though I am not above using it to settle an overwrought child). The best part of iPad time is that the kids use together, often lying next to one another on the floor and taking turns. Sometimes, we have to set the timer so they’ll switch back and forth, but overall it fosters cooperation.
The Dinosaur Train app was one of those “why-is-it-so-quiet-in-my-house?” games. R and G were immediately enthralled by it and looked forward to finding their favorite characters. For G, it’s Shiny, and for R, it’s Buddy. (I’m partial to The Conductor.) During the game, the kids built train tracks for the Dinosaur Train to travel on and also loaded dinosaurs onto the train, matching the size of the dinosaur with the appropriate cart. The game, therefore, fosters problem-solving among other skills.
The games offers games for one and two players and allows the user to earn a code to unlock a prize on the PBS Kids website. For R, who is almost 6, the game was a particuarly good fit, and he especially liked to design his own train track. When I asked what he thought of it, he said, “I wish I could play it all day long, Mommy.” High praise!
You can learn more about Dinosaur Train here.