This is my car - Mechanics for kids

 

Learning(i)

Hands-on, info-packed app with only a couple of flaws.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The text and gestures aren't consistent throughout the sections. Some text is read-aloud; other text just appears on-screen. Some activities require swipe gestures, some a tap-and-hold, and others only a tap.

Violence & scariness

A crash-test simulation shows a crash-test dummy in a car crash.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

The short and sweet privacy policy is available online. No personal or nonpersonal data is collected.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that This is my car - Mechanics for kids uses a cartoon format and kids' voices to teach kids about car mechanics. Kids scroll across the screen, as if they were driving from one activity to the next, reading about or hearing about different parts of cars, mechanics, and safety. Though the cartoon-like format will appeal to the littlest car lovers, the vocabulary and information is advanced enough for older kids to learn from as well. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • vocabulary

Science

  • engineering

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • collecting data
  • thinking critically

Self-Direction

  • personal growth

Responsibility & Ethics

  • making wise decisions

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Hands-on activities, especially those that mimic what they see adults doing, are fun for kids to complete. Kids can touch and do in a safe, simulated situation.

Learning Approach

Kids are empowered -- put in the driver's seat, so to speak -- to explore the inside and outside of the car, seeing how it works and how to maintain it. They'll learn the authentic vocabulary of mechanics as they explore.

Support

Kids collect photos as they complete activities, eventually earning a driver's license. There's no help available as the intention is for kids to tap and explore, but some tasks could use a bit of guidance about the gesture kids should use.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • vocabulary

Science

  • engineering

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • collecting data
  • thinking critically

Self-Direction

  • personal growth

Responsibility & Ethics

  • making wise decisions

Kids can learn the basics of car mechanics and car maintenance. They'll learn about cars from the inside out, learning the names and functions of the parts of the car -- from the engine compartment and what it contains to safety features such as air bags, seat belts, and safety glass. Some components are only named whereas others can be tapped for more information. Kids will practice car care hands-on, putting in gas, filling the tires, washing the car, and changing a tire. This is my car - Mechanics for kids is a fun, mini mechanics course designed just for kids.

This Learning Rating review was written by Amanda Bindel

What's it about?

In THIS IS MY CAR - MECHANICS FOR KIDS, kids start by choosing their favorite car from a sports car, sedan, hatchback, and SUV. Then they paint and decorate it; learn how the engine, steering, and wheels work; fill it with gasoline, oil, and washer fluid; wash it; change and air the tires; and learn about safety. The information is presented through interactive features and hands-on activities. After kids complete activities, they earn a picture that's saved to their gallery. Once they've earned 20 pictures, they get their driver's license.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There's enough information included that even some adults may learn a bit about how cars work. The material is presented in a fun, hands-on way that doesn't talk down to kids, but a few hiccups prevent it from being a top performer. First, kids have to earn 20 pictures to get their driver's license. That means they have to go through all the material included twice before earning their license. Although the activities are fun and the material is interesting, it'd be nice if kids got that reward after one time through the content.

Second, the cartoon illustration and car topic will appeal to preschoolers, but some text is only written and not read aloud. Most preschoolers would need the material read aloud to them. Some of the gestures and controls are awkward, especially for little hands. Successfully changing a tire can take several attempts (though perhaps that's intentional preparation for the real activity). Even with the flaws, This is my car - Mechanics for kids is drive-able without a recall, especially for kids interested in cars and mechanics.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what they do to maintain their vehicles and let kids help out washing the car, checking tire pressure, or checking oil.

  • If you're planning a road trip, spend some time using the app with your kid and talking about the real-life things you're doing to get your car ready before you hit the road.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:$2.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:August 22, 2014
Category:Education
Topics:Cars and trucks
Size:93.80 MB
Publisher:urbn; pockets
Version:1.0.12
Minimum software requirements:iOS 7.1 or later

This review of This is my car - Mechanics for kids was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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