The Complete Fairytale Play Theater

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
The Complete Fairytale Play Theater App Poster Image
Creative open-ended storytelling, but some drawbacks.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can practice storytelling, script writing, voice acting, and even directing if they play with friends. They can retell stories they've read or make up their own. An adult can help kids talk about the emotions the characters display based on their expressions and body language.

Ease of Play

The menus and options aren't intuitive and may take some exploration to figure out. While most of the controls work as expected (and there are help buttons available), some still felt glitchy even after playing for a while.

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Consumerism

There's a link from the main menu that leads to a list of the publisher's other apps. Kids will be prompted to enter the year of their birth to buy the other apps, which will defer most kids in the target age.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Complete Fairytale Play Theater is a platform to help kids express themselves creatively through animated puppet-show-style scenes. Many kids (and some adults) will find the interface nonintuitive. The gear button that typically represents "Settings" is used to access the characters and props, and dragging characters onto a scene requires a sort of double-tap-and-drag maneuver. Most young kids will need help getting started and understanding what to do. Once they've got the hang of it, most kids will have no trouble creating independently. While there are a range of human and animal characters representing several different fairy tales, there appear to be very few, if any, characters of color. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

THE COMPLETE FAIRYTALE PLAY THEATER is an open-ended, creative app for creating animated stories. Kids choose a set, add characters, select background music, and place props. The choices represent many favorite fairy tales -- Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Three Little Pigs, Cinderella -- and kids can use the elements from different stories to create an original mash-up. Want a wolf, a talking horse, and a grandmother? Done. A princess, two pigs, and a wicked witch? You got it. Once you've chosen all the parts, hit the "record" button and get to work acting out your scene using your characters as puppet actors. You can even add in dialogue. Play it back and then add in more scenes with whatever settings and characters you want. 

Is it any good?

This digital puppet show is a wonderful platform for kids to be creative storytellers, but with some glitches and challenges that mar the experience. If you have a child who likes to make up stories, create movies, and be theatrical, they will likely love The Completed Fairytale Play Theater. It's just a blank slate for making up your own fairy tales. But, while it's not complicated, it isn't exactly intuitive, either. It doesn't behave like other apps in terms of icons, controls, and menus. Though the basic overview in the parents' section and help icons are useful, you have to find those first. It's also seriously lacking in diversity (ethnicity, age, ability) in the characters. Yes, they are based on well-known fairy tale characters, but additional characters or creative interpretations would make it more representative. During the review period, it also crashed a couple of times. Despite its flaws, however, it still offers a great creative opportunity with lots of options and opportunity for kids to play together.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the educational value of the app. Do you think The Complete Fairytale Play Theater is a good app for learning? Why, or why not? What can you learn? 

  • Talk about screen use. How do you like this app as compared to other apps you could play? If you had or have limited screen time, would you pick this app over other apps on your device? Why, or why not?

  • Discuss the characters available. What types of stories do you think you could tell with the characters they have? What kinds of characters or sets would you add if you could?

App details

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For kids who love creative play and storytelling

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