Doc McStuffins: Time for Your Check Up!

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Doc McStuffins: Time for Your Check Up! App Poster Image
Kids practice doctoring with their own stuffed animals.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational value

Kids can learn to use technology as they interact with the touch screen and use the camera. They'll also interact with realistic doctor's tools. Preschoolers can develop important pre-reading and early-language skills as they follow verbal directions, sort things where they belong, and play with made-up words for the diagnosis. Kids can choose an object to examine or take photos of their own stuffed animals. Some of the activities require kids to make decisions. Doc McStuffins: Time for Your Check Up! creates a play-centered scenario in which kids can explore what a doctor does.

Ease of play

Verbal instructions guide kids through gameplay with some example gestures. Preschoolers will pick it up easily.

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism

On the home screen, which is only accessible when you first open the app or choose to exit, kids can access the info screen, which links to the Disney website, as well as see a Disney Junior logo. The logo and links are not accessible during play.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Doc McStuffins: Time for Your Check Up! is based on the excellent Disney Jr. television show Doc McStuffins. Just as in the show, kids learn to take care of their toys and themselves. There's no blood, actual illness, or injury. The "doctor's notes" include positive messages such as "Diagnosis: Love needed! Take two hugs and one kiss!"

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What's it about?

Kids become Doc McStuffins and examine, diagnose, and treat toys (or whichever people or objects they capture with the camera) with their virtual doctor kits. Kids choose from four games. In Check Up, they examine a toy (characters from the show) using a stethoscope, otoscope, tongue depressor, x-ray, magnifying glass, or blood pressure cuff to diagnose the problem, which involves a fun, made-up, medical-sounding term such as driedout-a-tosis or no-go-atosis. They then treat the ailment by, for example, putting in new batteries or offering a drink of water. Kids can review their diagnoses in the Big Book of Boo Boos. In Mixupitis, toys parts have been scrambled up and kids have to put the parts back on the right toys. Doctor's Kit and Picture Stickers let kids use their own toys (or loved ones) as patients using the device's camera to take pictures and then examine and treat their patients using the doctor's tools. Those patients will get Doctor's Notes prescribing their treatment plans, which often involve hugs and cuddles.

Is it any good?

Combining imaginative play, technology, learning about doctoring, and the ability to take pictures of yourself or of your own toys is a pretty genius way of entertaining a preschooler. Even kids not familiar with the Doc McStuffins character can have fun playing doctor. All the instructions are delivered verbally, so preschoolers can pick up the game and play on their own right away. Transitions between steps and games are pretty slow, which is frustrating and may cause kids to tap repeatedly, trying to get any response.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Be your kid's patient, while she's playing with this app or just pretending without technology.

  • Continue the wordplay of the made-up illnesses and let your kid experiment with language, making up your own medical-like words; sticky-tosis requires a hand-washing, for example, or hunger-itisnecessitates a snack.

App details

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