Lipa Theater: Story Maker

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Lipa Theater: Story Maker App Poster Image
Create and record stories in cute digital puppet theater.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about creative expression and storytelling. They'll use the provided materials such as characters, props, and backdrops to put together a wide variety of stories. As they create a narrative, they may even follow a logical plot and make their way through a clear beginning, middle, and end of a coherent story. And, as they speak, they'll work on speaking skills and practice expressing themselves. With Lipa Theater: Story Maker, kids have a platform from which they can dream, imagine, be silly, and explore creativity.

Ease of Play

Guided tutorial gets kids acquainted with how to use the app. After that, navigation is pretty straightforward and intuitive.

Violence & Scariness

Props include toy weapons, such as an old-fashioned gun and wooden swords.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

An icon on the app's home page leads to advertisements for other apps from the same developer. A parent gate protects all purchases but will only block prereaders.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lipa Theater: Story Maker provides a platform for creating and recording short stories. Kids will need access to their devices' microphones to record their voices and the camera if they want to use their own customized backdrops. Through the settings menu, parents can turn off music and sounds and can create an account to keep track of their kids' activity and progress through this app and all others from the same developer. Completed stories are saved internally and can be downloaded to the device or shared through email or Facebook; the parent gate will only block kids who can't yet read. In addition to English, the app is available in eight languages including Spanish, German, Czech, Russian, and Chinese. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

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What's it about?

Kids create and record their own stories in LIPA THEATER: STORY MAKER. A brief tutorial, in which kids are guided through a story, orients kids to the tools and creative enhancements available. Then kids are free to choose from a variety of characters, props, backdrops, music, and more. Kids can even choose to take a photo to use as a backdrop, and characters and props can be resized and moved around. When they're ready, kids tap record and have one minute to narrate a story as they move objects around.

Is it any good?

Kids take the lead in telling fantastical stories in this 21st-century version of a classic puppet show. Because the platform is digital, there are a few fun advantages: Kids can easily change the backdrop, add music, alter the weather, and have a big bag of props at their disposal. It's also fun that kids record their stories and so can keep a tangible record of what they've created. Being able to pause lets kids change the background and move things around before recording again. Though the characters don't represent every type of person, there's quite a diverse array, including varied skin color, eye shape, and female knights. The digital platform could allow for even more freedom, however. A "design your own" feature would be a nice addition, as would the ability to widen the music choices. Though kids can make multiple recordings for the same story if they need to, it can be frustrating that they also have only one minute in a single recording. While kids could be even more empowered with more creative freedom, overall this is a nice, easy-to-use platform for creating stories.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the differences between creating stories within the app and offscreen. What are the advantages and disadvantages of both?

  • Ask kids about the characters, props, and other elements they choose for their stories. Who are the characters, and what are they doing? If their characters use the toy weapons, talk about why they're using them and -- if they're angry -- another way to resolve the problem.

  • Get out puppets or dolls, or make paper figures pasted on popsicle stick, and sit down at the "theater" to listen as kids present whatever story comes to mind. Switch places and have kids listen to you telling stories, too.

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love storytelling and creativity

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