KidsCraft is a unique app that offers explicit instructions to make twenty different types of craft projects with children. The ideas will appeal to a range of age groups and include suggestions to expand the ideas.
Supply lists and clear directions for 20 types of projects
Step-by-step photos and illustrations
Tips and ideas to use the finished projects to promote creativity
Suggestions to modify materials or process to suit a variety of circumstances
KidsCraft provides a treasure trove of ideas for parents, care givers or teachers to use with children from preschool through the preteen years. This application has twenty different answers to the complaint of “I’m bored!” Each idea is presented with a list of specific supplies needed, suggestions to modify or adjust those supplies, directions to complete the project, and suggestions about using the finished pieces to enhance many types of play.
The navigation system in this application is particularly straightforward and easy to use. Arrows direct users to relevant pages, and numbered directions are all illustrated with photos and drawings. The final page of each project’s section includes photos of the finished items in use with ideas to try. Hints and tips to make the creative process easier are included and marked with a light bulb icon. Small but pleasant animations draw interest throughout the program.
One nice addition for the author to consider would be a master index of supplies needed for all twenty projects. If users wanted to prepare in advance, it would make it much easier to shop. It would also be helpful to include more ideas for possible substitution, and perhaps definitions for more unusual supplies. Some of the supplies needed for projects are unusual, such as gesso, gouache, wooden buttons, and plasticine. Even as an experienced classroom teacher, I have never heard of gesso or gouache, and couldn’t even make a guess that they were Plaster of Paris prepared with glue or a watercolor paint made opaque by adding gum, respectively. The art-impaired among us would appreciate a bit more guidance!
KidsCraft gets kudos for educational content, as well. Many adults dramatically underestimate the importance of helping kids do craft projects regularly, feeling that the mess and fuss simply aren’t worthwhile. In reality, craft projects support a host of academic learning and there is literally no substitute for them in building a sound foundation for school success. This app will make art projects more accessible and more easily implemented. The directions are at the fingertips, and the step-by-step format will guide even the least artsy among us. The author also provides a wealth of suggestions to extend the play beyond the creation process, so the items made won’t simply gather dust until the next housecleaning.
Skills that are nurtured by projects such as these include visualization, fine motor coordination, spatial awareness, sequencing, and following directions. All of these and many more are in play when the creative juices get flowing with crafts such as these.
After the project is completed, watch how each item will provide opportunities for imaginative play.
One new idea would be a page of child-friendly directions in addition to the more detailed adult-oriented ones. This might allow children who cannot yet read well enough to access the information independently.
Of course, most the entertainment value in KidsCraft lies in what you do with the information, but the app designers did a good job in making the program pleasant and attractive. The background music is bouncy but not obnoxious. If you do find that you want to silence it, just click the music notes icon at the top right corner of the screen. The screens are designed with bright colors, but organized and have enough white space to be very pleasant to look at. Small animated drawings peek out every now and then that may well capture the attention of younger users.
KidsCraft is an excellent value for its $1.99 price tag. With twenty craft ideas to choose from, it offers more ideas than many books. It also gives users enough supporting information about variations, modifications and applications that each project can be tweaked and completed again and again. The information presented offers hours of fun for children.
This application is well-designed for the intended audience (adults and older children). It’s rated at 4+ in the App Store because the content is intended for use with younger children, not because young children could use the app on their own. The Contacts section does contain unprotected links to social media and the internet, and there is a system to email app developers. It would be better to have this section better protected from the very young, perhaps by requiring a double tap or other special access gesture that small children wouldn’t be able to do by accident. There is no outside advertising and no in-app purchases.