Rating: 4 out of 5 stars App Developer: Launchpad Toys
Toontastic is one of the most creative iPad apps for kids available today. Through stunning layout, accompanied by verbal and written instruction, Toontastic takes kids through the process of creating their own cartoons step-by-step. The app first explains what a cartoon is, and describes the story arc, which is the measure of the story’s emotional energy. The story arc consists of a setup, a conflict, a challenge, a climax, and a resolution. With the aid of the verbal and written instructions, as well as additional useful information, kids work through the process, starting with the setup, and ending with the resolution. Settings and characters can be selected from a range of templates provided by the app, or kids can draw in their own. With each scene, movement and sound can be added and music can be selected from a range of genres with differing emotions. The final result is a magnificent story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end, which has been created by the kids themselves, and which they can share with other Toontastic users throughout the world.
A detailed parent and teacher guide provides parents and teachers with the information they need, and gives them advise on how to encourage the kids’ creativity and thought processes. Additional settings and characters can be purchased from the toy store to add to the collection already in the app, and template characters can be edited. Additional scenes can be added to add new dimensions to the plot, and scenes can be moved around. The cartoon can therefore be as simple, or as complex as the user would like it to be. Of course at any stage, characters and scenes can be edited and deleted. The cartoon is a work-in-progress, which kids can change as many times as they like, and the final result may be entirely different to the initial idea that the kids had. The Toontube feature allows kids to share their productions with other Toontastic users, allowing kids to view cartoons that have been created all over the world. In addition, they can search for cartoons created by specific users. This feature therefore provides kids with exposure to cultures from around the world, and may even trigger ideas for more stories they would like to create.
This is a fantastic iPad application for kids as young as five years old all the way to adulthood. It provides an excellent learning opportunity; teaching kids to plan and create a story, considering the storyline, sounds, actions, music, emotions and the message they would like to convey. It most definitely encourages the development of creativity and imagination; organisational skills; and free-thought. The beauty of this iPad app is that all learning happens incidentally, while kids are having fun.