Daniel Striped Tiger, you’ve come a long way, baby. Introduced on the show The Children’s Corner in the 1950s, shy Daniel went on to be one of many puppet inhabitants of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Earlier this month PBS debuted an animated spin-off series featuring his four-year-old son, also named Daniel, and a new generation of Neighborhood of Make-Believe characters. Preschoolers can visit Daniel Jr. in the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Play at Home with Daniel Tiger app (CloudKids with PBS and The Fred Rogers Company, August 2012).
In the living room, Daniel plays with a toy doctor’s kit, which includes a stethoscope, an otoscope (“that tickles!”), and a hypodermic needle (“grr — that stings! But then it goes away”). In the bathroom, where we “wash, brush, and flush,” users can wash Daniel’s paws and pop bubbles in the sink, brush his teeth, put toilet paper into the toilet and flush it, and place his stuffed animal Tigey on the potty.
The most involved of the three locations is Daniel’s bedroom, where users help him prepare for bed with the comfortable routines and accoutrements of bedtime: blankie and Tigey, a lullaby, and a bedtime story called Superheroes Go to Bed Too. Users can also darken the sky outside Daniel’s window, turn the lamp on and off, and open and close his bedroom door.
Helpful Daniel offers clear, non-condescending instructions for interactivity throughout. An additional sticker section lets users customize the three scenes from inside Daniel’s home and a view of the neighborhood.
While the app is cute and well-intentioned, there’s not a lot to it. I would have liked to progress chronologically through more of Daniel’s daily routine, and I hope that future apps will explore more of Daniel Tiger’s neighborhood outside his home.
Available for iPad, iPod Touch (requires iOS 5.1.1 or later); $1.99. Recommended for preschool users.