Tiny Builders - Digger, Crane and Dumper for Kids!

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Tiny Builders - Digger, Crane and Dumper for Kids! App Poster Image
Diversity stands out in construction-site sandbox.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn storytelling skills and develop creativity through age-appropriate open-ended play. They'll learn cause and effect as they see what each machine does, and they'll be empowered to control the machines and other details of their play. No reading is required, nor are any verbal language skills, so prereaders won't have trouble. Tiny Builders - Digger, Crane and Dumper for Kids! empowers preschoolers to make decisions and learn through play.

Ease of Play

On-screen hand prompts kids on what to do, but controls are sometimes unresponsive and it's hard to tell what exactly kids are controlling.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Logo ad on start page advertises other apps, including video previews. Access to the app store is protected by a parent lock code with written instructions.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tiny Builders: Digger, Crane and Dumper for Kids! is listed as Tiny Builders: Seek & Find on Android devices and costs $0.99. Kids play and explore a construction site, tapping and swiping to make the machines work. There is no verbal language as kids play, nor are there rules or objectives. Kids simply explore and play. The written instructions are available in several languages, though, and the parent section explains to parents what each machine does in the app, as well as its name and function. Kids can design their own builder avatar, customizing skin color, face and eye shape, hair style and color, and more.

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What's it about?

Kids are in charge at the virtual construction site in TINY BUILDERS - DIGGER, CRANE AND DUMPER FOR KIDS!. They can customize the characters' looks and choose the colors for the construction machines and vehicles. They'll load and unload dump trucks, drill a tunnel through a mountain, and break up ground using a jackhammer. They can mix paint colors to paint a house and search for water underground. It's not all work, though. Some workers are taking a lunch break, and if kids turn on their radio, they have a little dance party. Whatever kids do remains in the scene until they reset it or quit the app, so they can continue and build on their stories as they build the construction site.

Is it any good?

Impressive graphics and animated characters invite kids to play sandbox-style at this engaging construction site. Kids can operate the machines and customize characters: They can select clothing and shoe colors as well as face and eye shapes, hair styles and colors, skin color, and more. On-screen prompts clue kids in to how to maneuver the different machines, but beyond that, it's all open play, with kids directing as much as the app will allow. The biggest drawback is the initial lack of instruction: Kids choose from two buttons, one with a person and one with a machine. The machine takes you to the work site, but that's not entirely clear. How much a kid is controlling isn't always readily apparent, as a tap can either not do much or instigate a lot of activity, most of which can't be manipulated. Though kids can stack cubes of an apartment complex, and some activities are multi-step, it would be even better if they could actually build things and see more progress each time they play.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the people, what they're doing, and why to help kids develop verbal and creative storytelling skills.

  • Take kids on a mini-field trip to observe a construction site (from a safe distance). Then they can reenact what they saw with scenes in the app.

App details

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