Parents that believe arcade games improve hand-eye coordination and Angry Birds improves decision-making in kids won't have as far a stretch convincing themselves that Snowflake Station by KBoom Games has true play-and-learn potential. There is lot of content packed into this app for $1.99. While the ability to create your own virtual flake is available in on-line games and in other apps, KBoom ups the ante with the means to decorate each creation and insert it into a photo of one’s choosing. This concept is truly original, a rarity with half a million apps now available.
The Snowflake Station, as it’s called, is made up of three distinct activities. There is a Workshop, a Creation Station and a Frame Shop. The Workshop includes a tutorial followed by guided practice using 28 pre-made snowflake designs. The pre-made flakes have dotted lines to trace that give little fingers a head start on mastering the lines and curves they’ll need for writing. The tutorial is narrated by the helpful Mrs. Judd and gives step by step visual guidance on how to “cut,” decorate and save flakes. Mrs. Judd’s helpful instructions and the background music can be turned off at any time.
Tracing your way through the workshop isn’t as much fun as creating your own flakes, but the practice will result in more aesthetically pleasing flakes once you move to the Creation Station. The station is full of options with choices for number of paper folds and color of the paper. There’s even glitter to give your flake that little something extra. My cuts were a bit more ragged than the workshop flakes, but with symmetry, even the most hacked-up creation unfolds into something interesting and beautiful. Once you’ve made your final cut and sprinkled that last bit of glitter, the flake can be saved and framed.
There are a number of winter scenes into which you can put your creation in the Frame Shop section. The app also lets you use your own photos or take a picture with the on-board camera. Images with either a single large flake, or multiple falling flakes inserted into the scene can be saved to the photo roll and emailed or printed from there. Hello 2012 Holiday Card.
There are a number of enhancements I’d suggest for Snowflake Station. These aren’t an indication that the app lacks something but rather an endorsement that I see uses for the app beyond the confines of the iPad.
Adding solid backgrounds to the frame shop would allow single flakes to be more vividly set off and make attractive mats if the saved images are ever transferred to paper. Even better would be the chance to print out a flake’s pattern with dashes for the folds and dots to cut along. An entire pre-school class would then have the chance to make a full-proof flake. Making a set of do-it-yourself doilies is also a possibility. I made it snow on my house in Florida with this app so clearly anything is possible.
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This review was completed by Jill Goodman. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.