My youngest tends to watch the same television shows that her older brother does (she’s constantly telling me about Marvel superheroes I’ve never even heard of) but when she’s watching by herself Doc McStuffins is on her list of favorites. It’s on my list of favorites too. There’s just something about Doc, her friends and the way they come together to solve problems that makes me smile. Miss J’s superhero loving big brother (and maybe even her two older sisters) have also been known on occasion to wander by when an episode of Doc McStuffins is on the television, only to find themselves sitting down and watching the entire thing. In other words, the show has a broad appeal at our home and Miss J and I were excited to have the chance to try out one of the official Doc McStuffin apps, Doc McStuffins: Moving with Doc.
In Moving with Doc children will help Doc’s friends, Hallie, Lamby and Stuffy, train for and compete in the Backyard Olympics. They will begin by going through some training activities. The Jump Rope, Bubble Obstacle Course and Swinging Ropes games all involve having the right timing and children will need to tap the screen in order to make the characters move or jump. Each of the training activities are a slow and steady pace so they won’t become discouraged. In the Stretch activity instead of tapping they will need to swipe their finger on the screen to make Hallie, Lambie or Stuffy complete the same stretching sequence as Doc. When they are done with the character stretches they can also use their device’s camera to reflect them doing stretches along with Doc. This is my favorite feature in Moving with Doc. Doc asks your child if she’d like to stretch with her, if they say yes then a picture frame appears on the screen next to Doc. The first time they do this the app will ask if it can access your camera. You’ll want to set the device down where it can see your child and where they can see themselves in the picture frame. Doc starts to stretch and as your child stretches with her they will see themselves in the frame. Pretty cool!
In addition to the exercise-centric activities, Moving with Doc also has a healthy eating one as well. The game is called Food Catch and here Doc explains the difference between “Go” foods (healthy) and “Slow” foods (junk). Children will then move Hallie, Lamby or Stuffy across the device screen so they can catch Go foods as they fall, all the while avoiding the Slow foods which make them move slower. The “Healthy Me Chart” is another section where they can include pictures capturing the healthy habits that they are putting into practice. They’ll be able to decorate these pictures with stickers that are unlocked as they complete the different activities.
After they have had a chance to try out the Training Section, and they’ve recorded some healthy habits, it’s time for the Backyard Olympics! Just as they did in training, children can choose to compete as Hallie, Lambie or Stuffy. When they are ready they’ll have a chance to run through the Jump Rope, Bubble Obstacles and Swinging Ropes one right after another and they’ll do it for time. Even though this introduces a more competitive feeling to the app it’s by no means stressful. Doc McStuffins: Moving with Doc is cheerful and positive at all times. Children can complete the course again and again, trying to improve on their score.
There were however, a couple areas were I felt like the app could use a small bit of tweaking. I felt that it took a little too long to load between the different activities. I have this thing about screens that say “loading”, especially in apps for kids. I don’t know what type of programming was used to develop Moving with Doc, or if this time is necessary, the pauses may be unavoidable, but the load screens make the app feel disjointed. The other thing I’d like to mention is that the games will most likely feel too slow for older preschoolers after they have played a few times, especially those children who have been playing apps for awhile. The training section is set to “level 1” and you can change that to “level 2” in the settings but it still might be too easy. Now what I do like about this is that younger children will be able to play the games and have a successful experience. It’s often hard to find games like this for the younger kiddos, I know we had plenty of frustrating experiences when Miss J was younger.
Overall I think the concept behind Moving with Doc is a great one and this is a fun way to get younger children thinking about becoming active and making healthy food choices. Children need to be up and moving but they want to play with the apps and video games. I’m all for using the tech they love to encourage healthy habits and physical activity.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this app for review purposes.