These days it never ceases to amaze me how quickly my 2-year-old navigates our iPad 2. We’ve created a folder for him with all of the apps appropriate for his age, and he can already flip through multiple pages to locate it. I also can’t believe how “in-tune” he is to the icons on the screen, despite not being able to read, the “kid-friendy” apps seem to jump off the screen at him and his memory for them is incredible.
The Dr. Panda, Teach Me! app, developed by TribePlay, is an educational app for preschoolers (kids ages 2-5), that is compatible with the iPad and iPhone. It is available in the iTunes store as both a full version ($1.99), and a free lite version. After entering the app, the child is able to either chose a learning game or they can explore the different animal habitats (meadow, jungle, farm or arctic) by touching different animals or items in the environment, then wait for their unique animated response. Dr. Panda is a spunky and cute panda bear wearing a graduation hat who narrates the directions and provides positive reinforcement to kids by clapping repeatedly when they choose correct answers, while also letting them know they chose the incorrect response. Aside from English, the language of this app can be changed exposing children to other languages such as German, Dutch, Japanese, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. The educational activities encourage children to learn about various concepts such as same, different, colors, 1:1 correspondence when counting, memory, matching and spatial skills with puzzles.
The few times that I tried to encourage my 2 1/2 year old to play with the app, he touched a few of the animals watched their responses, then promptly told me that he was finished, returning back to his folder in search of his favorite car and truck related books and apps. When I tried to encourage him to participate in some of the educational games, the concepts got challenging quickly and I think this was why, in part, he chose to move onto another app. Which is also expected for his age, he was randomly picking answers with trial and error, not always understanding the directions. One of my favorite features of this app though for young children, is that there are dozens of simple cause and effect responses children can see by just tapping the various animals and elements in each habitat. Though he is on the early end of the age range for this app, I think it is something that with time he will enjoy more as he is ready for more challenging academic concepts.
During the day I also work in a school system with children who are developmentally delayed and have various learning disabilities. Often times as rewards or when I need a minute to prep our next activity, it’s not uncommon for me to hand over my iPhone for children to access an educational app for just a few minutes. Two children at school played with this app and though they were older than the target age group, because of their learning challenges, the activities were very appropriate for their academic abilities. Both children were able to navigate the app and quickly identify where the game activities were positioned. One of the children loved the clapping and positive response that Dr. Panda provides after choosing the correct answer. When he returned the following week he asked for my phone to see the panda and began clapping in imitation, just like Dr. Panda.
What I like about this app in general is that the content is basic yet educational. Once you load the app within seconds the child can activate the content and the games are relatively short so it could be a great app to encourage kids to play to pass the time in waiting areas, car pool lines, etc.
I participated in this sponsored post campaign through Boston Parent Bloggers and was provided with the Dr. Panda, Teach Me! app for free as part of this opportunity. Though I have received compensation for my time, all opinions represented are my own.