Dr. Panda Toy Cars

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Dr. Panda Toy Cars App Poster Image
Kids run the city, learn about community heroes in fun way.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about community heroes, like police officers, firefighters, and other emergency workers as they role play those jobs, helping people in the community. Kids learn through play, and Dr. Panda's Toy Cars gives kids an open-play environment to practice different roles, see cause and effect, and explore different parts of a community. Through play, kids pick up literacy skills, social skills, and critical-thinking skills as they try out different scenarios. Dr. Panda's Toy Cars helps kids learn about community heroes through role-play, which is a great way for young kids to learn.

Ease of Play

Kids use their finger to move the different vehicles around the town, just as they would playing cars in real life. There are no penalties, just free play.

Violence & Scariness

A burglar wears a mask and carries a bag of money around town, and the police officer must catch him. The officer knocks the burglar down. There's also a house fire that the firefighters put out, and a little girl falls off her bike and needs an ambulance ride to the hospital. It's all pretty non-threatening.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

A logo ad for other apps shows on the start screen by default but can be disabled in the parent's section.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dr. Panda's Toy Cars puts kids in control of a whole city of vehicles -- cars, trucks, and emergency vehicles. They'll drive around the city taking care of things like putting out fires, loading boxes for work, and helping people. It's designed for toddlers and preschoolers, so there's no doom if the fire isn't put out or the burglar gets away. Kids have more freedom to explore the open-play environment than they do in other Dr. Panda games, but the missions are still communicated through the image thought bubbles that are easy for preschoolers to understand. 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.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

Kids drive different vehicles around the city, keeping things running smoothly. They can drive the ambulance to pick up an injured girl and take her to the hospital. They can chase a burglar in the police car, arrest him, and take him to jail. They can drive the fire truck to put out a house fire. Parents and kids can play together, too, moving more than one vehicle at a time. The screen is laid out like a city play mat, and kids can choose between two settings -- one in spring and one in snowy winter.

Is it any good?

DR. PANDA'S TOY CARS takes the classic kid pastime -- playing cars -- and updates it beautifully for the tablet. Kids are still free to explore and play however they want, but there are interactive options to add some fun. Emergency vehicles and community heroes are usually high-interest for preschoolers, so getting to put out fires and catch the bad guys is super fun. The vehicles and buildings in the two scenes are pretty much the same, and more variety between the two (besides the snow) would be nice. A garbage truck would probably be a huge hit. The scenes are large, so there's lots to explore, but finding certain vehicles can be tricky at times with so much to scroll around. Preschoolers will have fun running their city, and it's versatile enough that they can play alone or side-by-side with a parent.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Extend the role-play fun with dress-up pieces like firefighter hats, police hats and badges, and doctor coats. 

  • Get out the wooden blocks and toy cars and work together with kids to create your own village. Let kids pull in other role-play toys to add to the community -- play food could be used in a restaurant; small dolls could make up a class at school.

  • As kids encounter the police officers, firefighters, and ambulance, explain to them how to call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

App details

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