Daisy the Dinosaur

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Daisy the Dinosaur App Poster Image
Cute, free coding game covers the basics.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn how a computer program works with a few basic commands. Rather than dealing with images or symbols, kids work with common language that describes the moves. They'll learn about conditional statements, using the "when" command, and about looping, using the "repeat 5" command. They'll make Daisy move, turn, grow, shrink, jump, roll, and spin based on the program they create. This short game makes programming fun and approachable for kids, but they'll need to play around with other programming tools to develop strong skills. 

Ease of Play

The sleek interface is very easy to use; kids just drag and drop. There are no instructions, so it may take kids a moment to realize they have to drag the commands section into the program section.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Daisy the Dinosaur is a free introduction to programming that will take older elementary-age kids about 10 minutes to work all the way through. It's simply cute, with a calm blue sky, yellow sun, green dinosaur, and yellow star, and it makes programming easy, offering nine commands for kids to drag and drop into their program to make Daisy move. Though the iTunes store description says kids can download a kit to write their own programs, there's no kit to download -- but kids can play in free-play mode when they've worked through the instructional challenges.

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What's it about?

DAISY THE DINOSAUR gives kids a basic overview of programming using a cute character and scene. Rather than dealing with unfamiliar figures or commands, kids choose commands written in plain English and drag them into the program to make Daisy the Dinosaur do what they direct. Once kids have completed the five challenges that cover moving, looping, and conditionals, they can use the free-play mode, wherein they decide what they'll have Daisy do using the available commands.

Is it any good?

What Daisy the Dinosaur does best is make programming accessible to kids -- even tech-averse kids. It gives them a very brief, uncomplicated introduction to programming using simple commands in everyday language. The downside is, if kids get hooked, there's not much to keep them engaged. The challenge mode will take kids only a few minutes to work through, and there's not much innovation that can happen with the nine commands available in free-play mode. There's also no way to save programs. This is a great free introduction to teach kids the basics. Parents may want to have a few other programming games and apps in mind to buy if kids show an interest in going deeper with their coding interests.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Encourage kids to explore a variety of programming tools so they have at least a basic ability to write and understand computer code. Software jobs outnumber students three to one.

  • Character-based coding games often appeal more to girls, so encourage them to move on to the developer's more in-depth programming app, Hopscotch HD.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love tech and engineering

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