Bottom Line: This is a fun little app that allows for multiple layers of creativity by kids as well as their parents by letting them customize characters, voice recordings and even create their own stories from scratch with available stickers.
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Our beautiful and talented Ellie got to play with tapStory. Have a look:
The app opens with a few easy set-ups. One of the most important is setting up a parent passcode to keep little fingers from accessing purchases or external links. Once the passcode is established, kids are free to tap and explore or parents can sit down with their kiddos and learn how to create together. The homescreen gives access to both of the free stories, "Pea and Carrot" and "Ten Birds" as well as seven stories available for purchase that range in price from $2.99 to $7.99. Users can also get straight to creating their own stories using characters and backgrounds from the stories that are included or purchased. The homescreen also has what they call an "apron" which is a menu that appears along the top and side of the screen after tapping the tapStory finger. This area includes the about section as well as settings. Settings give adults options to turn off or on the auto record feature, video tagging and visual prompts for learning how to navigate. Turning these features off does not make them disappear but keeps them from starting without asking first. Children will still be able to approve them when creating. The about section gives a link to the developer website, a place to leave feedback and a link to leave a review in the app store.
Once all of the set-up nitty-gritty has taken place kids get can straight to story making. A good place to start is with the included stories. Once a story has been selected, users can click on the upper left icon to open the menu apron to edit the story and make voice recordings as they see fit. Users can flip, rotate, move, enlarge, reduce and have an all around festive time tinkering with story objects and characters. Although new text cannot be added to existing stories, users can have fun narrating as they see fit. The app is easy to learn how to use and navigation as well as customization is intuitive. Once a story is complete. Children have the chance to save their creations with a simple text description or a video explanation.
Having a section to create a story from scratch is a great way to promote literacy and creativity. Users are allowed to create a story with their own text using illustrations from the included stories and purchased stories. After finishing, kids can edit as many times as they please, but they may only have one story saved to be read unless parents purchase the unlimited story creation option for $4.99.
This app worked well with no apparent bugs. The layout is clean, easy to understand and navigate and illustrations are beautiful. Although I would like to see the ability to change text within stories or to draw or add personal illustrations, the app stands well as-is and works even better with opting to purchase some of the options available such as unlimited story creation or additional pre-written stories. Overall, a good find for staying creative and literate over the summer.
Cynthia is hard at work hiding from her children who have forgotten how to do almost everything on their own since it's summer. Send help. *Smart Apps for Kids was paid a priority review fee for this post.