Planes, Trucks, Trains, and Boats

Planes, Trucks, Trains, and Boats

It seems like my young boy has an unlimited capacity for enjoying transportation vehicles, whether they are going on the road, sea, or air. Actually, when he was 1 year old, I remember the best way to cheer him up was to show him trucks, buses, and an occasional plane from the living room window. Having said that, I got really excited when I’ve learned Byron Barton’s books would be imported as an iPad app for toddlers. I knew beforehand it would probably have a high-acceptance-probability with my sticky fingered boy.

There are 4 apps based on the same platform: Planes, Trucks, Trains, and Boats, and all have the same principle. Each book is basically a dynamic interpretation of the original paper book for toddlers. For example, a train would travel on the rails and go into a tunnel, a boat can be drug over the water, or the bread truck guy would deliver bread.

It’s apparent that the app usability was designed for toddler capabilities. However, there were several shortcomings which were clearly visible when observing a trigger happy 2.5 year old kid use the app. The orange arrows, which are used to move from one page to another, were sometimes “abused“ and clicked in a series of bursts, thus flipping the book from one page to another without stopping to “smell the flowers” on many of them. The home button on the bottom center of each page was also clicked accidentally numerous times, ejecting the surprised toddler to the introduction screen.

What happened when the kids used it?
Kids younger than 3 needed the help of a parent to start. Once started, the boys had a hoot with each one of the apps. Younger kids had problems dragging the vehicles and elements but it wasn’t a deal breaker for them. Toddler app developers: we recommend using tapping triggers when aiming for toddlers. Many kids under the age of 3 do not know how to drag elements!

A 2.5 year old toddler managed to negotiate his way pretty well with the exclusion of some unpleasant run in’s with the navigation elements.

Some scenes were more mesmerizing than others: The train coming out of a tunnel, the garbage truck doing its business and people going on a cruise ship (I guess the kids are not up to date with this past year’s news).

Some disappointments were registered when a child clicked on the traffic light but the light didn’t change. Clicking on the door of the house didn’t open it as well, which delivered thumbs down from the tot.

The 4 Byron Barton’s apps are certain to be a hit with most boys. It is certainly a better experience than the book because the child gets a visualized example of the vehicle movement and actions. The navigation could be better and the drag of elements was not an idle interaction solution. Nevertheless, this app will be a sure hit in your household if you have vehicle-loving-kids on board. BTA Score: 4/5

App Details:

This app received the "Top 10 App for Toddlers" Award

Ages: 2½ – 4 (1½ with Parental guidance)
Price: $1.99 per app
App name: Byron Barton
Released by: Oceanhouse Media
Platform: iPad / iPhone
Download at the App Store:

Download app from iTunes

Download app from iTunes

Download app from iTunes

Download app from iTunes

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