Toontastic

Common Sense Media says

Create amazing multi-scene cartoons with musical scores.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The app is very well designed even for preschoolers to be able to use. The directions are explained (in spoken narration) in a clear, understandable fashion.

Violence & scariness

Some of the characters hold swords (but whether or not they use those swords is up to the kids using the app). Characters available for purchase include monsters and ghosts (none too scary, though).

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

There are plenty of characters and settings to use in the collection that comes pre-set with the app. There are also several scene packs with additional characters and settings for $.99-$1.99 each. A $19.99 in-app purchase unlocks everything.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Mostly private. In order to register with Toontastic and upload your videos to their server, you need to provide them with an email address. Using a screen name, kids can enter their videos in contests. Contestants' videos can be viewed by anyone. Since your child's recorded voice appears in the video, you might want to make sure they don't reveal any personal information as part of their cartoons.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Toontastic provides a stunningly easy way to create your own animated films. Kids choose the characters and setting for each scene, then just move the pieces around like they were playing with action figures, providing their own dialogue as the iPad records it all. They can then add a musical score with the appropriate emotional tone. The app doesn't just allow kids to make their own cartoons, it also teaches the fundamentals of storytelling. Kids can share their videos with the Toontastic community and enter them in film contests, so it's important that they do not reveal personal information in their videos.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • storytelling

Arts

  • drawing
  • theater

Skills

Creativity

  • producing new content
  • imagination

Communication

  • multiple forms of expression

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Toontastic is a powerful and engaging tool for digital storytelling. It's visually appealing, has great in-app support and sharing features, and relies on self-created animation and narration to tell stories.

Learning Approach

A visually based interface uses images, animation, spoken words, and music to tell stories. Kids learn story structure by compiling elements (settings, characters, mood, etc.) into a visual Story Arc.

Support

There's excellent in-app support for kids, teachers, and parents. The Parent & Teacher Guide outlines the Story Arc, and kids can tap the question mark at the top of each screen for help.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • storytelling

Arts

  • drawing
  • theater

Skills

Creativity

  • producing new content
  • imagination

Communication

  • multiple forms of expression

Kids can learn about the art of storytelling and theater as they create their own puppet shows. Toontastic walks kids through the basics of the story arc (setup, conflict, challenge, climax, and resolution), letting them choose their scenery and characters or draw their own from scratch, then record their own dialogue and choose appropriate music. Toontastic is a wonderful creative outlet for kids to express themselves through a variety of art forms rolled into one package.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Bell

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

In Toontastic players create original animated cartoons by choosing the characters and settings (either from templates or by drawing their own from scratch), posing and moving the characters around by dragging them around the screen, recording dialogue using the iPad's built-in microphone, and selecting an appropriate musical background. Kids can share their videos and watch other kids' creations through the Toontastic online community.

 

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

TOONTASTIC is brilliant in so many ways. It's a wonderful teaching tool, in that it clearly and concisely explains the fundamentals of storytelling (character, setting, story arc, etc.). And it's remarkably easy to create your own cartoons with it. The app allows kids to "animate" their characters by simply shuffling them around with their fingertips as they naturally would when playing with, say, paper dolls. The iPad records all the movements -- and all the character voices and narration that kids provide as they play -- and plays it back to us like a real animated film. Even the way the app lets you provide a musical score is genius: Kids can choose the emotions they want to convey (by picking the appropriate facial expression icon) and hear music that fits. And the final products can look really great. An update to the original release gave kids the welcome ability to save and re-use their custom-created characters and settings in multiple scenes. The number of characters and settings keeps expanding with the addition of themed scene packs -- though such packs much be purchased individually if you haven't bought the all-access pass.

Families can talk about...

  • Explore other works of literature and analyze how the plot follows the basic story arc (setup through to resolution).

  • Attend a live puppet show or theater performance with your child and talk about the story arc afterward.

App details

Device:iPad
Price:Free-$19.99
Pricing structure:Free, Free to Try, Paid
Release date:November 2, 2011
Category:Education
Size:176.00 MB
Publisher:Launchpad Toys
Version:1.40
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later

This review of Toontastic was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 9 years old September 29, 2013
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Good how ever

I love this app it's soo fun you can controll the people however sum
People on the toontube thing might say cuss words or do violent stuff overall it's a pretty good app

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old August 12, 2013
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Perfect, Perfect, Perfect, Very Educational Too :)

There is nothing bad about this app. It's fun for younger kids, they have a great time being creative and making stories with funny characters. NO possibility of bad language from the app itself, but kids add dialogue to their movie if they want. One unique aspect is that some characters are historic (like Susan B. Anthony). Kids can choose different backgrounds too, for example Outer Space, then drag the props around so in the end we watch them move on their own. I highly recommend "Toontastic" for youngsters 6 and up- 5 year olds may be confused by the multiple step process but it's very educational! Hope this helps!

What other families should know
Great messages
Educator and Parent Written byaziza_malik February 17, 2014
AGE
5
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Toontastic Review for Kindergartners

This is a review for Toontasic written by 4th graders. Toontasic is an app where you create a cartoon using the elements of a story. We tested this app out with our kindergarten book buddies. Three words to describe this app are confusing, complicated, and creative. We think this app is good for ages 9 and up. We gave this app 2 stars. We claim this app can be inappropriate depending on age group. This app is not good for younger ages because the steps are too hard. The kindergartners did not know enough about the elements of a story for it to make sense to them. Also, in the free version, there were not enough options – characters, setting. The kindergartners wanted all of the characters that were locked. It was hard for them to understand that it cost $19.99 to unlock them. Finally, there is an option to draw characters, but this freedom to draw anything was distracting. They ended up just wanting to draw instead of thinking about the story. One thing that is good about this app is for the right age group it could be fun. We tried it out in our classroom and had a good time with it, but for this age group it was too challenging. In conclusion, we believe this app is not good for use with kindergartners.

Watch our review of Toontastic on Toontastic here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahXddv4-Uk8

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