The Robot Factory by Tinybop

App review by
Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Media
The Robot Factory by Tinybop App Poster Image
Stellar sandbox tool drives kids to improve designs.

Parents say

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Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational value

Kids can learn to explore and experiment, creating robots with different body features to navigate difficult terrain. Then they test out their robots, editing them as desired. Different parts of the robots have different actions, and the movements are physics-based. As robots navigate their outdoor adventure, kids must figure out what works and what doesn't about their designs. Because the app is open-ended, kids can create, tinker, and revise endlessly. The Robot Factory by Tinybop is conceptually simple but offers many ways for kids to explore creativity and problem solving through open-ended play.

Ease of play

Though there's little instruction, this app is so intuitive that kids can dive right in, figuring it out as they go.

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism

Free of third-party ads, but kids can easily learn about the other apps made by the company, including tapping a "buy" button.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Robot Factory by Tinybop is an exploratory app for early elementary school-age kids who love to create, design, and experience free play. Though parent profiles help guide your kids, the meat of this app is where the kids design and test their robots. Kids will feel free to arrange their robot parts in any way they see fit, without judgment or value placed on them. The open-ended play may not include enough guidance for some kids, and some may look for ultimate goals, which don't exist in the game.

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What's it about?

In THE ROBOT FACTORY BY TINYBOP kids begin by naming and personalizing a profile for themselves, and then they can immediately design a robot. They choose from dozens of parts including a torso, a head, arms and legs, hands, and facial features. There are few restrictions about where to attach body parts. Using their device's microphone, kids also can record three sounds for the robot and can choose the robot's color scheme. Save the robot in the collection, and then take it out into the world to test how well the robot does on a variety of terrain. Kids then can edit their robot or create a new one, playing with them as desired.

Is it any good?

Though based on a simple concept, this app will capture and keep a kid's attention because it provides a combination of creation, free play, testing, and revision. The baked-in observation and problem solving gives The Robot Factory by Tinybop more depth than other robot-creation apps and lets kids tinker and customize with a purpose in mind. Since there can be more than one robot-building profile, and even more than one parent profile, this app offers plenty for a family of any size. Since kids also can save images of their robots, it's easy to share their creations with friends and family, which can spark discussion with friends about robot design. It's possible that some kids will look for specific goals or a way to win the game, so it might be helpful to explain the overall premise before a kid starts playing. A brief set of audio instructions might help kids catch on faster.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about which features make a good robot for different terrain, arguing the pros and cons for each feature.

  • Kids can extend their learning into the real world by drawing pictures of robots they would want to build or even by building their ideas with toys or found materials. 

App details

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