By Tanni Haas, Ph.D.
With schools across the country closed, you’re probably looking for ways to keep your kids engaged during their days at home. How about inspiring your kids’ creativity in ways that are both educational and fun? Here are five free creativity-boosting apps that will keep your kids occupied while learning and having fun.
Let’s Create: Pottery
Let’s Create: Pottery is a fantastic app that lets kids sculpt pottery and make beautiful pieces of artwork without the messiness of real clay. They can 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, your kids mold the clay by tapping or pressing on the screen. Once they’re done, they get to fire their pottery in the kiln and decorate their creations with colors and patterns. If you have a 3D printer, you can make real physical pieces.
(Available at: Apple Appstore; Age range: 5-8)
Plum’s Creaturizer is a great app for getting 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.” They can combine the photos into slideshows depicting “A Day in the Life” of their creatures.
Story Dice – Story Telling
An app sure to get the creative juices flowing in kids of all ages is Story Dice – Story Telling. This app features 40 virtual dice, each with six different images in varying categories for a total of 240 unique images. Kids shake their devices to roll the dice and create stories that connect all 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 their stories.
(Available at: Apple Appstore; Age range: 5-12)
TeleStory is an app that lets your kids pretend that 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 types of shows they can use of if they need inspiration. It also has theme music, sound effects, animation and digital costumes that kids can wear.
Few things are more fun than making your own cartoons. Toontastic 3D is an app that lets even the youngest kids do just that. It includes various story outlines, scenes and dozens of colorful characters. Kids can either use those characters or create their own with simple drawing tools. Press “record” and the characters move around and narrate the story with their own voice recording. They can add a musical score and put all the pieces together in a single 3D cartoon. The app also has cartoons created by other kids, and useful storytelling tips.