Preschoolers can pretend they're traveling through the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods with the "Dinosaur Train All Aboard!" game, recently released by The Jim Henson Company and Pressman Toy Corporation.
CC enjoyed a brief ride, alongside her 3-year-old friend, who corrected CC when she announced she would be playing with the Conductor piece.
"It's Mr. Conductor," her little friend said.
Sent to me for review, the game is based on the PBS Kids animated series that has a family of winged Pteranodons -- plus one adopted T-Rex -- visiting all sorts of dinosaurs on the titular dinosaur train. This magic locomotive has the power to transport dinos in between time periods, offering a learning experience for everyone on board. Mr. Conductor is the friendly guy who explains who's on the train, where they're headed and what's so cool about each prehistoric playmate.
Similar to "Candy Land" in its simplicity, "Dinosaur Train All Aboard!" (2 to 6 players ages 4+; SRP: $12) has kids choosing their characters and moving around the board using a spinner. The object is to get to the nest in the middle, and players have to follow dino tracks to get there. Special stopwatch spaces allow them to take short cuts along the tracks.
While I appreciate the simplicity for little learners, I was really hoping the kids would have more opportunities to learn about different dinosaurs.
There is a "Field Guide" included with the game, and includes information on Triceratops, Stegosauruses, T-Rex's, among others, but it would have been better (imho) to have incorporated that info into the game itself -- on the "Dinosaur Crossing" spaces, for instance.
Also, there is very little distinction on the board between the trio of time periods.
"Dinosaur Train All Aboard!" could be a nice way to spend some time with your preschooler, but I hope newer incarnations of the game will offer material just as rich as the PBS Kids series. After all, our kids are up for it, as demonstrated by so many little fans of the show!