A new App favorite for the iPad: Chuggington: Terrific Trainee!

Chuggington: Terrific Trainee! Is a fun and easy-to-use iPad app for our little pre-school Choo-Choo aficionados. Elijah, my nearly four-year old all-things-trains expert was thrilled from the launch icon onwards. “Trains!” he exclaimed and tapped the app before we were even seated with the iPad safely balanced on our legs. The app launches with a catchy tune and the choice between ‘easy’ or ‘hard’ and again, I didn’t even get the chance to guide his choice. He went with ‘easy’ because it was blue.

Now the big choices…do we ride the rails with Wilson, Brewster, Koko or Action Chugger? Eventually we ride them all on challenging missions! Elijah keeps sneaking in ‘one more round’ because he wants to ride all the trains. Each train takes you along the rails at a brisk pace and you have to have to tap traffic cones so the engines can jump them or drag your finger between rails lines so they can change rails and avoid obstacles. Each engine has it own unique animation and responds humorously to bumping and jumping the cones which amuses Elijah immensely.

Chuggington: Terrific Trainee! Is an ideal app for a pre-schooler who has used the iPad for basic pre-school games, has experience with the touch paradigm and is ready to get more anticipation and adventure in his game experience. I was surprised and thrilled to see that Elijah responded to the brisk pace with focus and giggles, following Vee’s (the games narrator!) encouraging instructions on how to proceed. The app offers a few activities which are fun to repeat as well as a ‘hard’ more advance level. Elijah was able to figure out what needed to be done and catch on quickly. Pressing, dragging, tapping actions are increasingly used as the activities unfold: honking horns, opening cargo doors and loading the special delivery car, collecting pick-ups and revealing each of your badges. The game remembers your scores and awards you a badge for each mission which then unlocks new adventures. The check marks and badges gave him a clear indication of accomplishment which he responded to.

In short, as a mom with a train-crazed boy, I like this app for the Chuggington characters but more so for the fine motor skill development and visual tracking skills development. I especially like the clear achievement indicators which encourage a health pursuit for improvement against ones own best and the silly animation which evokes the giggles and surprised expressions I relish sharing with Elijah during our shared play.

In one week's time this App has made it to the Request-by-Name Apps that Elijah asks to play...it is a short list. This boy knows his mind, he loves his trains and adores this App.  If you know someone with a three to five year old boy and iPad, send them an iTunes gift of this App (all you need is their email address and your own iTunes account) for less than the cost of your latte or espresso shot.

The launch price for Chuggington: Terrific Trainee! is $1.99 (iPhone) and $2.99 (iPad) at the App Store.