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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Domo Animate is a free online animation tool set in the colorful world of Domo, a cute brown monster. Originally known as a Japanese tv station's mascot, the character has gained popularity in the US in the form of plush toys, games, and comic books. Along with his bespectacled bunny buddy, Mr. Usagi, Domo navigates a fantastical world where he can have any adventure your kid chooses. It's super fun, free, and although it looks superficial, it's actually a pretty solid animation platform for learning the basics. It's easy to embed storytelling lessons and a little bit of film education into play, so time spent in Domo's world is worth it.
What's it about?
Domo Animate is an online animation platform where kids can create their own short video animation. From the people at Go Animate, the site is basically a testing ground for their product, but it's a great place for kids to learn animation and storytelling skills. You'll register, then log in to the site. It's a drag-and-drop interface; drag Domo or one of his buds from the sidebar on the left into a panel featuring background scene of your choice. You can adjust character and item size, as well as facial expression, actions (which include even more \"emotions\") and movement. Movements include fly, run, walk, and slide, while actions are more specific but arbitrary, like fish, rub tummy, or play piano.
There are three other worlds besides Domo's to choose characters and accessories from: Cartoon Classics, Holiday & Seasonal, Monsters Mayhem, and Stick Figure; you can mix-and-match between them. Once you have a few panels completed, you can preview what you have so far to make sure your movements are fluid and the story makes sense.
Is it any good?
Stick with the Domo animation set, and it's simply delightful. Domo and his posse are adorable, and you can create a complete story with the available options. It's beyond fun and wonderfully detailed; with a little time, your Domo animations will look fantastic.
Disappointingly, the non-Domo options (Holiday, Cartoon Classics, etc) aren't as good. A flying Christmas fairy looks like Pamela Anderson, and most female characters are in suggestive poses. You can mix elements from each world, which is nice, but the Domo menu has the most warmth and creativity.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes a good story. Have kids relay the plots of their favorite fairy tales or short books; how could they create a comic that follows the same lines?
There are some high-quality graphic novels for kids available these days. Take your kids to the library or bookstore and peruse the comic section.
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.