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$2.99 at time of review
Video Review:

Dino Tales – literacy skills through creative play

Age Level: Ages 5-8, Ages 8-12
By Developer: Kuato Games

Dino Tales is an app full of abundant learning experiences, stunning 3D graphics and a brilliant sound track, all bundled up in a gamelike learning adventure. From the cracking of your dinosaur egg, naming it, and setting it out on a journey with a specific task, kids follow guided instructions, such as finding the volcano and sliding down the lava flow, all the while taking their dinosaur around an island engaging in activities of choice, collecting fossils, bugs and more. There are 6 different types of dinosaur eggs to crack open, allowing your child to explore the island. The game allows for each dinosaur to be given a name of choice as well as the ability to color and decorate as desired.

During each adventure a storybook is created, which is available at the end of the tasks (or accessible any time from the home page). On each page of the storybook there are specific, highlighted, verbs and adjectives, that can be changed to another word by tapping it and selecting other choices. So, instead of your story saying, “she hunted for something to eat”, you can change the word hunted to: begged, dug, searched, or scavenged. The whole point in having this option is to encourage improvement in reading, writing and vocabulary, not to mention overall literacy. Note that when engaged in a task, you can stop the game at any point and your actions will be saved up to that point, all in storybook form. Exiting out early simply takes your dinosaur to bed and ends the story from that point.

While moving around the island you can collect the bugs, fossils and gems. Collecting any of these leads to achievement awards. Collecting all the items in each category allows you to unlock a treasure trove, which gives more information on your collected items.

You will find a picture of a dinosaur on the lower right corner of the game. Tapping on this allows you to ask Darwin (a dinosaur) questions via a question builder. You build your questions with a word wheel made up of 6 different sections. The first wheel selections are: Who, Where, When, Why, Which, How and What type questions. When one of these is selected you then go to the next wheel, which allows for grammatically correct choices for your next word. So, if you chose “What”, you would be given words to select from on the second wheels such as: Are, Can, Did, Do, etc.. Following this are up to 4 more wheels that narrow down a multitude of possible question about dinosaurs, fossils and other prehistoric topics. Once your question is complete, Darwin chimes in with an answer.

Before your kids play, I highly recommend parents visit the Parent Corner, which has several pages of information on how to play the game and all it provides, as well as the ability to specify the level and length of play for the child. You can also opt to receive email notifications when your child has completed a tale, allowing you to sit down and read it with them.

The app is created for kids from 4-10. I did find that the controls to send your animal about can be a bit tricky. Due to this, the app might be better for the older range than younger.

Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Features

  • Hatch 7 baby dinosaurs to play with and nurture
  • Discover an island teeming with prehistoric wildlife
  • Use the Word Wheels to ask Darwin, the talking dino, questions you have about dinosaurs
  • Explore an epic land filled with caves, forests, rivers and even an erupting volcano
  • Enjoy the musical boneyard, river rapids, boulder bowling, lava slides and more
  • Unleash your creativity with the Berry Blaster to make your dinos stand out from the rest!
  • Fill a Storybook with your own adventure Tales, to be personalized and read with others
  • Collect loads of fossils and minerals to add to your Treasure Trove
  • Set your child’s reading age to personalize the game to their reading skill
  • Receive email notifications when your child has created a new Tale for you to read together
  • Get help and advice about playing the game with your child

Video Review