What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Toontastic provides a stunningly easy way to create your own animated films. Kids choose the characters and setting for each scene, then just move the pieces around like they were playing with action figures, providing their own dialogue as the iPad records it all. They can then add a musical score with the appropriate emotional tone. The app doesn't just allow kids to make their own cartoons, it also teaches the fundamentals of storytelling. Kids can share their videos with the Toontastic community and enter them in film contests, so it's important that they do not reveal personal information in their videos.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- producing new content
- multiple forms of expression
Engagement, Approach, Support
Toontastic is a powerful and engaging tool for digital storytelling. It's visually appealing, has great in-app support and sharing features, and relies on self-created animation and narration to tell stories.
A visually based interface uses images, animation, spoken words, and music to tell stories. Kids learn story structure by compiling elements (settings, characters, mood, etc.) into a visual Story Arc.
There's excellent in-app support for kids, teachers, and parents. The Parent & Teacher Guide outlines the Story Arc, and kids can tap the question mark at the top of each screen for help.
What's it about?
In Toontastic players create original animated cartoons by choosing the characters and settings (either from templates or by drawing their own from scratch), posing and moving the characters around by dragging them around the screen, recording dialogue using the iPad's built-in microphone, and selecting an appropriate musical background. Kids can share their videos and watch other kids' creations through the Toontastic online community.
Is it any good?
TOONTASTIC is brilliant in so many ways. It's a wonderful teaching tool, in that it clearly and concisely explains the fundamentals of storytelling (character, setting, story arc, etc.). And it's remarkably easy to create your own cartoons with it. The app allows kids to "animate" their characters by simply shuffling them around with their fingertips as they naturally would when playing with, say, paper dolls. The iPad records all the movements -- and all the character voices and narration that kids provide as they play -- and plays it back to us like a real animated film. Even the way the app lets you provide a musical score is genius: Kids can choose the emotions they want to convey (by picking the appropriate facial expression icon) and hear music that fits. And the final products can look really great. An update to the original release gave kids the welcome ability to save and re-use their custom-created characters and settings in multiple scenes. The number of characters and settings keeps expanding with the addition of themed scene packs -- though such packs much be purchased individually if you haven't bought the all-access pass.
Families can talk about...
Explore other works of literature and analyze how the plot follows the basic story arc (setup through to resolution).
Attend a live puppet show or theater performance with your child and talk about the story arc afterward.