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What we love…

Unlimited backgrounds and characters with the use of the app’s drawing pad and camera, animated characters and props, teaches how to write a story, ability to use it to teach different subjects, access to toolkits and lesson plans

What we’d love to see…

More characters sets, ability to save personalized characters

Summary

An ingenious app that is loads of fun, fosters creativity, and enhances storytelling and writing skills.

Our Rating

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Toontastic: All Access is a universal app, and the flagship app of SanFrancisco – based Launchpad Toys. Although the app has been available for a long time it has recently undergone a major update with the introduction of Toontastic 2.0,  Toontastic is also available as a free app with in-app purchases, this review is of the full version. Toontastic is an open-ended cartoon creator and teaching tool in one, its main purpose is to teach kids how to become an effective storyteller, but it can also be used to teach other school subjects and to develop speech and language skills.

When creating a new cartoon, children are introduced to the building blocks of a story, or scenes that make up the story arc of a cartoon.  There are 5 scenes laid out on the screen:  setup, conflict, challenge, climax, and resolution.  Audio guides take children through the step-by-step process of creating a cartoon and do an excellent job of explaining what the purpose of each scene is.  Audio guides may be turned off in the settings option once the child is familiar with how the app works or if you choose to use your own prompts.

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The first step is to setup their story by selecting the background and introducing the characters.  Toontastic has a great selection of beautifully illustrated backgrounds to choose from. and children can also create their own by drawing or using their  own photographs.  Next, they select their characters from the large selection of animated characters and props available.  Animations like mouth movements, walking, rocket launching, and drumbeats add excitement and life to the scenes.  In addition, kids can personalize the characters by replacing the characters’ faces with their own photographs.  This is done by taking two photos, one front facing and one side facing, and adjusting them to fit into the space where character’s face goes. They can also change the colors of the pre-made characters and props by simply choosing the color they want and then clicking on the part they wish to change.  If they cannot find a character they like or need, they can draw their own.  Note that when they draw their own characters they will not be animated like the ones that come with the app, nor can they personalize the faces of their characters with their own photos.   I love that Toontastic allows kids to create their own backgrounds and characters because it encourage artistic creativity and makes the app limited only by children’s imaginations.

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After they have selected their background and characters, it is time put some action into their story.  Characters can be enlarged or shrunk down to size and once the characters are in place, tap the start button on the top of the screen.  There is a 3 second countdown before the app starts recording their voices and animations.  Animation is done by simply dragging the characters anywhere on the screen.  There is a 60 second limit for each scene.  Once they are finished with the animation they choose the background music for their scene.  Background music creates emotion for the scene.  Toontastic has six emotions with three levels each to choose from.

The next steps are to create the conflict, challenge, climax, and resolution scenes.  Once they have completed their cartoon, they are prompted for a title and their (director’s) name.  Their cartoon will be automatically saved and they also have an option to upload them to ToonTube.  Toontube is Toontastic’s sharing platform on the web.  Parents will need to create a ToonTube account before their children can upload their cartoons.   When children upload to ToonTube, Toontastic sends parents an email informing them that their children have uploaded a cartoon and parents must approve the cartoon before it is published.  Parents can also set their children’s cartoon to public or private viewing.  Also, whenever children use their own photographs, Toontastic first reviews the cartoon before sending it to the parents for approval.  I love that Toontastic makes it very safe for children to upload their creations and to watch other cartoons on ToonTube.

Another thing I love is Toontastic’s #LaunchpadEDU site where teachers and therapists share their Toontastic tips, ideas, and lesson plans.  Toontastic also provides a Storytelling Workshop Kit, Story Design Worksheets, character cutouts, and plenty of  Toontastic related activities you can do with your children.  You get so much more than just an app when you get Toontastic!

In future updates, I would like to be able to be able to have customized characters/props saved once they are made.  Currently, if they personalize a pre-made character by changing its colors or taking a photograph it is not saved, so they would have to repeat the process of taking a photograph and re-coloring every time they create a new scene.   I would also like to see more characters sets in the future.

Toontastic is an ingenious app that is sure to be loved by kids of all ages.  It is loads of fun, fosters creativity, and enhances storytelling and writing skills.  This is an app that is sure to be a permanent fixture in children and educators’ iPads.   It is not cheap, but it is definitely worth your investment and I cannot recommend it highly enough! If you are looking for an app to spark creativity, writing, and learning, then you need not look further than Toontastic by Launchpad Toys.

 
Toontastic: All Access – Launchpad Toys

mzl.zfeljvyg Toontastic: All Access by Launchpad Toys  Review
Toontastic: School Edition
by Launchpad Toys

Category: Education, Games, Educational, Family
Requirements: Compatible with iPadMini, iPad 2 3G, iPadFourthGen, iPadMini4G, iPad 3G, iPadFourthGen4G, iPadThirdGen4G, iPad 2 WiFI, iPadThirdGen, iPad WiFi
Size: 680.81 MB

$9.99USD

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)
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Free lite version

mzl.ovvxybkb Toontastic: All Access by Launchpad Toys  Review
Toontastic
by Launchpad Toys

Category: Education, Games, Educational, Family
Requirements: Compatible with iPadThirdGen, iPad WiFi, iPad 2 3G, iPadFourthGen4G, iPadThirdGen4G, iPadMini, iPadFourthGen, iPad 2 WiFI, iPadMini4G, iPad 3G
Size: 680.87 MB

$FREE

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)
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OCTOBER 24-30 2013 ONLY
The iMums have teamed up with Launchpad Toys to launch a great contest using Toontastic – read all about it here