Children’s television programming has really come a long way since I was a kid. Shows like “Thundercats” or “Jem & The Holograms” were fun and flashy, but didn’t do much in the way of teaching kids important life lessons (unless, of course, you consider outsmarting The Misfits to be an important life lesson). These days there are so many channels with truly educational shows, with one of the front runners being Disney Jr – home of Doc McStuffins herself, star physician of the preschool set.
Doc is a girl who, well, plays doctor with her stuffed animals and toys – which just happen to come alive when there are no grownups around. She helps to teach the toys (and by proxy teaches the young viewers) about how to stay healthy and what to expect if they need to go to the doctor or hospital. Doc looks up illnesses in The Big Book of BooBoos and sings catchy songs about check-ups and feeling better.
Doc McStuffins: Moving with Doc takes all of the important lessons of the show and ties them up in a fun iOS game. Doc takes players through training, competition, and learning about healthy bodies by choosing to play as one of the other popular characters from the show. Move Stuffy, Lamby, or Hallie to move through obstacle courses that have the three jumping rope or popping bubbles. Players earn ribbons and get to track their progress as they continue through the game.
The general message of the app is great: it helps to teach kids about staying healthy in a relatable and engaging way. Three- to five-year-olds will appreciate the idea that they can still be fit and active while having fun. However the app itself is very buggy on a technological level. There’s quite a bit of lag moving from screen to screen, the audio is choppy and often doesn’t sync up, and some of the graphics are distorted and don’t match up.
My kids like watching Doc and were excited to play this game. Some of the directions are confusing even though they’re narrated (which means little reading) and because of the tech glitches the kids got frustrated very quickly. When we finally got to the actual games, they enjoyed playing – until the next bug interrupted their progress. After about 10 minutes of sighing and whining they gave up altogether and decided watching the show would be more interesting.
I received a promo code to review this app for free but had I paid the download price of $4.99 I would have been very disappointed. At that price point the app should be working seamlessly and without bugs or glitches. For those who have already bought the app I hope the developers fix the issues in future updates. That said, the pieces are there for a quality app with an important message that preschool-aged players can really understand.
– Teaches preschoolers about the importance of staying healthy
– Fun games and relatable, TV-based characters
– Tech glitches get in the way of seamless playing experience