Target Age: 5 to 8
Price (as of publishing): FREE
Toontastic, while not a new app, is still one of the most creative and dynamic apps for kids that we have reviewed. The team at Toontastic have melded the best parts of instruction, design, and collaborative play to inspire kids to create. Think about all the imaginary play your child does, now you have a way to extend that play to encourage language development in meaningful ways.
For free you get access to the complete storytelling path with options for adding narration, background music, designing your own characters plus sharing and viewing in the global TuneTube community. Gather inspiration from toons others have created. Save and share your toons with kids around the world or your close friends and family.
How parents are using toontastic?
- Creating stories (and memories) together with their child.
- Sparking a love of reading in kids by linking toontastic to retelling of favorite stories.
- Sharing toons created at home with family and friends to encourage and inspire their child.
How teachers are using toontastic?
- Introducing new concepts with engaging cartoon style mini-lessons.
- Inspiring kids to share their learning with in-app thematic story toys.
- Transforming professional development with playful use of this excellent teaching tool.
Two KinderTown tips for using Toontastic:
1. We encourage both parents and teachers to help kids plan out their story ahead of time. Kids are able to create easily right in toontastic, but young children especially have a hard time creating and connecting independent parts of stories.
2. Let your imagination run wild! Kids can create their own backgrounds and characters. What might not look like much to the adult eye might be elaborate to your child. Let them design and build, who knows what just might emerge.
Ideal for parents and inspiring for kids when used together with adults. Create your own cartoons to send via twitter, SMS, email and Facebook. This app makes saying “Happy Birthday” or “Wish You Well” so much more fun! Download MonkeyGram today for free.
Show What You Know
“Play inspires and scaffolds the creative process from an early age, but there is a persistent gap between the origins of imaginative play (ages 4-5) and kids’ adoption of the formal discipline of creative writing (ages 8-10).” — Launchpad Toys
Activity 1: Window Writing (and washing)
1. Window markers – Crayola makes quality window markers
2. Glass cleaner
3. Wet wipes
5. Trash can
Perfect for these hot summer days that are keeping kids indoors. All you need to have are window markers and wet wipes to use as an eraser. Make sure to keep a trash can nearby, you don’t want your flooring to take on any rainbow colors. Wipe down a few windows before handing over the markers. Who knows, maybe your kids will help you finish cleaning all the other windows after this activity.
5 ideas for window writing:
- Shape race: Draw shapes on the window at your child’s eye line. Explain that you are going to name a shape and their job is to erase it. Switch it up, call shapes and have your child draw it. You can do this activity with numbers, letters and words too.
- Start a game of tic-tac-toe or hangman. Make use of the large window space by expanding on these traditional games.
- Tape a mirror to the other side of the window. Let kids “paint” their face by writing on the glass. Remove the mirror and admire the creations.
- Have kids who are reading and writing? Start a family story. Keep the markers by the window. The rule is you only get to write one sentence at a time. Take turns adding sentences to the story over a few days. Come back together to see how the story turned out.
- Plan out your Toontastic story line on the windows before getting out the app.
Topic for Parents: Readiness Activities
This month’s topic for parents comes from the creators of Reading Kingdom, the online reading program that’s disguised as a game.
Dr. Blank addresses one of the reasons why Toontastic, storytelling and thoughtful pre-writing activities are important to start at a young age. In her discussion of readiness activities she states that, “there has to be a kind of conscious awareness of language that is executed in a steady, deliberate manner. The failure to prepare children for the much more demanding processes required in writing is one of the reasons why children commonly report that they hate writing.”
Read more tips and strategies for helping your child get ready for reading and writing at the Reading Kingdom blog.