Dinosaur Garbage Truck

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Dinosaur Garbage Truck App Poster Image
Trucks, dinos deliver, but mini-games miss the mark.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn a little about waste management and recycling. At the processing plant, kids can see what parts of large-scale waste products, like cars and washing machines, can be salvaged and re-used. Kids will likely need some help from parents to make that connection however.

Ease of Play

Tap and hold to make trucks go. A guiding hand shows kids what to do next if they get lost.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

A small icon on the home screen takes kids to see ads for other apps from the same developer. Kids must solve an addition problem to get past the parent gate for purchase. Also, a pop up window and an icon on the home screen ask kids to rate the app. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dinosaur Garbage Truck is a simple game that combines two big hits with young kids -- dinosaurs and trucks -- to introduce some basic concepts of collecting and sorting waste for recycling. The free download includes two trucks and locations. There are three additional locked trucks available through an in-app purchase of $2.99. After several rounds of play, a pop-up window appears asking users to rate the app. Kids must tap something to make the window disappear, though there's an option to tap "not now" and avoid rating the app. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Tap play and choose a truck to get started with DINOSAUR GARBAGE TRUCK. Tap and hold ahead of the truck or behind it to make it go forward or backward. Along the path, there are waste items to pick up and load, levers to pull, or obstacles to drive into or over. After the path, kids enter the processing area where they pick apart salvageable pieces of waste items they collected and dispose of the rest through, e.g., a car crusher machine or an incinerator. There are five trucks and locations to play with; two are available for free whereas the other three must be unlocked with an in-app purchase of $2.99.

Is it any good?

Though there's a lot here that seems attractive for young kids, the actual content of these mini-games is disappointingly weak. Dinosaurs and trucks -- what could go wrong? Nothing really, in that there's nothing inherently wrong with Dinosaur Garbage Truck. Play is clear enough for young kids, graphics are clear and simple, and kids can see various machines do exciting things like crush cars, burn trash, and load heavy items. There's also not a whole lot that makes Dinosaur Garbage Truck stand out either. The dinosaur theme isn't connected so is likely just to get kids' attention. Play is simple, but also lacks creativity. There's not really any thinking involved as kids simple follow directions and follow the path. So kids aren't challenged to engage in any meaningful way with the app. The learning theme of waste material and recycling is covered only on a very superficial level, which makes it difficult to expect kids to learn much. Dinosaur Garbage Truck may be appealing as an easy way to distract kids and keep them occupied, but don't expect it to do much more than that.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Dinosaur Garbage Truck's themes of waste removal and recycling. What parts of the waste items can be used again? How can those materials be recycled? What happens to the parts that can't be recycled?  

  • Involve your kids in waste management in your home. Help teach them how to recognize what can be reused, what goes in recycling, and in what ways they can reduce consumption of materials.

  • If possible, arrange a visit to your local recycling center to see some of these processes in action.

App details

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