Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is one of the few shows we actually let our toddler watch. It’s the direct heir to Mister Roger’s Neighborhood featuring all the characters from the Land of Make Believe with plenty of educational programming. Explore Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is the perfect extension of the show to mobile devices.
Right out of the gate, it became clear the Explore Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is not like any of the other educational apps or games we’ve tried out. The app does not try to teach a specific thing–letters, numbers, etc. Nor does the app have a specific linear progression like a story game. The point of Explore Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is to allow children completely free play with the characters they know from the show while also reinforcing some of the show’s lessons (like using the potty when you feel you need to.)
I have to admit this new type of app was completely foreign to me as an adult used to playing games, and I actually didn’t like it very much. I’m very goal driven, so I was initially getting frustrated when I couldn’t figure out what we were supposed to be doing. My son, however, had absolutely no problem whatsoever figuring out what to do–fun, creative play!
There are four places you can visit in the game–the doctor’s office, the bakery, the grocery store, and the music store. Each location follows a similar pattern as well. There is a character from the show in the location that can be interacted with by giving them items from the environment (sort of like digital paper dolls), plenty of goodies to interact with directly (like putting groceries in the shopping cart and wheeling it around, and a special interactive item for your child.
My son immediately started playing with the characters and the objects in the environment, making up his own games and stories as he went. Watching him be creative and come up with his own way of using the tools available to him was amazing and a very proud moment for me. And, once again, I got to learn a lesson about gaming from my son.
If you value free play for your child and want to also give them a very educational and worthwhile digital experience, take a visit to Daniel’s neighborhood with Explore Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
Note: I was given a review copy of the game but all thoughts and opinions above are my own.