Mickey's Magical Arts World

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Mickey's Magical Arts World App Poster Image
Immersive and fun art world is pay as you go.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about different ways to express themselves artistically. They can draw freely or follow step-by-step instructions on creating simple line drawings. They experiment with aesthetics, balance and symmetry, design elements, materials and textures, costume design, and hairstyles. They'll also learn about music structure while playing with the tempos and rhythms of favorite and familiar melodies. Through all these creations, kids will work on hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Mickey's Magical Arts World has an enormous amount of content available and provides ways to take learning offscreen.

Ease of Play

There's a lot to do here, both in wandering around the virtual art world and in each activity center. For each activity, there's a Disney character who provides basic explanations, but they're not always complete or clear (Donald Duck isn't the greatest at enunciating his words, for example). Nonetheless, there's no wrong way to interact with this app, so kids can simply learn as they experiment.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

There is an icon to download other Imagicademy apps. The free app includes limited content; for more fun, a number of in-app purchases are available. Kids can see information about what's available to buy, but actual purchase is protected behind a lock (users must enter an age of 13 years or older). Characters, interactions, and content of all kinds promote the vast Disney brand.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mickey's Magical Arts World is part of the Imagicademy, which offers parents and young kids a suite of products, tips, and ideas for encouraging imagination and learning. Parents can create accounts for themselves and their kids to receive Pinterest-style daily inspirational thoughts, on and offline activity ideas, and updates on kids' accomplishments. They also can set controls such as time limits for individual kids and more. In the app, kids interact with classic Disney characters as they experiment with a variety of artistic techniques including visual arts and music. Both kids and parents can use the app and many of the Imagicademy resources without signing up or purchasing anything. However, the free trial options within the app are limited. Parents can add options one by one or in bundles, but because the sheer volume of content might be overwhelming for some kids, it might be best to buy one at a time. Sometimes relatively long load times and occasional issues with the audio track may frustrate some kids.

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What's it about?

Kids explore aspects of visual art, theater, music, and design/materials as they build their own virtual worlds with classic Disney characters in MICKEY'S MAGICAL ARTS WORLD. Five areas target different artistic genres: music; textures and materials; sketching and drawing; architectural design; and theater production. There are multiple ways to explore each area, such as costume design and storytelling in theater or rhythm, tempo, pattern, and melody in music. Each area has a limited number of free trial options; the rest can be unlocked through in-app purchases. 

Is it any good?

Mickey's Magical Arts World has a wonderful variety of creative outlets, such as the ability to record music with varying tempos, to free-sketch, to learn how to make simple line drawings, and to experiment (virtually) with textures and materials. The costume play stands out in particular. Kids choose a character, dress it, give it a silly hairstyle, set it on a stage, and watch it perform in a short animation. Creations continue to wander around the art world with the other Disney icons, empowering kids to take an active role in creating this magical virtual world. Take advantage of the great inspirational ideas for both on- and offscreen activities and experiments. Watch out, though, for pretty consistent pushes to purchase more art options; parents can easily get roped in to spending $20 or more on what originally was a free app. Whether or not you love Disney characters, this app offers a lot of artistic opportunities.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what kids make. A parent can say, "Tell me about what you're making" so the kid doesn't feel the need to make a recognizable object.

  • Read the inspirational posts and activity ideas. Try the suggested activities.

  • Have kids experiment with real-life versions of their digital explorations: Bring out musical instruments, dress-up clothes, and art supplies. Ask them how digital experiences are different from real-life ones.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Arts: drawing, music, painting, rhythm
  • Skills: Creativity: imagination, making new creations
    Tech Skills: digital creation
  • Pricing structure: Free to try (The app itself is free and includes limited access. Additional options are available as in-app purchases.)
  • Release date: March 2, 2015
  • Category: Education
  • Topics: Arts and Dance, Music and Sing-Along
  • Size: 553.00 MB
  • Publisher: Disney
  • Version: 1.0.2
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love art

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