What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Puppet Pals HD offers an easy way for kids to create and record their own animated shorts. However, the app only comes with one set of characters. There are 17 other character sets available for purchase at $0.99 each, including one that features caricatures of politicians. The app's most appealing feature -- the ability to cut people out of your real-life photos and use them as puppets and to use real-life photos for backgrounds-- will cost an extra $2.99 to use. Versions called Puppet Pals for iPhone and Puppet Pals 2 also are available.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- cultural understanding
- historical figures
Thinking & Reasoning
- part-whole relationships
- making new creations
- multiple forms of expression
Engagement, Approach, Support
Your own photos, as well as fun, themed character packs -- which include things like U.S. historical figures and knights and princesses -- can be added to the initial pack via in-app purchase for more engaging story-creating sessions.
Kids can learn how each part of the creative process works to form a story as they make decisions about which backgrounds and characters to use in each scene, how to size them and move them around, and which audio to record.
What's it about?
Simply tap "Press to Start" and choose up to eight actors from the available theme packs (depending on in-app purchases). Next, select up to five backgrounds. Swipe and pinch to place, resize, and move characters. Tap the red button to record audio, tap the yellow button to pause, and tap the white square to stop. Tap a tassel to change backgrounds. Give the performance a title, and save. To replay, tap "Saved Shows" from the main menu and "Play." There's easy, themed storytelling through movable images and voice recording.
Is it any good?
As an animation app, PUPPET PALS offers a simple and easy interface that could work well for kids, but it also lacks many of the bells and whistles that similar apps, such as Toontastic and PlayTime Theater, feature. Here, you can change the size of a character, flip the image, move it around, and, of course, record voiceover -- and that may be enough for most people. The app does allow you to record and save several shows, though, and even export them, which is a very nice feature. But the one limited character set is not really enough to have much fun. To get truly creative, you'd need to buy more with the in-app purchases option.
Families can talk about...
Offer to be one of the characters in your kid's story, adding a different voice to the script or improvising the scenes.
If your kid really loves storytelling on this app, consider purchasing the Director's Pack so they can mix and match characters from different themes and eras.