Dinorama App: Teaching Kids Money Skills

The makers of Dinorama  asked me to try out their app since they knew my readers and I would love it, and I think they’re right! Dinorama is an app that’s designed to teach young kids money management and savvy saving skills. It’s not only a fun app, but it teaches tons of valuable skills. My favorite part though? NO advertising, and NO in-app purchases!  While we have our settings turned off (so the kids can’t make in-app purchases anyway) it’s a nice change to have an app that’s not encouraging spending more.
Dinorama Park

The app has quickly become a go-to favorite in our house. No, I did not play it myself for hours….okay, I did. Both because I love to test out stuff before I hand it over to the kids, and because it was so much fun!

What is  Dinorama?

Dinorama is an iPad app that helps you design and care for your own dinosaur park. The idea and execution are simple, but it offers hours of playtime and learning fun.  While there are loads of features I’ll share the reason it’s a great fit for the blog is because it teaches kids about saving and making smart investments.

Here’s how it works.
You have your own Dinosaur Park. To start you’re walked through how to set up your park, care for your animals, and how you earn money and stickers. Money is the currency you use to purchase new attractions or pet dinos for your park, as well as feed your animals and care for their habitats. You can also earn money through attractions like a photo booth, café, and even upgrades to your dinosaur’s habitats. Stickers are collected to open new ‘shelves’ in the store where you can purchase habitat upgrades, attractions like a balloon stand, and hire workers like a tour guide for your park.

Customize your park.

Customizable park features include picking the names and colors of your dinosaurs, choosing upgrades to their habitats (which can also earn you additional money from visitors), and choosing where and what attractions you’d like in your park.

Take care of your dinos and park.

Dinorama Fixing Habitat
Caretaking  is a big part of the app as well. You have to maintain the habitats by scooping poo, cutting down webs, and fixing leaks. You also have to feed your dinos on a regular basis. A nice touch was that healthy foods give the animals energy while ‘treats’ get the dinosaurs to do a trick.

While kids will learn a lot about caretaking the main goal of Dinorama is to help kids learn to save more and spend wisely. Learning about dinosaurs is just the icing on the cake!

Learn to save and spend wisely.
To teach kids to weigh the savings they get from spending more the app uses some clever devices. For instance if you have a popcorn stand you can refill the popcorn stand with 15, 30, or 65 bags. The more you buy, the larger your profit. If you leave the popcorn stand unstocked, potential visitors won’t visit which means you won’t  receive  their admission. Thus the key to running a successful and profitable park then is to save up and purchase larger refills for bigger profits.

Dinorama restock attractions

Additionally there is a piggy bank that you can use to increase your savings. If you save more, you get more interest. It takes longer, but kids will soon learn it’s better to save for the long haul.

Dinorama Savings Bank

Money Skills Dinorama Teaches

Savings is rewarded.  The more you save and the longer you wait for your returns, the more you earn. This teaches kids about compound interest and long-term investing.

Profit margins are higher the more you spend. Whether it’s buying in bulk or making larger investments, kids are learning that buying in bulk can get you larger profits.

Managing multiple ‘assets’ requires attention to detail. Not only do kids have to keep their dinosaurs fed and happy, but they also have to stock stands at their park to ensure guests visit.

Know when to spend and when to save. The app quickly teaches you that overspending will lead to unhappy visitors and dinosaurs. Kids will learn that they have to maintain everything without overspending.

Save for a rainy day. You literally have to save for a rainy day in this app! When it rains, less visitors show up to your park, so you have to save up for those times to ensure you still have funds for stocking your park, and feeding your animals.

Maintenance is key. Without maintenance of the dino habitats and the park’s attractions you won’t earn as much.

Dinorama Reviews:

Dinorama Park 2

My Review:
This is a must-have app for teaching kids money skills in the guise of an app that’s fun to play! Any young child that loves app play and/or dinosaurs will love this app. Since the app is new I offered the makers my opinion and will share with you as well.  I’d love to see is a ‘login’ screen so multiple kids (ahem, and adults) can have their own parks. As it is now the app only allows you to create one park which cold making sharing tough. While most of the app is picture-based and easy enough for a non-reader to understand, there are some text portions. The text is shown, not read outloud which could make it tougher for non-readers. I helped my first grader read through the instructions anyway, but he had to ask me to read some of the tougher words the tour guide shared as well. Overall though those slight issues are easily improved in the later versions, and the app itself gets two big thumbs up from me.

Kids’ Review:

Aidan says, “I love that I can name my dinosaurs and pick their colors! That’s fun.” He also shared, “I was sad the first time my dinosaur ran away (from not caring for it), but then I learned how to care for them, and now they’re all happy. See, this guy is eating his broccoli trees right now.”

Audrey says, “I like everything about this! I love to save in the piggy bank, but I really like running the park and getting to pick everything that goes here.”

The bottom line:

All the  activities  in the app translate into some great conversations with kids about saving, spending, investing, and other money skills. It will open up discussions about spending smarter, saving for a rainy day, and more. If you have an iPad this app is a must-have.

Right now the app is on sale for only $1.99, that’s 60% off the regular price! You can learn more and download the Dinorama app on iTunes.

Kelly

Disclosure: Dinorama gifted me the app to try and compensated me for my time, but all opinions (and fun had!) are my own.  

About Kelly Whalen


Kelly Whalen is the founder of The Centsible Life, a blog where motherhood and money meet. Her goal is to help readers live well on less. Kelly is a mom to 4, and loves that she can stay at home with her kids, and still pursue her passions for writing, personal finance, and social media. You can often find her on twitter and Facebook talking money and motherhood.

  • James Miao

    Thanks for the thorough review! I’m part of the team behind Dinorama, and it’s super rewarding to hear parent stories about their children loving Dinorama. Please don’t hesitate to reach me if you have any questions or thoughts you’d like to share: james [at] recurious [dot] com

    James

  • Guest

    Thanks for the thorough review! I’m part of the team behind Dinorama, and it’s super rewarding to hear parent stories about their children loving Dinorama. Please don’t hesitate to reach me if you have any questions or thoughts you’d like to share.

  • Carrie @ Chockababy

    I love the idea of teaching kids at a young age about responsible spending! I just told my mom to put it on her ipad for when the kids visit :)

  • Jessica @FoundtheMarbles

    What a terrific concept. I’m going to download it for my son. He’ll love it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/darlademorrow Darla DeMorrow

    Sounds so cute! I guess you really can’t start too early with financial organizing and education.

  • http://twitter.com/onepunkymama Nicole

    Learning while scooping poop? My boys will be all over that. :D