Daisy the Dinosaur

Common Sense Media says

Cute, free coding game covers the basics.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

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
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

The plain-English privacy policy states that the app doesn't request information from the user but does collect some information automatically, such as the frequency and duration of app use.

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.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • patterns
  • sequences

Science

  • engineering

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • strategy
  • thinking critically

Self-Direction

  • working efficiently

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Simple design and a cute dinosaur character draw kids in without intimidating them. It's fun to make Daisy jump and spin around the screen, but, with only a few available commands, the possibilities are limited.

Learning Approach

This basic introduction to programming doesn't offer much depth. Plain-language commands are easy to understand but don't transfer directly to actual coding.

Support

Instructions are minimal, encouraging kids to figure things out on their own (which sometimes can be a good thing) with steps such as, "Try figuring out how to move Daisy so that she stops in the center of the star."

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • patterns
  • sequences

Science

  • engineering

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • strategy
  • thinking critically

Self-Direction

  • working efficiently

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

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. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Amanda Bindel

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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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Device:iPad
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:February 22, 2012
Category:Education
Topics:Dinosaurs
Size:5.30 MB
Publisher:Hopscotch Technologies
Version:1.2
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.2 or later

This review of Daisy the Dinosaur was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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