Codeable Crafts

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Codeable Crafts App Poster Image
Drawing tools and coding blocks are basic but accessible.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about basic coding language. Coding blocks introduce concepts such as movement around the screen, growing and shrinking in size, loops, and more. As they tinker, kids can set values on some blocks to increase or decrease effects, and they can be creative in designing their characters. Though the tools are somewhat limited, Codeable Crafts is a combination of storytelling and elementary coding, which will help empower kids to see themselves as creators.

Ease of Play

A short tutorial video gives a quick overview. Kids will need to learn the details by simply playing around with the app.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Codeable Crafts is a simple drawing tool that gives a kid-friendly introduction to computer coding. Kids draw on animal templates, name them, and then animate them using a basic set of coding blocks. One of the coding blocks has kids use the device's microphone to record their voice. Two sharing options are wide open for kids to access: One allows them to share drawings they've made, and the other allows them to see drawings others have made. Drawings are shared randomly and anonymously, though there doesn't seem to be any oversight on making sure that drawings with identifying labels or inappropriate markings aren't shared. 

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What's it about?

CODEABLE CRAFTS begins with a brief tutorial overview showing how to decorate and animate charming animal templates. Choose from My Sketchbook or My Storybook to start creating. Color and affix stickers to the templates in the sketchbook, and then select finished creatures to star in animated stories in the storybook using a small set of basic coding blocks to create sound, movement, and text. Put the blocks together like puzzle pieces and watch the finished story.

Is it any good?

A basic set of drawing tools and coding blocks gives young kids a good introduction to programming with only a few bugs and missing features. The best thing is how easy it is to create a short and simple animated story. Kids need only to drag simple, puzzle-shaped coding blocks together in different ways to experiment with programming concepts such as movement, repetition, and more. They also can just have fun creating their characters and telling a story. Downsides to this free app are that the drawing tools are pretty basic, limited only to a handful of colored crayons and random stickers. It's a bit frustrating, for example, that once kids save a character they can't return to the drawing board to edit. App navigation also sometimes can be frustrating, as buttons are sometimes barely visible at the borders of the screen, and bugs interrupt smooth play. Yet, overall, this is an appealing and accessible tool for creating simple animated stories or learning computer-programming basics.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the characters and stories kids create. Ask kids about what they're doing, and help them elaborate on stories by asking open-ended questions.

  • Create a story together about a favorite character or something that really happened to your family. Help kids hit the key parts of a story arc with a logical beginning, middle, and end.

  • If kids like the coding part, look into ways for kids to learn more about computer programming through apps, websites, classes, and so on.

App details

  • Devices: iPad, Android
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: storytelling
  • Skills: Creativity: imagination, making new creations, producing new content
    Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: July 8, 2015
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 80.00 MB
  • Publisher: Benesse
  • Version: 1.0.5
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later; Android 4.4 and up.

For kids who love telling stories and coding

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