Friday, January 26, 2018

Children’s iPad App, Creature Garden by Tinybop

Reviewed by Susan Stephenson,

Creature Garden by Tinybop is a digital toy style of app that encourages kids to play and explore.

From the developer:

The Creature Garden is No. 6 in Tinybop's Digital Toys series which let kids create their own worlds. Each Digital Toys app is an open-ended construction kit for kids to build, test, and play. Kids develop creative-thinking, problem-solving, and storytelling skills.

+ Build thousands of different creatures from 100+ parts.
+ Test your creatures to see if they will (or won’t!) walk, swim, and fly.
+ Save and organize all your creatures in a curiosity cabinet.
+ Create a garden for your creatures to live in.
+ Play with, feed, and groom your creatures.
+ Creatures eat, sleep, and poop!
+ Cross your creatures to create new breeds.
+ Race your creatures. See which is the fastest.
+ Make races harder with obstacles.
+ Keep track of your creatures’ best statistics.
+ Easy-to-use, safe, and kid-friendly design.
+ Multi-user system: each child can create and save their own robots.
+ Entertaining for kids and adults alike.
+ No in-app purchases or 3rd party advertising. Play in peace!
+ Original artwork by Natasha Durley.
+ Original sound design.

What I liked:

I love to find apps that encourage kids to create something. In Creature Garden, the idea is to add hooves, horns, wings, beaks, paws and claws to bodies and create fantastical creatures, and then play with them.

I admired the variety of body parts kids can use for their creations. It’s easy to snap parts together or change them round. I think kids will enjoy not just creating the creatures, but also racing them against each other, and setting up obstacles or enhancements in the races. I particularly liked Durley's art work that made the body parts - lots of vibrant colours and patterns to mix and match.

Each creature can be saved to the camera roll, and kept inside the game in a curiosity cabinet. I wish there was a way to save the creature as an image by itself rather than with the frame the app puts around it. But this can be fixed by teaching kids to crop an image.

Creature Garden by Tinybop would make a useful app for kids to design their own avatars. It would also be a creative language idea to come up with a name for the creature that reflects its body parts - a Fishhorturtle or a Cockafrog. Kids could use the creature they create as inspiration for a mock information report - discussing habitat, food, prey etc or ditch the pseudo factual and go straight for a fantasy narrative.

Where can you get it?

I’ll be adding this app to my list of iPad apps that kids can create with. Check out my iPad App Reviews on Pinterest, and find more apps and articles via my Listly page.

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