Bottom Line: Doc McStuffins: Moving with Doc is an adorable app featuring Disney Jr.'s Doc McStuffins, who encourages kids to eat healthy and stay active. Strikes a good balance between screen time and promoting activities that will make kids ages 3-7 get off the couch.
If you'd like to download Doc McStuffins: Moving with Doc (iPad only, $4.99), please use this link so they'll know who sent you:
External links to the Disney Jr. website, to gift the app and to other Disney Jr. apps in the App Store are hidden behind a parental lock. There's also a verbal warning from Doc that "this part is for grown-ups."
We're big fans of Doc McStuffins at our house. A fairly recent addition to the Disney Jr. television line- up, Doc is a little girl with a magic stethoscope that brings her toys to life. Along with Lambie, Stuffy and Hallie, her three fave toys, she doctors other toys, diagnosing everything from "no-vroom-vroom-otosis" to "gunk-inside-itude." Along the way she gets in some good messages about the importance of taking care of yourself, eating right, and staying active. My daughter loves her, and I love that Doc's family is a bit non-traditional. (Her mom is a doctor, and her dad is a stay-at-home dad. Cool, huh?)
Disney's new Doc McStuffins app, Moving with Doc, sticks with the theme of the show: eat right, exercise and take care of yourself. I was a little skeptical at first that an app, which, by definition, is encouraging screen time, could also encourage healthy living. But this one manages to do it pretty well.
The app is geared for young users, with verbal instructions that make the menu and activities clear. There's an extensive written description of each activity as well, in the info section, but most kids are just going to listen to Doc's description. There are three areas: Training, Compete, and Healty Me Chart. Under Training, users will find five activities they can help Doc's toys do. These activities aren't timed, and they teach kids some screen skills that will be useful when they move on to the Compete section. Under that heading, there are three timed activities, all of which feature Lambie, Stuffy and Hallie doing physical things like swinging on rings or running an obstacle course.
So I know what you're thinking so far: how is this doing anything but encouraging my kid to sit on her rear and play video games?
First of all, there's a fantastic section under the "parents" heading called "tips." It lists physical games and other activities you can do with your kid, along with healthy recipes you can make together. My daughter LOVES this part and has requested several times already to "make a Doc recipe." Second, there's a really cool stretching exercise that lets your kid use the iPad camera to stretch along with Doc. A grown-up sets the device up so that the kiddo can see herself stretching, and voila! Kiddo can monitor herself for proper form and technique. Okay, so maybe kids don't care about form and technique, but watching themselves on the iPad screen is great fun.
And then there's the Healthy Me chart, where kids can post photos of themselves doing healthy things. My daughter, being the little narcissist that she is, loves this feature. She can decorate her photos with stickers she's earned in the games, which is another plus.
From a technical point of view, the app functions well, has great graphics, and includes a button to mute the music without muting Doc's verbal instructions. There are also two levels of play, in case Level 1, which moves rather slowly, is too boring for your older Doc fan.
Speaking of slow, that's my only real complaint with this app: it loads really slowly, and there are some unecessarily long pauses between sections that don't make a lot of sense to me. My daughter is pretty impatient (I wonder where she gets that?), so when an app doesn't move quickly enough to suit her, she becomes the Mad Tapper. This app prompted that response several times.
The app is a little high-priced, which isn't uncommon for Disney apps, but so far it's been worth the price in our house. I love apps that encourage real interaction between parents and kids, and this one definitely does that. If your kid is a Doc fan, or needs some extra encouragement to get moving, I highly recommend it.