A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Thomas & Friends Engine Activities provides kids some simple puzzles, matching games, and coloring sheets all celebrating the lovable trains. Kids can watch animated stories when they complete puzzles, and they can collect their favorite trains on the app (in-app purchases required). Puzzles, coloring activities, and matching games are divided by category and by character so kids clearly see which category they're choosing from. Given the younger age group that Thomas tends to attract, one might expect more voice instruction or verbal cues, but they're not available for all of the activities. Some instructions are only written, so kids of pre-reading age either have to know the game (which is likely since puzzles and matching are common), have someone read it to them, or figure out some parts of the app by trial and error, but none too difficult to catch onto quickly.
What's it about?
Kids tap to choose from activities organized by icon (Paint, Puzzle, or Matching) or by two character-based play packs (Thomas and Cranky) displayed in the form of train cars. Parents can each activity to Easy or Hard. Some games have verbal prompts, while others only include written directions. For most games, kids will be familiar with the basic concepts. Kids collect Thomas character cards as they play the activities and store them on a \"My Card Collection\" page.
Is it any good?
There's nothing outstandingly innovative or deeply educational about the stuff kids can do on this app. As long as you're not expecting that and if your kid is a THOMAS & FRIENDS fan, this app will be sure to entertain. Especially fun are the sweet, short animated stories that pop up as rewards when kids finish a game and the verbal clues each character gives to players in the matching game. Thomas & Friends fans who want more than just a few different trains' activity packs (Creaky and Thomas are included) will need to unlock more, which must be purchased via in-app purchases (at the time of this review, the available in-app purchase packs were $.99 each).
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles
- Price: $3.99
- Release date: May 15, 2012
- Category: Kids' Games
- Topics: Book Characters
- Size: 134.00 MB
- Publisher: Callaway Digital Arts, Inc.
- Version: 1.5
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.0 or later
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.