Vroom Vroom! If your kids are getting tired of racing their toy truck across the living room floor pretending it’s a mountainous road, treat them to a virtual experience. In fact, let them fly their own helicopter against a blue pixelated sky or extinguish a burning house using their very own fire truck. Replace pretend play with digital interactive play with the Tonka: Trucks Around Town app, from Playdate Digital.
Think of this app as an educational virtual learning experience, as it allows kids to drive and discover different parts of the town with five of the most popular Tonka vehicles. Along the way, kids will complete fun realistic challenges. Kids can choose from a dump truck, a garbage truck, a bulldozer, a helicopter, or a firetruck — each equipped with workable features. After selecting their vehicle of choice, kids can choose a work site, such as: town and country, big builds, the big dig, or the big city. There’s also a “Puzzle Time” option, where instead of completing challenges on a course, kids can assemble vehicles and learn facts about each part along the way.
Whatever kids select for their vehicle and landscape will determine the workday ahead of them. If kids chose the firetruck, they’ll be putting out fires all day. If they chose the dump truck, they’ll be driving around picking up objects and delivering them to different locations. The best part of the game is kids get to control their vehicle using a gear shift on screen. TBH, it’s not as easy as it looks. Pro Tip: Don’t lose control of your gear shift going down a hill — even licensed drivers may struggle driving a virtual garbage truck.
At first, the challenges start out pretty tame. But as kids continue on with their workday, things get more intense, similar to levels in a video game. Throughout the game, kids will follow instructions that pop up on the screen as they play, making the game very self-explanatory.
The landscapes and conditions featured in the app are wildly realistic. Drive up a steep hill and kids will really have to push it to the medal on screen. Also, if kids are driving a dump truck, they have to be extra careful riding up a hill as their cargo might topple out (the fun part is then driving around town to find it)! Kids will also experience the difficulties of having a bad weather day or trekking through a muddy road. Fingers crossed it doesn’t snow while on route!
While there is no way to win in this game, the challenges give kids an inside look at a day in-the-life of a firefighter, a construction worker, and a helicopter pilot! While kids don’t have to exert physical labor, the app teaches them the feeling of a job done well. I was pretty happy when I located the cargo I lost on route, and then safely delivered it to the airport. Also, when I learned how to properly use my brakes.
Tonka: Trucks Around Town is $3.99 in the App Store and the Google Play Store. Will your kids be taking a ride around town with Tonka?