Monday, August 13, 2012

Cars in Sandbox: Construction

Cars in Sandbox: Construction was created by Thematica and is for construction truck lovers - dump trucks, loader, trucks, tractors, trucks I'd never heard of like the crawler-mounted excavator, trucks with cool names like the telescopic handler, you name it. Price: $2.99

Device Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 4.2 or later.

Developmental Appropriateness: This is a creative app in that it makes the trucks pretty functional and realistic in what their tasks are. So for each truck, kids have to move them with their finger or tilt the device to achieve a task fitting of that truck - so like putting objects in a dump truck to dump them into a bin. There aren't much verbal instructions but in each task there are cute pictures posted on the walls that show you what should be done, which encourages exploring, without leaving you totally in the dark. A younger kid may not notice these pictures, but once they do, they'll get the hang of it. Some of them are easier to figure out than others - but overall a good exercise in problem solving. Also, at times it takes some good motor skills to get the truck to do what you want, so younger kids may get a little frustrated. I wish there was more info offered about the trucks. I guess learning by doing is answer enough, but some of the trucks are kinda similar - at least to me who's not very well versed in construction trucks, so a brief little explanation with facts and figures would be nice. Rating: 4/5 (aim for around 6 years).

Balance: There are some fun additional features like if you tap on the door it opens (only to reveal no driver! Would be nice if kids could create their own avatar and continue the role playing as the driver) and the horn sounds. But sometimes, these features get in the way of trying to make the truck move. And it's sometimes hard to get the truck in the exact position you want, so a gas/brake feature would be nice for more accurate movement. Rating: 4/5

Sustainability: Overall, this is an engaging task for truck lovers. Some sustainability issues may that that while some tasks may be hard for younger kids, older kids may get bored because there is only one task per truck. You also earn various number of stars per truck task which is good, but I wonder if there could be levels, the harder, the more stars - or a progression of some sort. Rating: 4/5

Parental Involvement: Parents may need to help kids figure out what to do at first, but otherwise, this is a kids only game. Rating: 3/5

Total: 15 out of 20 stars = 4 stars

Disclosure: I received this app for free for review purposes.

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