App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings is a new PBS KIDS app that includes four sections, each allowing children to explore emotions in different ways.
The Trolley Game is a board game with gameplay that children will find familiar. While moving pieces around the game board, interactive mini-games will also be accessed that ask the player to possibly help Daniel Tiger do chores around the house like match socks, get over the disappointment of a rainy day, or deal with the frustration of losing a favorite toy. Because more than a dozen mini-games exist, there is a nice sense of randomness and therefore excitement for children as a new game is discovered at every trolley stop. I also appreciate the need to navigate around the maze-like train tracks that make up the game board - a nice touch that aids spatial awareness.
Sing-Along with Daniel includes 18 Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood songs, which I found thoughtfully written and illustrated, including some nice ways for young children to cope with feelings such as frustration or jealousy - complex emotions that go beyond simply happy or sad, which I appreciate. Positive feelings are also touched upon, such as “Love,” here about the love of a new baby in the family - a song I found especially touching - as well as the song "Reassured," that lets kids know their adults are always coming back to them, which is also quite charming. Children will find these tunes catchy to be sure, and this may lead to singing along with some of the more memorable catch phrases, but do note that these tunes are not karaoke-style and exist within this app without included lyrics - elements I do not miss in an app for toddlers and preschool-aged children, but I point this out as I find the idea of this section being called a “sing-along” a little misleading.
Feelings Photo Booth uses the forward-facing camera of one’s iPad to allow children to make faces that correspond to the expressions they can choose for Daniel Tiger - an especially nice section for children with special needs for whom understanding the nuances of different emotions may be difficult and worth practicing. A Drawing Easel is also included that allows one to draw pictures with a selection of marker, paint brush, or crayon points and colors as well as stickers, including characters from this app demonstrating different emotions along with the use of the camera feature to create custom backgrounds. Previous drawings are saved within a gallery, but it would have been nice to go back to a picture and continue coloring if one wanted to.
I enjoy how Daniel Tiger introduces these sections personally, making eye contact with the user as well as narrating this app in a way children will find engaging. Parents will find this app useful with typically developed children who could use helpful hints on how to deal with the sometimes difficult emotions of being a toddler or during the preschool years, but also for those with special needs who may need extra help in deciphering facial expressions.
As with the other Daniel Tiger apps, Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings is cute and colorful, but I would like to see the size of this app compressed if possible, because its large size may take up considerable room on one’s iPad. This aside, I have enjoyed testing Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings.