Grandpa's Workshop

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Grandpa's Workshop App Poster Image
Good basic math games with sweet theme lack coherence.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn and practice basic early math skills such as counting, numbers, measuring, fractions, and observation. Kids don't get penalized for wrong answers; instead they simply keep trying until they make the right choice. The games also introduce a good number of tool and building vocabulary words (level, wrench, and so on) and show some building techniques (for example, cutting a board with a jigsaw). Even though the activities feel disjointed and unrelated to each other, kids will get practice and exposure to building vocabulary and working with numbers.

Ease of Play

Interaction is easy and straightforward. Instructions are presented visually on the screen and said out loud. Kids need to tap, swipe, and drag.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Additional apps from the same developer are available for purchase behind a parents-only lock.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids enter Grandpa's Workshop to help Grandpa build things. Kids measure, paint, divide boards, hand over the right tool or number of screws, and more, all while practicing some basic math skills. Kids also can see a few live-action videos of some building techniques. In the settings area, parents can choose which activity type to include or exclude. There are a limited number of games, though, so kids will repeat the same activities over and over again. The games continue to cycle with no natural break points.

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What's it about?

In seven activities, kids count, measure, paint, cut boards, identify tools, and put puzzle pieces together. Games appear in random order and continue cycling through until kids exit. Every few games, kids watch a live-action video of something related to building (for example, laying bricks or using a level or a jigsaw) or choose an element to add to their personalized clubhouse. Grandpa is always available for gentle encouragement and sometimes gives helpful hints.

Is it any good?

Kids naturally love helping grown-ups do grown-up things, and the relationship kids have with grandparents is often something special. So getting kids working with (virtual and pretend) grandparents is a great idea. The simple games and clean graphics and design make play easily accessible. Grandpa is sweet and gives lots of gentle encouragement; kids will enjoy giving him high-fives. The games focus on a few important early math themes, but randomly cycling through them, without any coherent connection from one task to the next, makes the whole experience feel frantic and disjointed. Tying all the activities together in a sensible way and having kids build, say, a bookcase would add some coherence. A few more features would also really improve usability, such as natural endings to play cycles or the ability to save a finished clubhouse or see its progress as it's being built. Overall, GRANDPA'S WORKSHOP is a fun game with a really sweet theme that could use some tweaking to make it really over the top.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what they can build or repair and what materials they can use (blocks, paper, and so on).

  • Continue counting, identifying, and talking about numbers and quantities in everyday interactions.    

  • Build something together, from a cardboard castle to a wooden tree house, involving kids as much as possible.

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love building apps and apps for young kids

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