A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
What's it about?
Choose your vehicle and then a "work site" to get started with TONKA: TRUCKS AROUND TOWN. Each vehicle -- fire truck, helicopter, dump truck, bulldozer, and garbage truck -- has a unique job to do in each of the four settings. For example, the dump truck picks up and drops off big loads. Driving controls at the bottom of the screen let kids move the vehicle forward and backward, and a separate button activates the vehicle's function. As kids drive, they run into missions to complete. A puzzle game lets kids put the pieces of each vehicle together as they hear relevant fun facts.
Is it any good?
This truck-themed game caters exclusively to the kind of kids who can stand, transfixed, in front of a construction site for hours on end. Little kids who love trucks will be delighted by the realistic sound effects and fun facts about truck parts, functions, and usage. Mini-missions help them pretend to use all the cool things the trucks can do, and add a bit of excitement to an otherwise pretty static drive. Yet, despite a few features unique to the digital platform (for example, sound effects, fun facts), kids may get more out of just playing with the actual trucks. And, without the passion that true truck enthusiasts bring to the app, Tonka: Trucks Around Town isn't all that interesting. Missions are repetitive and sparsely distributed, so kids spend a lot of time doing the same thing over and over or driving back and forth with no additional opportunities to interact with the app. Driver controls are not very precise, and it can be difficult to maneuver the vehicles. Placing the controls at the bottom of the screen away from the trucks themselves doesn't help. And occasionally, technical issues confuse kids as missions don't line up with what's available on the screen. In the end, it's an app that's best for little kids with trucks on the brain.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the branding aspect of Tonka: Trucks Around Town. Are they more interested in the app because it's associated with Tonka Trucks? Why or why not?
Help your kids learn more about their favorite vehicle types. Listen to the fun facts included in the app and ask them about what they learned. Help them find out more with books or videos.
Point out any construction or work vehicles you see around town. Take a few minutes to stop at a construction site and talk about what all the different machinery does.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Skills: Tech Skills: using and applying technology
- Price: Free to try
- Pricing structure: Free to try (Free download includes one truck. Make in-app purchase to buy additional trucks for $1.99 each or $4.99 for all.)
- Release date: February 13, 2019
- Category: Education
- Topics: Cars and Trucks
- Size: 542.00 MB
- Publisher: PlayDate Digital Inc.
- Version: 1.0.2
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later; Android 4.0.3 and up
- Last updated: April 12, 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.