A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What 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'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.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Device: iPad
- Subjects: Language & Reading: storytelling
Arts: drawing, theater
- Skills: Creativity: imagination, producing new content
Communication: multiple forms of expression
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: November 2, 2011
- Category: Education
- Size: 176.00 MB
- Publisher: Launchpad Toys
- Version: 1.40
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.3 or later
For kids who love storytelling and creativity
Our editors recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.