App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
SquiggleFish App Poster Image
Off/on-screen idea is good bait but the catch disappoints.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about drawing. They'll express themselves creatively as they practice making simple line drawings and crafting images of fish.

Ease of Play

Getting your fish in the app's aquarium can be a bit finicky, and there are minimal instructions.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that with SquiggleFish, kids can see their own drawings animated in a digital fish tank. First, kids draw a fish on paper and then fix the device's camera over the drawing, which automatically captures it and inserts the drawing into the app. Parents need to allow SquiggleFish to access the device's camera for this process to work. Sometimes it can be challenging to get the app to recognize the whole drawing or for it to find the drawing at all. There are a handful of recommendations, including using simple lines, avoiding shadows, and using blank, white paper. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

The first step with SQUIGGLEFISH is to make a simple drawing of a fish using markers and plain white paper. Enhance the drawing with different materials like tissue paper or fabrics. When finished, tap the plus button in the app before hovering the device over your drawing. When the app recognizes a drawing, it immediately captures the image and inserts it into the digital fishbowl. Once the fish arrives in the app, kids can switch its orientation so that it faces right or left, and watch it swim around. Repeat to add as many fish as you want.

Is it any good?

Though combining offscreen activity with on-screen fun is a great idea, this fishbowl greatly disappoints. SquiggleFish is off to a good start with its creative use of tablet technology. At first, it can be exciting to see your own drawing floating around on the screen. But with the automatic photo capture, sometimes the app has trouble recognizing drawings, and other times the drawing shows up but with parts missing. Kids need to closely follow the instructions to optimize the chances of getting their drawing, whole and intact, into the SquiggleFish aquarium, which ends up greatly limiting their creativity. However, the major disappointment is what happens once the fish is in the aquarium -- which is essentially nothing. That is, all kids do is watch as the fish floats around the screen. What at first seemed like a great interactive app quickly turns into an entirely passive experience. It would be nice to see options for moving the fish yourself, resizing it, adding embellishments, creating a story about the fish, or other ways to interact. As is, SquiggleFish doesn't have enough going on to make it worth the purchase price.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the drawings kids create for SquiggleFish. Ask kids to name their fish and tell a story about it. What kind of fish is it? Where does it live? Where is it going?

  • Practice drawing fish together. Talk about the different parts of the fish and different colors, materials, or lines kids can use to make them.

  • Talk about the use of a screen with this app. Does it make it more fun to see your own drawing on the screen? Why, or why not?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love creativity and art

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