Bottom line: A creative and engaging app for youngsters 2-6, in which they can tear down, build, fix, and create a number of real life items without getting their heads bonked or thumbs smashed under hammers. Exactly what we've come to expect from the folks at TribePlay.
If you'd like to download Dr. Panda's Handyman ($1.99 iPad/iPhone; special 33 percent off introductory price for a limted time), use this sweet button:
Do you know what I did today? Hung a picture for a family of monkeys, laid some tile for a family of elephants, built a bunk bed for a giraffe, and high-fived a panda. And that was all before lunch. The good people at TribePlay aren't strangers to the Apple app market, and Dr. Panda himself is a welcome face on the SAFK site. With a host of other outstanding apps to his credit, Dr. Panda doesn't disappoint in his newest career path as a handyman.
This app, ideal for ages 2-6, introduces tiny fingers to breaking down, building, fixing, and even decorating to their heart's content, with no mess and no ouchies! Dr. Panda's Handyman has a simple job — go to each room of this animal-filled home and help each family who lives there. Each job is different, and requires different skills from your kiddo. Sometimes he's helping Handyman assemble and clean a fishtank, and others he is fixing a gaping hole in the wall. Whatever the task, your kiddo uses a varitey of tools and skills in order to get the job done.
While there is no replacement for experiencing things firsthand, I was impressed at how real-to-life some of these fix-it projects are. For example, in assembling a lamp, your sweetie doesn't just turn it on and everything is fine — she must first put in a lightbulb, then the shade, then turn it on with a switch. The same goes for hanging a picture — your kid has to drill a hole, put in a screw, turn the screw, then hang the picture on the screw *just so* — otherwise it doesn't stay. Again, don't get me wrong, hands-on is always the best teacher, but I appreciated how detailed the app was in showing kiddos the process — it doesn't just magically happen. (Which was a huge disappointment to me when I first lived on my own).
The graphics and sound in this app live up to true Dr. Panda quality. And while the app is called "Handyman," there is no gender bias here. Fixing, painting, and building is made equally fun for all kiddos! A variety of tools is used in each job, which promotes a lot of vocabulary building, which I'm pretty into. The concept of starting and finishing a task are sneakily encouraged, and the idea of doing a job to help others is pretty evident. I like that!
The tasks in each room stay the same throughout the app, but the animal families bounce from room to room, so the Polar Bear family may be in the bathroom one round, but in the bedroom the next. Tasks are all very real to life and could/would/have happened to any of us at one time or another. Also, the tasks are just easy enough for tiny fingers to accomplish, but not insultingly so. They also have a little depth, which is nice — after your love bug fixes the broken legs on a table, he gets to mix up some paints and color it to his liking! (It even stays that color in the picture when he's done — how cool is that!?)
If active hands are happenin' in your house, then you need to pay Dr. Panda's Handyman a visit on the App Store. His to-do list is never-ending, and frankly just too much for a panda to handle. Let your tot be his sidekick, and together they'll have the job done in no time.
Rachel owns a hammer and a couple screwdrivers. She knows how to use them all pretty well thanks to her handy father. SmartAppsForKids.com was paid a priority review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.