Bottom Line: An appealing hodge-podge of familiar toddler activities centered on a blue jeans clad bunny's farm. It's definitely not lacking in energy and worth a look if pretend farming is of interest.
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Happy Little Farmer is the latest toddler friendly app in developer GiggleUp Kids App and Educational Games' growing collection of preschool entertainment. You may experience a sense of deja vu playing it because you probably already have in one way or another if you own a number of other toddler apps. This rendition of "How Does Your Garden Grow" gives little children the chance to select a crop, hoe the fields, plant seeds, water and finally harvest their bounty.
Kids can move through the activities at their own pace. There is plenty of bouncy background music comprised of popular nursery rhymes and sound effects but no verbal directions. Because the activities are common fare in kids' apps, figuring out what to do should pose no problem for most users. Star showers rain down when an activity is finished, and if Farmer Bunny successfully brings in a crop, kids get a sticker marking the achievement.
There are a total of 12 crops to plant and care for including: bell peppers, carrots, eggplant, peas, tomatoes, strawberries, grapes, blueberries and wheat. Climate is apparently not a factor at this amazingly fertile enterprise. Each food is grown a bit differently so the steps vary each time through. Farmer Bunny has some nice high tech equipment including an irrigating helicopter. It looks like a John Deere showroom with all the shiny tractors, threshers and backhoes. Some activities are carried out by swiping while others require tapping, pinching or shaking the device.
Many cute animations are worked into the forty acres. A wily fox tries to steal from the garden and sheep turn flips. The sun rises and sets to mark time passing for the growing season. A number of useful skills are cleverly built into the app. Sorting takes many forms as crops have to be put in the correct bushel and debris into the right recycling bin. Even manual dexterity gets tested with the introduction of some squeezable pruning shears (right-handed only).The learn by play factor is high and rather well done.
If planting isn't enough to keep a toddler occupied, he can concentrate his efforts on finding the fifteen Easter eggs hidden on the farm; whacking moles or feeding a friendly blue monster. And, just to make sure no toddler activity is left out of the mix, kids can help decorate the farmhouse by moving around furniture and the treasures from the eggs. Farmer Bunny even has a robot in his living room.
Future farmers can move through the app crop by crop or utilize the carrot in the corner to navigate to preferred activities. The variety of digging and planting places to which little ones can navigate is matched only by the astonishing number of external links at their fingertips. Settings have Twitter and Facebook icons and the nice big More button goes straight to the iTunes Store. These decidedly un-kid-friendly diversions need passcode protection or better yet removal. The wonderful ability to play with the app relatively unsupervised is compromised by this oversight.
As far as farm apps go, Happy Little Farmer is a good one. It's not terribly original, but it offers a lot of entertainment for the money and you won't be scraping dirt from under your babies' fingernails with this activity. It's digital dirt only.
Jill Goodman lives on what once was an orange grove and enjoys strawberry picking with her twin boys. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.