Where's My Dress? An iPad app that helps children dress for the weather
“Where’s My Dress?” by Thematica is a dress up game for the iPad that allows young children to select outfits for a character based on the season and weather outside. The app is beautifully illustrated and very well designed. The characters and outfits are extremely cute and cheerful and immediately attracted the interest of my three-year-old daughter and her eight-year-old brother. They were able to jump right in and explore the app with little or no instruction or prompting.
When the iPad app is launched, there is a very large button in the center that allows a child to start playing with the app. In the top left corner in small letters there is text “For Parents” that leads to a page especially for adults. I like that the text for this is much smaller and less noticeable than the button designed for the child to enter the app. In the top right corner is an icon for another Thematic app with a link that leads to iTunes. While it is smaller than the button to enter the app and not as centrally located, I would prefer that this link be contained on the page for parents to help prevent very young children from accidentally leaving the app. However, I feel certain older children would learn very quickly which button leads to the game and younger children would have parent assistance, so this is not a huge issue. The app contains no in-app purchase or social media buttons.
The next screen allows the child to select a male or female character, followed by icons for each of the four seasons. My daughter had no trouble selecting a person and then tapping on an icon to move on to the next page of the app. Once the season is selected, the character is placed in his or her underwear in a bedroom scene in front of a large window. By looking out of the window, a child is able to obtain clues about the season and weather. For instance, it may be raining, snowing, leaves may be falling or the sun shining brightly. Sound effects like wind or rain can also be heard. While children are free to dress the characters however they like (which my daughter will tend to do regardless of the weather), the child is encouraged to dress the character with clothing, shoes, and a hat appropriate to the weather outside. If inappropriate attire is selected, subtle clues will be presented to encourage the child to make a different selection. For example the character’s facial expression will be happy if the clothing is appropriate and might frown if an outfit does not fit the season. I like that the subtle hints and thought bubbles make the intention clear without discouraging the child by saying she’s “wrong”. Once dressed, the character may go outside to play. If dressed appropriately, a happy outdoor scene follows. If not, the character reacts to the weather (perhaps with a sneeze if not dressed for the rain) and returns indoors to try again.
My daughter thoroughly enjoyed playing with Where’s My Dress. I barely had it opened on my iPad before she slipped it away and claimed it for herself. She loves the colorful illustrations and pointed out several little details in the app, like a little red bird and her favorite pair of shoes. She absolutely loves trying on shoes in real life, so she is especially drawn to dress up apps like this one. It provided us a really nice opportunity to talk about the seasons and weather, as well as how the characters appeared to be feeling as a result of her choices. With its gorgeous illustrations and child-friendly design, “Where’s My Dress” is certainly a hit at our house.
Things I love:
- Gorgeous graphics
- Child-friendly interface with little or no instruction needed
- Nice sound effects
- Fun hints to guide the child without negative language
- Expressive facial expressions and character reactions
- Cute dress up activity
- Encourages dialogue between parent and young child about choices related to seasons and how the character is feeling
- Age appropriate, no social media links
What I’d like to see in a future update:
- iTunes link less noticeable to children young children to avoid leaving the app (perhaps placed on “For Parents” page)
- Some objects in the app (telephone, umbrella) did not respond to touch and my daughter expected them to. (She wanted the phone to ring and to grab the umbrella when it was raining.)
Where’s My Dress is a beautifully illustrated, well-designed iPad app that my preschool daughter enjoys. I recommend it highly for toddlers and preschool children who enjoy dress up games and would benefit from learning about dressing for seasons and weather.