Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review: Dr PetPlay - Pretend Play Veterinarian With Your Own Stuffed Animals


Purpose of App: Kids get to play veterinarian to their stuffed animals and record how the animal is feeling

Strengths: Each animal has a category specific to common vital signs. Kids add their own pictures. Promotes free play and hands on interaction in conjunction with the iPad.

Weaknesses: No space to record symptoms. No way to add different categories or provide "other" category for animal types not listed

Suggested Audience: Children working on imaginative play as well as any working towards being more comfortable knowing what to expect at a check up. Any child who loves playing doctor.

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Star Rating Breakdown
Meets Intended Goal:  
Worth the Price:           
Ease of Use:                 
Educational Value:       
Level of Customization:

If you would like to download Dr PetPlay - Pretend Play Veterinarian With Your Own Stuffed Animals ($1.99, iPad only), please show your support by using our link:

Full version, $1.99             FREE Lite Version

** Please note, Rachel used the Full, $1.99 version in this review, so all features discussed my not be available in the Lite version**

Link to rate app behind parent locked section. No web access.

Kids have been playing doctor on their stuffed animals for generations. Dr. PetPlay brings the game of stuffed-animal-doctor to the 21st century. Kids play as veterinarians and record the checkup on their tablet, just like at big hospitals.  Many kids with special needs find themselves in and out of doctors' offices. Dr. PetPlay allows children to get to play the role of doctor, instead of being the patient.

This app allows children to create personalized patient files for each of their stuffed animals. When creating a new patient file, children can choose from ten different animal categories. What animal the child chooses specifies what the x-ray will look like as well as common heart rate and weight for that animal. For a dinosaur the weight ranges from 5,000 to 66,000 pounds, while a bunny's weight can be set between one and 6 pounds.

The ability to classify stuffed animals into categories is a great skill set for young children to learn. After assigning a toy into an animal group, the child can look at all of their toys which belong to that group.

I love that kids categorize their patients into the different animal groupings. However, it gets confusing when they have an animal that doesn't fit into one of the pre-designed categories. My son wanted to give his toy snake and fish a checkup, but he couldn't figure out what group they belong to. My daughter was also disappointed she couldn't include her baby dolls, although I did explain this app was about pets.

Possibly having a choice of "Other" could help. I understand this would be difficult as far as the x-ray diagram would go. At least children would be able to include a beloved toy and take health information even if there wasn't an x-ray available or just a generic human x-ray.

Once the profile is created, children can add a picture with the iPad camera. For privacy, it does not access or save any pictures to the iPad photos. I really appreciate this as I get tired of having to delete hundreds of in-app photos my kids take. My kids loved posing their stuffed animals and our real dogs for the picture.

Dr Petplay encourages children to use the iPad as an addition to play. Kids play the app while interacting with their real toys.  I like that this app adds an extra layer to the children's play without having to stare at the screen the whole time. There are not many apps that allow children to expand their creativity while playing with their own toys. This could help children with social delays play with other children. My son with Aspergers takes turns with a friend, one plays vet while the other brings in a patient. The app helps him come up with questions to ask the other little boy and promote conversation about each of the sections.

This is a great app, however, for the $1.99, I would like a little more content. It would be nice if children could add in notes. A written area would be nice and if possible a sound recording option for younger children who cannot type or write sentences yet. Adding in a treatment section could be fun for the children. Much like the check boxes for Nose, Ears, Mouth and Eyes, there could be check boxes for treatment options. Something along the lines of Medicine Needed, Rest, a Hug, or Cold Pack.

The different profiles can be deleted from the app, but they are unable to be moved or organized. If a child has five monkeys listed, they are unable to view their profiles other than creation date. Allowing the children to rearrange the charts could open the door to many other skill sets, such as alphabetizing by name and sorting by color or size.

Dr PetPlay is a free play concept in that children can do what they want, when they want, and repeat the same thing as many times as they want. Children do not need to go in any certain order. This opens up many avenues for imagination. If a child is obsessed with collecting monkeys, they can fill up the app with monkeys and nothing else.

Any child who likes to play doctor, vet, or with stuffed animals will enjoy this fun little app. The flexibility allows kids to open their imaginations while cultivating their imagination. Although there are some areas in which the app could improve, it is a lot of fun and worth trying out.

From iTunes:

Pretend you’re the doctor and give your very own stuffed animals a checkup! 
Any place you like to play can become an animal care clinic. 
Invite your friends and family to join the fun.

Please watch the Dr. PetPlay video:

• No in-app purchases
• No social media access
• No web access
• No third-party advertising 
• No access to the camera role or sharing of data.  Everything stays within the app.

• Dog
• Cat
• Bear
• Monkey
• Tyrannosaurus Rex
• Brontosaurus (Apatosaurus)
• Bird
• Rabbit
• Horse
• Elephant

Take a photo of your patient to create a personal medical record, type in their name and choose their birthdate and weight.

Observe, think and talk about how the patient is feeling and how you can help.

See your patient's realistic looking x-ray and zoom in to carefully check their bones. Make notes and draw on the x-ray on an any area you feel that needs care. Check the temperature range and heart beat of your animal. Take turns being the doctor, checking in patients, being a caregiver, or any other role you would like to be. Give all of your stuffed animals a checkup and save all of their patient records within the app or create a new one any time.

Dream up and make props to use!

• Veterinarian
• Zoo
• Animal Hospital 
• Pet Store
• Animal Adoption Center
• Any way that you can imagine

Dr. PetPlay was handmade for you by Pretendasaurus, LLC in Portland, Oregon. As parents, we are dedicated to creating fun pretend play apps that empower children and embrace their favorite ways to play. 

Rachel H's son lined up his animals and created a waiting room as he treated each one. He also added in files for their two real dogs.

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