Elmer's Photo Patchwork

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Elmer's Photo Patchwork App Poster Image
Use camera to create collages; few options for further fun.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about creating artistic images and work on their observation skills and creative expression. They may also pick up some insight into visual themes and creating aesthetically pleasing images.

Ease of Play

To fill the collages, kids simply need to tap, point the camera, and tap again to snap photos. Younger children may need help positioning the device to get the photos they want.

Violence & Scariness
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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Elmer's Photo Patchwork presents kids with simple line drawings of Elmer the elephant from the popular book series. The elephant's outline is divided into sections by grid lines, puzzle pieces, or other patterns. Kids use the device's camera to take photographs as they fill in the elephant, piece by piece. Finished collages can be saved to the camera roll. Kids will need access to the device's camera and camera roll in order to use Elmer's Photo Patchwork. They'll also be moving around their environment, device in hand, to take photographs, so parents should make sure kids can do so safely before handing the device over. The parent's section, accessible through a parent gate, includes links to purchase hard copies of the Elmer books as well as suggestions for how to use the app. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

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What's it about?

Scroll left and right to choose which Elmer the elephant outline to decorate in ELMER'S PHOTO PATCHWORK. Once you've tapped an Elmer drawing, choose from four patchwork designs such as hearts, stars, or grid lines. Tap in each space to activate the camera; look around to find an interesting image and tap to capture it. Continue until you've filled all the blank spaces and your photo collage Elmer is complete. Save the creation to your device's camera roll, wash it clean, or tap back in to the home screen to choose a background and create a patchwork Elmer parade.

Is it any good?

The best part about this simple collage maker is that kids engage with their environment as they look around for interesting visuals, but having a bit more content would make it more fun. Each section in the patchwork shows just a small bit of where kids focus their camera, so kids must look very carefully for aesthetic details to fill their elephant. Kids with an artistic flair may especially enjoy this kind of image hunt. And kids who know the Elmer books may get an extra thrill from creating their own patchwork Elmer. After creating their collage, kids can save their elephant to the camera roll and from there they can print or share the image. But, beyond that, Elmer's Photo Patchwork doesn't offer many bells or whistles: There are no drawing tools and no ways to interact with the elephants. There's also no option to use a photo already in the device's camera roll, so every section needs a fresh shot. It would be nice to have more options for interacting with the images and the elephants to round out this cute app.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about color and image themes to use in Elmer's Photo Patchwork. Make a game out of finding different kinds of fruit for one elephant, or various shades of red in nature for another.

  • Create collages offscreen. Pull out magazines, printed paper, or other fun images and have fun pasting pieces together in interesting ways.

  • Discuss the themes from the Elmer book series. Help your kids appreciate what makes them, and others, unique.

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