Bottom Line: An incredibly well-designed app to help kids understand how shapes fit together. It's easy to learn, with a fantastic tutorial and an interface that makes shapes fun. Educators and parents, this app is highly recommended and worth downloading immediately.
It was a little hard for me to review ShapeKit, but only because it is so good. When I was working through it, my 13 year old heard “animate” and quickly asked to try it out. I finally had to pry the iPad out of his hands. It’s really that good of an app. Educators and parents should just stop reading right now and go download this amazing app. Only keep reading if you’re currently away from good Wi-Fi to download.
ShapeKit, developed by KidKit, is a very smart app designed to help kids truly understand, experience and create with shapes. Did you know everything is made up of different shapes? If you were in my daughter’s second grade class this year, you would! If you missed that class, it’s also the goal of ShapeKit—provide an app to let kids build with basic shapes, combining them and animating them to create fun movies.
ShapeKit is incredibly easy to navigate. Start with the tutorial located easily in the Learn section on the home page. It’s one of the best tutorials I’ve seen in an app. It is hands on, but also provides text and voice for those who learn better that way.
After going through the entire five-part tutorial, it’s time to make some shapes! I love that it’s just a blank canvas for kids to create. There are no steps to follow or specific projects to recreate. Instead, the open-ended nature of ShapeKit helps kids to explore and create. They learn how shapes work together simply by playing with the shapes. It’s the same concept as playing with blocks. Every child deserves to discover independently, without direction, that a triangle placed atop of a square looks like a house.
It’s also easy to save creations to access them later. Save a creation and it’s easily accessible from the home screen to play with later, or even to add to it and change it. This makes the app easy to use on a classroom iPad. Everyone who uses the app can simply start a new project.
Animation is a lot of fun within ShapeKit. It takes the form of stop motion animation, with a few really nice features. As the shape is moved, the last location remains visible, allowing the user to more easily remember where it was. There are a few steps to a complete animation, so it make take some children a bit longer than others to figure it out, but it is still not complicated.
There is one more very fun area, called the Exhibit. View completed projects from other users in this section. There are currently such fun creations as a fire truck and a tiger and lion together. I also like that the projects can be saved to the Make section. After saving, kids can explore someone else’s creation, and see how the shapes fit together.
When I first tried ShapeKit, my daughter’s second grade class actually was right at the end of a unit about how shapes make up everything around us. The tutorial in ShapeKit, with the adorable jointed giraffe, reminded me of their shape creations hanging out in the hallway. I was so excited, though I now hope I remember when the second grade teachers get to the unit next year. But it was so very clear that ShapeKit is absolutely designed to integrate into classroom curriculum and activities.
ShapeKit is a fantastic app for education and at-home practice, as well as all-around fun. Even though my 13 year old is long past the age where he will discuss how we can see shapes all around us in school, he loves the process of creating something new.
My son’s only complaint was that he wanted to make more than two holes in a shape. He protested this by creating a video of a body falling apart, so it was still worth the creative experience! We also problem-solved how he could create a body with attached arms and legs (like, join two shapes together into one long body).
My only other suggestion was a grid background to better line up shapes after creating them. Otherwise, I find ShapeKit to be a well designed, bug-free, totally educational app. And it’s even fun!