Parents are looking for ways to keep their kids meaningfully engaged during the long days at home. How about inspiring your kids’ creativity in ways that are both educational and fun? Encourage them to download an app - or three. Here are some of the best creativity-boosting apps. And the best part is, they’re free!
Let’s Create: Pottery. A fantastic app that lets kids sculpt pottery and make beautiful pieces of artwork without the messiness of real clay. They can choose to either copy pre-existing pieces from different cultures around the world or create their own pottery from scratch. While the virtual clay is spinning on the pottery wheel, kids mold the clay by tapping or pressing lightly on the screen. Once they are done, they get to fire their pottery in the kiln and then decorate their creations with colors and patterns. (If you have a 3D printer, you can make real physical pieces.) Available at Apple Appstore; Google Play. Age range: nine to 18.
Plum’s Creaturizer. A great app for getting young kids interested in photography. Developed by PBS Kids, this award-winning app lets kids create their own colorful creatures by combining different body parts (hence the name), and then encourages them to photograph these creatures in four different ‘habitats.’ The photos can be combined into slideshows depicting a day in the life of their creatures. Available at Apple Appstore. Age range: five to eight.
Story Dice - Story Telling. An app that is sure to get the creative juices flowing in kids of all ages. This app features 40 virtual dice, each with six different images in different categories, for a total of 240 different images. Kids shake their devices to roll the dice and create stories that connect all of the images that emerge. Encourage your kids to use this app together with their friends to see who comes up with the most suspenseful or fun stories and, for added learning, encourage them to write down their stories. Available at Apple Appstore; Google Play. Age range: five to 18.
TeleStory. An app that lets your kids pretend they are television producers, directors, and writers who star in their own shows. They get to plan their shows, write the scripts, rehearse, record, and perform in them and then edit the completed shows. It features model shows and general templates for different kinds of shows they can use if they need inspiration. It also has theme music, sound effects, animation, and digital costumes kids can wear. Available at Apple Appstore. Age range: five to 12.
Toontastic 3D. Few things are more fun than making your own cartoons. This app lets even the youngest kids do just that. It includes various story outlines, scenes, as well as dozens of colorful characters. Kids can either use those characters or create their own with simple drawing tools, press ‘record,’ and then move characters around and narrate the story with their own voice recording. They can add a musical score and put all of the pieces together in a single 3D cartoon. The app also has cartoons created by other kids and useful storytelling tips. Available at Apple Appstore; Google Play. Age range: five to 12.
Tanni Haas, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Communication Arts, Sciences and Disorders at the City University of New York - Brooklyn College.
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