Dinosaur Train A to Z
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dinosaur Train A to Z packs lots of information and some characters from the PBS Kids show Dinosaur Train into an interactive dinosaur encyclopedia. The app comes with 26 dinosaurs, one for each letter of the alphabet, and additional 10-packs of dinosaurs are $0.99 each via in-app purchase. Kids can choose a dinosaur by selecting the letter on a train car, or they can search by trait (or multiple traits) based on diet, body, and time period. They also can play with the alphabet, dragging letters onto a scene. Mr. Conductor narrates -- which fans of the show will appreciate -- but pteranodon and T. rex are not included in the basic pack, and fans of the show will miss them.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
Thinking & Reasoning
- collecting data
- using and applying technology
Engagement, Approach, Support
This is an information-driven app, and, although it's interactive, kids' engagement will come from their interest in the dinosaurs, and the app may not hold the interest of kids who aren't dino-obsessed. Overall, it's just not as engaging as the TV show.
The scientific concepts of classifying can transfer to other areas, and the vocabulary is useful in other scientific studies. With direction, kids can practice spelling words or their names in the letters section.
Extensions are available for additional purchase. Kids can star favorite dinosaurs for easier reference.
What's it about?
Music and characters from the PBS show lead kids on the Dinosaur Train, where they can explore dinosaur facts. They can search dinosaurs on the train by letter or in the dinosaur section by classification. They're classified by the food they eat, their legs, and the period in which they lived. Kids choose a dinosaur, hear facts about it, see an X-ray of it, and feed it. Kids can mark a favorite dino with a star to easily find it again. In the letters section, kids drag uppercase letters onto a rock, hearing the letter's name as they drag it.
Is it any good?
DINOSAUR TRAIN A TO Z is a must-have for dinosaur-obsessed kids. They'll get to learn facts about 26 dinosaurs and play around with them. Budding scientists will get a kick out of searching by categories. Kids who are looking for more game-like fun or characters from the show may be disappointed. This is a pretty scientific app with information and vocabulary geared for older kids but presented in small enough chunks that preschoolers will grasp some of it. Since only 26 dinos are included, kids may not find their favorites included (there's no T. rex), which may lead to requests to buy more dino packs. The letters section is a fun way to explore uppercase letters (but note that it's open exploration with no direction or phonics). Kids drag any letter and hear the letter's name.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how the app complements the Dinosaur Train TV show. Look up dinosaurs featured on that day's episode in the app.
Help young preschoolers understand that they can feed the dino (in the food section) or hear its sound (in that section).
Play around with selecting classifications of dinosaurs to study one period or type at a time.