A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn to draw some of their favorite Disney characters, such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Goofy. They can also learn how to break down the parts of an object in order to draw it more easily. Disney Animation Artist shows kids how to use multiple pictures to create an animation and encourages them to think about the emotion in the picture to impact how they approach the drawing.
The app is supportive and encouraging throughout the experience.
Positive Role Models
Kids don't have the opportunity to interact with characters, but the drawings show characters playing sports and smiling.
Ease of Play
The game provides clear instructions, but it can be difficult to trace the lines exactly on the screen. There is no opportunity to edit your work. The game includes two difficulty levels, with the advanced level having additional drawing tips and information.
Products & Purchases
The game is based on popular Disney characters who have other products available, from clothes to food to toys.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Disney Animation Artist: Mickey & Friends is a downloadable app for the LeapFrog LeapPad that instructs kids in drawing, but doesn't use their actual artwork in the final coloring stage. The animation stage uses some of the child's drawings, but blends them with professional drawings.
Is It Any Good?
Disney Animation Artist: Mickey & Friends is a cool idea. Learning to draw such popular characters can be empowering and exciting for kids. It can also help them understand that a complete drawing is just a collection of lines and shapes. Unfortunately, the game doesn't live up to the potential. The first issue is that once you've drawn a line/shape, it's there. You can't erase or change it. If you make a mistake, you have to build on the mistake for the rest of the image. But even if you create something that feels like a masterpiece, the game will replace it entirely with the stock image before the coloring stage. It can be frustrating and demoralizing, especially for older kids.
The animation section does retain some of the child's work, but it's not for those who like immediate gratification. It has the same drawing challenges in terms of the lack of editing tools. And kids will have to work on numerous images required for animation. If you have a child who is old enough to be able to follow the directions, but young enough to not care that their drawing is being replaced, this could be a hit. It may even inspire them to create more artwork offline. Otherwise, your budding artist may just end up frustrated and annoyed.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.