Nov 3, 2015

Summer Special: Content Creation Apps for School Age kids

With a little advance planning, apps can bring kids together for collaborative, creative fun.

This summer, I made a few visits to our local community center where I worked with a great group of kids using some apps I loaded onto iPads that I brought along. The kids seemed to enjoy all three apps that we used, so I thought I'd share them here.  I visited the community center three times with iPads and we used a different app during each visit.

The first app that we worked with was YakIt! for Kids.  I was inspired by my friend and colleague, Anne Hicks and brought in some books and magazines with big faces on the cover. I encouraged the kids to take a picture of the cover and then use the app to add crazy eyes, mouth, and more to the picture and then record themselves speaking.  As they spoke, the mouths they'd added to their photo moved to give the impression that the photos were talking.  The kids had fun with this and didn't take long to realize that they could also photograph their friends and teachers and add silly things to those photos.

During the second week, I introduced Toontastic.  This is a fantastic and powerful app that is a great introduction to animation and the concept of creating a story arc. You can use their pre-made backgrounds, people and props or you can design your own! We barely scratched the surface of what this app can do in the one hour I was there. During subsequent visits, someone almost always asks if they can just use Toontastic again once they've played with whatever my featured app is. Toontastic could easily have been used for the entire three week session!

For the third week, we used the app Keezy. This is the simplest sound-mixing board I've ever used and there are so many great ways to use this app.  The kids in this class had already been using their hands to create rhythms, so I knew they'd enjoy the opportunity to create a whole mix of music.  Basically, there are 8 colored squares and you can use the pre-recorded sounds or make your own sound board and mix it however you want to.
I especially enjoyed the ingenuity of these two guys who searched their classroom to find different things they could use as "instruments."

I think this app would be a fun way to create soundtracks to use in the movie-making activities that go on at my library!  All of these apps were free to download and use.  I'm looking forward to trying more apps with this group over the course of the school year.

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