H loves his iPad, well it was actually daddy’s once but over the past year he’s gradually claimed it as his own. Before H was born, Mrs F and I always talked about how we wouldn’t let him get into computers and such like at an early age as we wanted him to love “playing” and enjoying the great outdoors and not turn into a unsociable child who prefers to lock themselves in their room playing consoles all day. As it turns out, on reflection, it would be wrong for us to shield him of such things, as its the era we are now in, and to do so could in fact hinder his development and knowledge.
We do make sure that he isn’t on it from morning to night and he knows its a treat rather than a given right to play on it. That said he is amazing on it, knowing how to navigate to his favourite Playdoh or egg unwrapping video’s on YouTube, he can successfully watch his favourite (and daddy’s) Cbeebies programmes on BBC iPlayer as well as enjoy all the educational apps available for his age range and older… he even knows my passcode on my phone?!
So when we were invited to review a new iOS game aimed at 4-10 year olds all about Dinosaurs, I knew H would be happy.
Dino Tales is a fun and educational game set on an island which includes rivers, lakes, mountains and caves as well as fun things to do such as a musical boneyard or a boulder alley where you can play bowling using lava rocks.
The game is based around six main characters, well baby dinosaurs with the aim of the game to learn and explore all about the dinosaurs and prehistoric facts (what they eat, fossils etc). Along the way you have help from Darwin, a talking dinosaur who is on hand to guide you to different areas of the island, help you explore and even answer questions you can create yourself using a clever word wheel. H loved asking both educational and fun questions such as “How long have you been extinct for?” or “Are you married?”
At the beginning on the game parents can select the reading age of their child to ensure all the language used within the game is targeted appropriately to their child. Parents can also set “length of play” sessions to ensure their child doesn’t spend too long on the game. This is only reset by the parent entering a PIN number they set up at the start. Don’t do what I did though and use the same PIN as my phone unlock which, as mentioned above, H already knows. As we played it together, I didn’t really set a limit but H was happy to play on it for around 25 minutes before his young imagination shifted elsewhere. Over the past week, he has tended to play on it in 10 minute blasts, mainly running around the island and asking Darwin questions.
Along the way, the game takes snapshots of your progress and at the end of each session produces a story book where you can then read with your child, or alone if they wish. It shows cases exactly what they have achieved as well as giving the child the opportunity to change words within the story for more advanced words, thus improving their vocabulary.
Another section H really liked is the ability to customise the Dinosaurs, they can do this by collecting coloured berries around the island and then use the Berry blaster to give your dinosaur a texture or colour of your choice.
One thing H did keep asking me to do for him was the find the bowling alley for him as he wasn’t able to pinpoint its location easily, once there though we was more than capable of playing bowls by controlling his dinosaurs head to prod the giant lava rock onto the rock skittles.
The game has increased H’s interest in Dinosaurs as well as teaching him some basic knowledge about them so it does fall into the educational activity bracket whilst still having a game playing element, something which gets the thumbs up from Mrs F and I.
Dino Tales is best played on an iPad 2 or above but also works on iPhone or iPod Touch (fifth generation) and is available from the App store for £2.99
NB: I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I may have been paid expenses, and have been supplied with a product sample for this review, but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.”
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