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Bo’s Dinnertime by Heppi Apps – Review

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Bo’s Dinnertime is a Universal app (also available for Android) and the second app from Dutch developer Heppi Apps (pronounced “Happy Apps”). Bo is a bright and colorful giraffe and the star of a series of children’s books in The Netherlands. Bo is also the star of “Bo’s Bedtime Story” which won the Dutch Media Toddler Award for Best App 2012. It can be used in English or Dutch, this review was done using the English option. In this app it is time for dinner and you help Bo with all the steps involved from grocery shopping through to washing the dishes. In the first page Bo is at the supermarket and you have to move the shopping cart to catch the falling groceries, each time Bo chooses three different items from the ten on the shelf. Next you help Bo to put the groceries away in the cupboard – this is a shape matching game where you match the item its outline. Then it’s time to cook, the child gets to practice following simple directions as some items need to be boiled and others fried. When the food is placed in the correct pan it changes into the cooked version e.g. instead of a package of Spaghetti there are balls of cooked Spaghetti. Bo needs some help putting the tablecloth on the table, and to do this the child needs to put together a simple 4 piece jigsaw puzzle. When laying the table the child gets to put the plate, knife, fork and spoon in their marked spots on the table. The colors of the tableware change each time, but the child always only has one color option to choose from.

When Bo is ready to eat child is asked to serve a certain number of portions of each type of food e.g. one drumstick, two scoops of rice and three mushrooms. I like that there is a visual reminder to help the child- the right number of servings appears in a thought bubble and each one disappears from the thought bubble as the child serves it. The next step is my children’s favorite – helping Bo to eat all the food ! After dinner Bo gets ice-cream and the child has to serve the right number of scoops of each flavor. Then it’s clean up time and the child gets to clean the table and wash the dishes. The app ends with a song about Bo’s dinnertime and various food items bouncing across the table. There is also a bonus game where the child can choose from a selection of food items to feed to a boy (Tommie) or girl (Lulu), they then help them to eat the food (complete with burps – my kids favorite part!).

In terms of enhancements, I would like to see the option of having an advanced level in the table laying e.g. pick the red plate and having both a red and a blue plate available. This would help to move on to the next stage of color recognition. I would like to see the putting away the groceries changed a bit as I think it is confusing that you only put one or two items away and there are spaces for other items after putting them away. It would also be nice if the other objects appeared in the basket. It would also be nice if you could prevent from moving forward to the next activity unless you complete the previous step.

Overall this is a nice, bright, cheerful app for Toddlers and Pre-schoolers, it will appeal most to two to four year olds, but older children will have some fun with it too. It helps to get children more interested in real-life mealtimes by making a game of learning about everything involved. It is good for working on fine motor skills, counting from 1-3, following directions, simple jigsaws and shape matching. It has some fun hidden sound effects too – such as a radio you can turn on on burps when eating.

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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