Article: Cooking, Cleaning, Role Playing and more with Dr. Panda Apps

Article: Cooking, Cleaning, Role Playing and more with Dr. Panda Apps

My kids love Dr. Panda Apps and we have reviewed so many of them here at The iMums.  I thought it would be great to put them all in one post so you can easily find the reviews and links to the apps!  Apps range from cooking, to chores/cleaning, role playing and more.  I love the amount of replay these apps get even years after I bought them and loaded them on our devices.  Dr. Panda started making apps in 2012, originally under the name Tribeplay.  They are based in China and California, and you can learn more about them here.  We recently updated our review of Dr. Panda Town and are currently running a giveaway.  Those that share this post in addition to commenting get 5 entries!

Dr. Panda TownDr. Panda Town by Dr. Panda Ltd is the first free app with in-app purchases or IAP offered by Dr. Panda games. Dr. Panda was founded in 2012 and has a number of apps available for iOS and Android with great open free play options. This app includes in-app purchases for a park and a supermarket as well as a home setting. For purposes of this review, I will review both the park and supermarket settings contained within the app. The app opens with Dr. Panda pulling up to the town in his yellow car. If you try to open up the park or supermarket and have not purchased them a parental lock pops up before taking you into the iTunes store which requires you to enter your year of birth. Of note, I got the app bundle on one device and had to “restore” my purchase on my second device to be able to access each of the three places. We used language to describe each of the actions which made it great for practicing language.  Read the full review and enter our giveaway!

 

Dr. Panda Cafe

Dr. Panda Cafe

Dr. Panda Cafe from Dr. Panda Games  is a new universal app for iOS which has your child making food and drinks in a cafe setting.  As you gain more customers, you have to balance time management, taking orders and making them as well as cleaning up.  As you serve more customers, you earn new recipes and foods to give to the customers. To play the app, first you seat the customer at a table – if the table is empty you can put the customer at it.  Once they are seated, you take their order and go back behind the counter as Dr. Panda to work on the order.  Items are broken into categories, and you tap on the correct category to make or brew the item.  Once you have made all of the items in the order, it’s time to serve it to the customers.  You can take orders from multiple customers at once, and make food the same way although it can bet a bit confusing!  Among the food choices, coffee/tea, cakes, pizza and as you get to know your customers better you can try to imagine what they might order in advance.  It was important to pay attention to the customers in order to keep them happy which in turn unlocked items after you earned stars and gave you more food and drinks to serve.  Read our full review

 

Dr. Panda's RestaurantDr. Panda’s Restaurant by Dr. Panda features interactive mini-games which include seating a variety of animals (patrons) and cooking a dish that they have in mind.  Activities’ practiced in the app include fine motor via chopping a variety of foods, peeling, sautéing in a frying pan, pinching and squeezing for making of juice, toasting and preparing bread along with cooking a variety of foods.  There are a variety of different dishes in rotation to be prepared and served to the various animals including soups, decorating cookies, making apple pie, a variety of fruit drinks and his personal favorite pizza.  This app could also be used in speech therapy to describe each of the items as they are prepared and sequencing of them.  This app was fun in that it was two restaurants’ in one, with one downstairs serving American theme and the upstairs decorated in more of a Chinese theme.  It would be great if the foods matched the décor on each of the floors.  The mini-recycling game was a nice way to remind my son what went into each bin and helped us practice our recycling skills at home.  We also enjoyed touching a variety of objects within the dining room to turn on and off the lights, touching the spider and interacting with the plates after the meals were finished.  My son enjoyed making cookies and making the soups best because they required precision in chopping and fine motor practice.  Read the full review.

Dr. Panda Restaurant 2

Dr. Panda Restaurant 2

Dr. Panda Restaurant 2 by Dr. Panda  is a universal app for iOS that puts your little chef in a tropical kitchen and allows them to make food to delight their patrons.  The app includes more than 20 ingredients including fish, eggs, peppers, tomatoes, three types of pasta, seasonings and more.  You can boil, bake, fry and cop ingredients to make the perfect dish for your patrons who arrive in parties of two via a water taxi and place their orders.  As you are making the item, the guest will stand at the window while you pick out the ingredients and make faces depending on what they want on their meal.  Each dish allows you to put different toppings to satisfy their taste.  The app includes a traditional diet as well as a switch for a vegetarian diet.  The app practices attention to detail, fine motor required for chopping, slicing and laying out the ingredients as well as making sure the customers are getting the food that they want.  In addition children follow recipes step by step which include making the pasta, pouring it into the colander, putting it on the plate and then making a sauce.  Other tasks include rolling out the pizza dough before adding additional ingredients.  Read our full review.

 

Dr. Panda Train

Dr. Panda Train

Dr. Panda Train,  all Aboard this app from Dr. Panda Games this time with a train theme!  In this fun themed train app your kids serve as conductor and they drive the train and tour one of three landscapes which includes jungle, desert and a beautiful countryside scene. Within the app, your child can drive the train either from a first person perspective inside the cab or from a distance.  They also can stop and visit the passengers to give them food, snacks, reading material and more.  My son even found some great tech to give the passengers.  Shovel on some coal to stoke the fire and make the train go faster to it’s next destination or simply blow the horn as the countryside goes by.  I liked that my kids could take turns playing with the app or putting passengers on and handing out items to them.  As you complete more of the game you earn extra items to give to the passengers – my kids favorites were of course the tech!    Read the full review

 

 

Dr. Panda Daycare

Dr. Panda Daycare

Dr. Panda’s Daycare by Dr. Panda  features Dr. Panda in a daycare setting where your child is in a virtual playhouse with five baby animals.  The animals have a playroom where they can rock on a rocking horse, bounce on a ball or play with a train.  In the kitchen they can pretend to have a birthday party, have breakfast or lunch and cook foods.  Upstairs there is a stage and instruments for them to play with and a naptime room.  There is also a backyard where kids can play with a slide, bouncy pit or pool.  The app encourages creative play and helps children understand that their choices can determine how the animals will play. It is best suited for late toddlers and preschoolers who will enjoy the setting while finding new toys to play with and switches to turn on and off. Read the full review.

 

 

Dr. Panda Airport

Dr. Panda Airport

Dr. Panda Airport by Dr. Panda is set at an airport adventure featuring ten activities including:  going through security, checking in at the desk, driving the luggage cart, getting your bags via baggage claim, controlling airspace via the control tower, counting money for a payphone and making a phone call, stamping tickets, cleaning the airplane. loading the flight with luggage and going to lost and found.  The app is designed for children in preschool and older through elementary school.  It practices skills such as fine motor, sorting, counting, finding a specific object, expressive language. shape recognition and matching,  and more.  The four main characters in the app are a monkey, elephant, raccoon and a hippopotamus who are all attired in different types of vacation clothing.  Read our full review

 

 

Dr. Panda Bus Driver

Dr. Panda Bus Driver

Dr. Panda Bus Driver by Dr. Panda has Dr. Panda is driving a bus around either a city, countryside, harbor or a variety of other locations picking up and dropping off his passengers, painting the bus, refilling the gas tank and more!  Much like a traditional bus, you have to stop to let passengers and other vehicles go by, stop for trains that will pass as well as clean up the bus after your “route” has been completed.  This app is designed for preschoolers through early elementary school similar to other Dr. Panda apps and will provide hours of open ended play for them that uses fine motor skills both from seating passengers and driving the bus either with your finger or by gently moving your device to steer it from side to side to ensure it stays in the road.  The scenery within the app changes each time you launch it – and can range a harbor complete with a  drawbridge, railroad crossings, tunnels, birds in the road to a countryside.  Dr. Panda must deliver his animal friends safely to their destination while ensuring they are sitting down on the bus and watching out for obstructions.  When an obstruction comes up – a warning “light” comes up inside the bus so you can touch it to stop for it and allow the drawbridge to go up and down, passengers to cross the road as well as watching out for birds and other wildlife that might be on the road.  Read our full review

 

Dr. Panda Handyman

Dr. Panda Handyman

Dr. Panda Handyman by Dr. Panda  Games is the latest universal app for iOS featuring Dr. Panda as he fixes of household objects that seem to have mysteriously broken through 14 mini games. The app is designed for toddlers, preschoolers and elementary school children.  The app is a great one for children to practice fine motor skills as well as naming and finding objects and tools. One of our favorite features of the app was fixing all the different objects around the house and the realistic sounds of the tools as they worked. We loved that the tasks varied so you were not always doing the same task over and over again.  My son also loved giving high fives to Dr Panda for a job well done!  The three dimensional graphics  in the app were animated and we saw familiar characters from the other Dr Panda apps and were very engaging for our testers.  Read our full review.

 

 

Dr. Panda Home

Dr. Panda Home

Dr. Panda’s Home by Dr. Panda is a universal app for iOS and allows your children to do chores in Dr. Panda’s House while earning an allowance for completing them.  The app is done in 3D and has over 20 mini games and activities to complete.  Your child is assigned a list of three chores which are checked off on a list as they are completed and then after they are completed, are awarded five coins for their piggy bank.  Your child can either spend the coins on small toys or save them to get bigger toys for the toy shelf.  The app is kid friendly and brings all of Dr. Panda’s animal friends to life while they help you do daily chores like emptying the dishwasher, cleaning the toilet and bathroom sink, sorting and doing a load of laundry, mowing the lawn, washing the windows and more. The app also helps with step by step directions, sequencing, following a task to completion as well as fine motor skills.  Read the full review

 

 

Dr. Panda Hospital icon

Dr. Panda Hospital

Dr. Panda’s Hospital by Dr. Panda Games is a universal app which features eight different animals that your child will take to their hospital beds, discover and treat their health problems.  The app features ten mini-games which include: treating an upset stomach,  treating chicken pox, giving an injection, treating eyes, ears, mouth/teeth as well as retrieving mistakenly swallowed items.  TribePlay was founded in 2008 and creates educational games for the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Android and is based in Chengdu, Western China.   Dr. Panda and TribePlay are certified by the kidSAFE® Seal Program which certifies child-friendly websites and applications including kid-targeted game sites, web-connected devices and other products.  This app helps practice fine motor, sequencing, speech and discussion skills as well as creative/dramatic play.  This app provides a great rendition of an animal hospital for children to interact with and treat all of the various animals.  Read the full review.

 

 

Dr. Panda Racers

Dr. Panda Racers

Dr. Panda Racers by Dr. Panda LTD  features a racing theme that lets you build your own cars and track including jumps and tricks, washing your vehicle, competing against other Dr. Panda characters and more!  As you successfully complete the races – in first place you earn prizes which include race car parts, spray paints, and trophies.  The tracks can either be concrete, dirt or sand and you choose them prior to racing at the event.  To play the app you either choose or build your car, choose or build your track and then head to the pits for a wash before going out to the track for the race.  At the starting line you are prompted to buckle your seat belt and then it’s on to the race and fun stunts!  The track is controlled using a toggle which allows you to go 5 or 10 – and then the stunts require stopping to complete a tracing task.  Read our full review

 

 

Dr. Panda Firefighters

Dr. Panda Firefighters

Dr. Panda Firefighters is a universal app for iOS that lets your child fight fires, drive a fire truck, clear obstacles, explore over 30 rooms and more. This app is designed for toddler age and up and features Dr. Panda and his friends as they drive the firetruck to the scene of the fire, turn on the water and look around for flames to extinguish. It reminded me very much of playing fire engines as a kid, except Dr Panda was able to physically make the rooms rather than me having to imagine them. The app is great for toddler and preschoolers especially. It can be used to practice following directions, expressive language to narrate what they are doing and following along with the animals to rescue them. There is also cause and effect of fighting the fire, handing over the tools and moving on to the next level. Read our full review

 

 

Dr. Panda Toy Cars Free

Dr. Panda Toy Cars Free

Dr. Panda’s Toy Cars by Dr. Panda  allows your children to role-play and use their imaginations in two cities with a variety of vehicles ranging from a fire truck, boat, police car, ambulance, cargo truck, regular cars and more.  The app allows you to “drive” with your finger, turn on and off sirens, put out fires, put up and down barriers for the railroad crossing and more.  The app is designed for children from toddler through preschool although my elementary aged student really enjoyed the activities contained within the app.  My son loved that two of us (or more) could play with the app at the same time as you can drive multiple vehicles simultaneously.

 

 

Dr. Panda Space

Dr. Panda Space

Dr. Panda in Space is a universal app for iOS, Amazon appstore  and Android which allows you to customize your own space ship and blast off and have open ended discovery in space of planets, asteroids, activities such as fixing your space ship, free play in zero gravity and more.  This app is aimed at preschool and early grade school aged children with lots of great free play opportunities for the younger children during the exploration phase.  The app begins with a customization of your spaceship where you then blast off into space and begin your exploration.  Read our full review.

 

 

Dr. Panda Mailman

Dr. Panda Mailman

 Dr. Panda’s Mailman is a universal app for iOS that features the post office!  This app features the ability to make and address your own postcards, pick a gift to package up for delivery including wrapping and delivery.  The app features a variety of animals, including a pig, the turtle (Toto)  we saw in Toto’s Treehouse, a monkey, elephant, sheep, hippo, cat, raccoon, elephant and more for a total of 12 animals!  After designing your package, Dr. Panda is off on an adventure to deliver your mail.  The stamp on the package or postcard helps him know where to deliver it and it’s placed into Dr. Panda’s scooter to deliver it.  The world includes rivers, forests, mountains and houses along with jumps, roads, road signs and more!  This app is best suited for preschoolers and early elementary aged children.  Skills practiced can include language, motor skills in coloring and driving the scooter, listening to directions.  Read our full review.
 

 

Dr. Panda Swimming Pool

Dr. Panda Swimming Pool

Dr. Panda’s Swimming Pool by Dr. Panda is a universal app designed for iOS that has the animals in a variety of aquatic settings at a pool. You can dress in a variety of bathing suits in the locker room while taking a shower and getting ready for the pool, diving off a pirate ship, playing in a sandbox, going down a water slide or playing in a small wading pool with a variety of lunch items available.  This app is aimed at toddlers and preschoolers.  Skills practiced include language both receptive and expressive, and some fine motor skills. I liked that the app had four different play areas similar to a traditional beach.  The graphics were crisp and they showcased especially well with the animations.   Read our full review.

 

 

 

Dr. Panda's Ice Cream Truck

Dr. Panda’s Ice Cream Truck

Dr. Panda Ice Cream Truck by Dr. Panda has you making your own ice cream using a variety of colors, mix-in’s such as fruit while whipping it up in a blender to make your favorite combinations.  Once your ice cream is created you then add your toppings like squeeze on caramel or rainbow, sprinkles which include chocolate curls, and traditional sprinkles as well as the ability to top it with candy.  After finishing the ice cream you tap on a bell and you help  the character eat it before paying for the ice cream sundae.  The payment for each sundae depends on the size, complexity and amount of toppings used.  I have seen cones range from four to 31 coins depending on how you put it together.  Read the full review

 

 

 

Dr. Panda Supermarket

Dr. Panda Supermarket

Dr. Panda Supermarket by Dr. Panda is a universal app for iOS which features Dr. Panda in the supermarket along with many of his friends we have seen in previous apps including the most recent Dr. Panda Daycare.    Dr. Panda is based in Chengdu, China where the national animal is a giant panda!  The app features the animals as they go grocery shopping and a variety of ten themed mini games which vary from shopping using a list, organizing differently shaped boxes, cleaning up spills and more with six different animals and their children.  The app practices fine motor, critical thinking and creative play skills.  It does not contain any language either written or spoken which means it will appeal to toddlers to early preschool age children.  Read the full review

 

 

Dr. Panda’s Veggie Garden Dr. Panda’s Veggie Garden by Dr. Panda allows your child to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables for their customers who are comprised of a variety of animals we have met in previous Dr. Panda games.  The app allows you to plow, plant, water, harvest and of course take care of any insect infestations or critters from harming your crops.  This universal app features sequencing, fine motor, visual skills as well as language to name objects within the app.  The app features a variety of different “steps” which include: digging, planting seeds, watering and harvesting for five animal customers using 12 different fruits and vegetables including corn, wheat, strawberries and apples to name a few.  In addition, there are two bonus mini games which help your child organize the tool shed.  Read our full review.

 

 

Dr. Panda Beauty Salon

Dr. Panda Beauty Salon

Dr Panda Beauty Salon by Dr Panda Games allows your child to immerse themselves into a spa experience where they pamper the pets and do a bunch of great mini games.  The app allows for open ended creative play and has some great hidden elements within to unlock.  This universal app had wide appeal with our testers, both boys and girls who enjoyed playing with the virtual spa.  The app features 13 mini games along with three floors of fun!   My son even enjoyed tapping on the pictures on the walls, finding the hidden nail polish which means your next client automatically gets nail polish and a pedicure as well as the smaller features like the vibrating chairs, magazines and variety of tasks needed to play the app.  The waiting room was fun as the customers entered – similar to other Dr. Panda apps and we loved listening to the music, reading magazines and sipping tea.   Read our full review.

 

 

Dr. Panda Cafe

Dr. Panda Cafe

Dr. Panda Cafe from Dr. Panda Games  is a new universal app for iOS which has your child making food and drinks in a cafe setting.  As you gain more customers, you have to balance time management, taking orders and making them as well as cleaning up.  As you serve more customers, you earn new recipes and foods to give to the customers. To play the app, first you seat the customer at a table – if the table is empty you can put the customer at it.  Once they are seated, you take their order and go back behind the counter as Dr. Panda to work on the order.  Items are broken into categories, and you tap on the correct category to make or brew the item.  Once you have made all of the items in the order, it’s time to serve it to the customers.  You can take orders from multiple customers at once, and make food the same way although it can bet a bit confusing!  Among the food choices, coffee/tea, cakes, pizza and as you get to know your customers better you can try to imagine what they might order in advance.  It was important to pay attention to the customers in order to keep them happy which in turn unlocked items after you earned stars and gave you more food and drinks to serve.  Read our full review

 

Dr. Panda Art Class

Dr. Panda Art Class

Art Class with Dr. Panda  takes kid-art to a whole new level of enjoyment and allows your children to make one of six different art projects with their favorite animals from the Dr. Panda series.  The activities include: making a kite, cutting to make a design, making a pinwheel, making pottery, making a bead design and decorating an object with shapes.  Skills practiced in the app include: fine motor, creative thinking, sequential thinking, creative play and of course FUN! He loved shaping the pottery on the pottery wheel, watching it get fired in the kiln and the painting it with the rainbow colored paintbrush.    I also loved that the art book hanging on the wall allows your child to choose an activity (from the ones available in the app) as well as choosing an animal at the table.  We had fun with all of the activities in the app – and also really enjoyed the cutting one which required you to fold a piece of paper in a specific way and then make cuts with scissors prior to unfolding it to see your design.  Read our full review.

 

 

Dr. Panda Hoopa City 2

Dr. Panda Hoopa City 2

Hoopa City 2 by Dr. Panda Games is the newest app in the collection, this app is universal and features a building theme which encourages speech, creative play and role playing depending on the activity in the city.  The app appeals to kids from preschool through elementary school, and I found myself even enjoying playing with one of my son’s cities. My son really liked all the content in the app.  He enjoyed putting people in the buildings, role playing and switching from day to night.  He liked building his own characters as he progressed within the app.  As a mom, I liked the amount of content that was offered and the variety of options for building, playing or simply interacting with the city.   The 3D graphics are beautiful and my son enjoyed experimenting to create the different buildings and testing out combinations to see what bigger and better buildings he could make.   Read our full review

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
Building, creating and more – toys for my 3 year old boy

Building, creating and more – toys for my 3 year old boy

Cars_boy

As a mom of two, I always struggle with what the “right” toy is for my three year old son.  Should I get him something that is educational or should I defer to his favorite of cars and trucks and things that go?  We have some older toys from his brother who is now 8 and are among his favorites.  Below are some of our favorite toys for 3 year old boys which I’ve categorized by type.  I also try to get science based toys which fit into the STEM theme as well.

When shopping for a new toy I try to use the following criteria

  • usability – is it a toy that my son will play with once and be done?
  • durability – is the toy durable enough to last through multiple play sessions and not be broken?
  • learning – will my child learn something from the toy – either by reading or creative thinking skills like a puzzle
  • “fun factor creative toys” – will my kids have fun using it even if it creates a mess?
  • imaginary play – does the toy encourage imaginary or role play?

Let's Play House! Dust! Sweep! Mop!My kids love sturdy wooden toys, and I have found Melissa & Doug toys to be a huge hit over the years.  The content of the toys is timeless and typically there is an educational twist to what they are doing.    Plus, sometimes they even help out mom and dad with chores!  I call that a win all around!  My nephew got this cleaning set over the holidays, and it was fun to see my three year old play with it.  Guess what is on his birthday list?!?  I keep hoping he will help me tidy up or at least sweep up the constant messes that he seems to make.

 

 

Big Building Bag (classic) (80 pieces)I also like to look at learning types of toys, especially since I know preschool will be just around the corner.  We regularly work on letter recognition and colors.  In this category I like simple 5-6 piece puzzles, building blocks like Mega Blocks which are easy to stack and sort by color or counting, and even things like arranging them by size.

 

 

 

 

Toys that target imaginary play are important to consider as well.  My son also loves to dress up – so a few costumes might be a good fit here while we learn about different types of “jobs” in the community.  He currently has a dress up costume for a firefighter and construction worker and we have seen lots of great pretend play from these.  He also loves cooking in the kitchen, I like to present all types of foods for his play kitchen beyond the traditional meat and potatoes to include vegetables.  This tote from Learning Resources has a variety of fresh fruits and vegtables which then we use to talk about why we need to eat our veggies at dinner – which are unfortunatley not a favorite!  I love watching my son cook – and he’s now even more intersted in helping me prepare healthy snacks like carrots and apple slices.

 

 

 

VTech   Call & Chat Learning PhoneAs a tech mom, I also like to look at “tech toys”.  We introduced a tablet to my younger son at the age of 2.5 – earlier than I would have liked, but we limit #screentime and try to ensure we balance out learning in other ways.  We also have had fun getting toys like a pretend remote control which helps him work on numbers and colors.  He has an “old school” flip phone that he pretends to call me on from daycare on occasion which is fun as well.  When using the iPad I try to limit him to educational type stories or learning type apps.  We also love listening to music on the iPad and getting up to dance.  Be sure to check out our app reviews here at The iMums for some great apps to add to your device.  We also have some great tech toy reviews as well including a Bluebee Pal named Hudson that my son adores who reads stories to him from books on our iPad.

 

My son loves all things that move and go.  Little People are among his favorites.  He likes to intermix the Little People along with farm animals so it can make for some pretty creative combinations when he is playing.  By far his favorite though is his racetrack.  We practice patience – using the “on your mark, get set, go” as well as turn taking skills when he plays with other kids.  Most of the time, if my son is given the choice of toys to play with he will almost always choose something that can go.  He enjoys a variety of cars, trucks, and construction vehicles.  This year, I know I am looking at some Tonka Trucks he will be able to play with outside as well as a few of the lights & sounds trucks which are among his friends favorites.

 

 

 

6 Count Washable FingerpaintLast but not least are the “fun factor toys”.  Many of these toys fit into the “messy” category and include things like paints, bath toys and more.  We use crayons, markers, finger paints, chalk to make fun art related creations.  The most important piece here for me is a smock, and then we can move on to good “clean” fun!   Kids learn and practice so many skills when doing artwork like grasp as well as figuring out spacing on a page.  These may not be my favorites given the mess factor but I do love all of the artwork they create.

 

 

 

No matter what you choose, your three year old will love it.  My son loves sitting with me and playing toys no matter what the day.  Seeing him have enjoyment during play on his face – is simply priceless!

 

NOTE: This post is a partnership with Nakturnal.  The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

 

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
 Dr. Panda’s Toy Cars by Dr. Panda – Review & Giveaway

Dr. Panda’s Toy Cars by Dr. Panda – Review & Giveaway



iPhone Screenshot 1

What we love…

fun game for one or more players at the same time with no “rules” that lets you have role play and imagination.  Loved that it allowed for multi player interaction

What we’d love to see…

garage to park the cars or one central location, ability to drive the car from a first person perspective

Summary

Fun addition to the Dr. Panda line of apps with no rules just fun!  Great for multi-player fun and this Mom enjoyed it too!

Our Rating

Dr. Panda’s Toy Cars by Dr. Panda is the newest universal app for iOS that allows your children to role-play and use their imaginations in two cities with a variety of vehicles ranging from a fire truck, boat, police car, ambulance, cargo truck, regular cars and more.  The two cities are a winter city and a summertime city.  The app allows you to “drive” with your finger, turn on and off sirens, put out fires, put up and down barriers for the railroad crossing and more.  The app is designed for children from toddler through preschool although my elementary aged student really enjoyed the activities contained within the app.

iPhone Screenshot 3My son loved that two of us (or more) could play with the app at the same time as you can drive multiple vehicles simultaneously.  Each vehicle in the app has a unique trait ranging from the police car to the firetruck putting out fires and the ambulance taking sick people to help.  There are no time limits which meant we could play for as long as we wanted or as short of a period of time as we wanted.  I think one of his favorite parts was picking out vehicles – I have to say the firetruck and cargo truck got quite a bit of use during our testing.  There were unique features such as putting out a fire, catching a crook, filling up with gas and more which were all hidden within the app as fun extras that you wouldn’t always find unless you were tapping in random places.  My son liked loading the cargo truck as well which required you to find the loading spot, putting out fires with the elephants and more.

iPad Screenshot 4In terms of improvements, I’d like to see a “garage” where you can park the vehicles in since they are randomized on the screen and sometimes you have to move one in order to go forward.  Some of the vehicles like the fire truck and police car are parked at the station while others are out on the road.  My son likes to just “crash” into the cars in his way, but I preferred being able to move them out of the way.  We would also like to be able to “drive” the car from a first person perspective and see outside the windshield similar to Dr. Panda Bus Driver.

There are no in-app purchases or third-party ads and the app contains a parental gate which requires the tapping of a lock mechanism for a randomized number of times. I really enjoyed playing with the app with my son and it is fun for kids of all ages as you can sit down and play to your child’s level with imagination.

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NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

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Discovery Channel: Speed Machines by Miles Kelly Publishing- iBook Review

Discovery Channel: Speed Machines by Miles Kelly Publishing- iBook Review

Reviewed by Mary

Speed Machines

Discovery Channel: Speed Machines is an iBook by Miles Kelly Publishing – a independent children’s book publisher based in Essex, England. This iBook is based on their print book “Inside Speed Machines”, which is part of the ‘Explore Your World” series produced in conjunction with the Discovery Channel. This book is all about vehicles that have been built to satisfy man’s desire to go faster and to create new speed records of all kinds. The iBook feels just like you are reading a high quality children’s visual encyclopedia, but with the added dimension of the interactive 3D models, videos and slideshows.

 

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Each vehicle’s section starts with a description and a full-page, high quality photo of the vehicle in action. The rest of the section has the feel of a bulletin board with various things pinned onto it, these include: artwork, videos, slideshows, 3D models, fast facts, “look closer” and “whatever next?” The artwork is very detailed, often spread over 2 full pages, with cutouts and labels explaining the vehicles structure. The slide show and videos can be viewed in their small windows or expanded to full screen. The “look closer” section explains a concept, or how part of the vehicle works in more detail. It covers a huge range of topics from relative speed, through hydroplaning, air pressurization, and the technical aspects of how   a DOHC engine, a Pantograph or an altimeter work. When explaining how the technologies work, a labeled diagram accompanies the written explanation. Tapping on the label will zoom in on that part, and give more information on how it works. The 3D models rotate around and you can move them in any orientation you want, really allowing you to see the vehicle from every possible angle. “Whatever next?” discusses technologies that are being developed, and what the future may hold for these types of vehicles.

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The book covers not only fast cars, but motorcycles, trains, boats, helicopters and planes too. This book is recommended for age 10+,  it is a great book for that age range but I think that slightly younger children and many adults would enjoy it also. It includes a huge amount of information and is not narrated, so the child does need to be a proficient reader, or have an adult read it to them, to get the most from the book. My eight-year old loves the book, he has been having great fun exploring it and learning all about the different vehicles and technologies. His favorite parts are the 3D models and videos, my favorite is the ‘look closer” – I’m even learning things from it!!
screenshot 4Overall, a fantastic resource for older children who are interested in vehicles and technology. It has a huge amount of information presented in a colorful and engaging manner. The photographs and artwork are beautiful, and the interactive elements do a great job of keeping the child’s interest. I think it would also be a great way to get a reluctant reader, with an interest in vehicles, engaged and learning about the technology behind them. Highly recommended for ages 8+

 

Category: iBooks
Requirements: Compatible with iPad, requires iBooks 2 and iOS 5.0 or later.

Cost: US$4.99 $1.99 (279MB)Speed Machines - Miles Kelly This link works for US and Canadian versions only which are on sale for 1 week from date on publication of this review.

AUS : $4.99 UK £2.99 Discovery Channel™: Speed Machines - Miles Kelly
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screenshot 2

 

A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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