Digital Masterpieces from Family Fun Magazine

Here are a few of 19 fab apps selected by Kim Conte and Liz Gumbinner for Family Fun Magazine that inspire creativity. They sound so great, I want to try them even without the Grands! But I think they would be really fun to do together.! Here is the link to the actual article - pick out something Grand!

Creating Comics: Friendstrip Kids Pro Teachers will tell you that any genre that gets kids reading is worthwhile, and that includes comics—especially when your kid is writing, designing, and starring in it! There are 85 templates, with stories written by comedy pros, though the text is totally customizable for your children’s own original, action-packed storytelling. But the best part is that the illustrated frames are also designed to incorporate your kids’ own photos—of themselves, pets, dolls, friends, you name it—bringing plenty of creative skills together. Plus you get to add Pow! stickers. Can’t have a comic without a few Pow! stickers, right? Free download for iOS, but $3 in-app purchase for all the templates; $2 on Android, with in-app purchases; ages 4+, but ideal for ages 6 to 9.

Musical Competition: Scape Yes, it’s pricey, but wow, this is one the whole family can get into. Created in part by Brian Eno (yes, that Brian Eno), it lets you make incredible ambient music by creating a gorgeous visual scene. Choose a background, and then assemble various shapes, textures, and colors in the foreground, with each one assigned a different musical “behavior.” Each element changes depending on what else is around it, so every single combination will result in a different landscape (or “scape”) of sound. We love that there’s no “right” answer or result. It’s about the process. Plus, kids can use it in conjunction with the other apps here to make their own background music for audio stories or short films! $12, iOS; ages 4+, but even toddlers may enjoy using it with your supervision. 

Storytelling: Scribble Press Creative Book Maker This is a longtime favorite creative app of ours that offers 35 Mad Libs–style story starters for people to fill in. Once the story is complete, they can select various backgrounds to overlay with their own drawings, or ready-made stickers and stamps, for a mini book all their own, ready for showing off. A nice touch: Kids can also upload their own photos if they want to be the star of their story. Or they can record narration and turn it into an audiobook. But what we really love best is the blank-book option, allowing our tweens to create their own short story entirely from scratch. $3, iOS and Android (find it under the name Scribble: Kids Book Maker); ages 4+, but best for kids 6 to 10. 

Digital Illustration: Procreate Our sixth- and seventh-grade daughters are obsessive digital artists, and this painting app is a big win. It gives them remarkable power and flexibility, all with an extremely userfriendly interface. Whether your kids are into watercolor, pen-and-ink sketching, manga, or something of their own making, the control and detail that Procreate offers is mind-blowing. All for less than the cost of one good paintbrush! And it’s helped one of my daughters learn more about shading, color, and texture, which she can then bring to her offline work. $6, iPad; ages 4+ with a parent’s help, kids 8+ can access more features on their own. For an Android alternative, try ArtRage; $5 on Google Play. Tip: Don’t forget a stylus! This is a must for kids who want to try digital illustration. Look for something manageable for small hands, with a fine tip for precision. There are plenty of affordable options, but I’m a fan of the Adonit Pro stylus. $30;

Journaling: Me By Tinybop From one of our favorite small developers, this storytelling app offers a modern, dynamic way for kids to preserve memories. They start by creating their own avatar, using an impressively diverse range of skin colors, hairstyles, and accessories. From there, they can choose from hundreds of questions that all invite self-reflection. Autobiographical prompts such as “this is my family” or “this is my favorite thing to do inside” get them started, and the app adds other prompts that may draw out more emotional responses. Children can answer in the form of original drawings, clip art, and text, yielding some fantastic pages. They can even record audio or create a video journal. We love not just the creativity the app inspires but also the memorable family discussions that can result. Very cool. $3, iOS; ages 4+, but kids 6 to 10 will do better if using it on their own.

Drawing: Sago Mini Doodlecast "You can't teach your child to be creative, but you can provide good tools so creativity can happen," says Dr. Buckleitner. He suggests downloading a bunch of drawing apps and together with your child experimenting to see which ones are best. The popular Sago Mini Doodlecast app has more than 30 storytelling prompts ("What moves on wheels?" "What is your favorite food?") and simultaneously records your child's voice as he or she draws. You and your child will get a kick out of playing back these drawing "movies" and seeing how the creative process unfolds. Ages 2-6; $2.99.

Creative Play: Elmo's Monster Maker According to Dr. Buckleitner, one of the easiest ways to empower your child's creativity is to first, show them how to use the app, and second (and maybe even more important), show them how to undo their work. "When a child realizes they are free to play and can get out of something they might not like, a light goes off," he said. "It increases the chance he or she will feel good about something they create." Elmo's Monster Maker app lets your child build his or her own monster by choosing the body and giving it an eyes, nose, hat, and more. The best part? The monster can be changed as many times as your child wants. Ages 2-5; $2.99.

STEM: Thinkrolls Kings & Queens These days a number of apps are making science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fun and accessible for kids. Just be sure to look for ones that help your child problem-solve and extend his or her knowledge outside the screen, said Dr. Levine. The Thinkrolls Kings & Queens app is an excellent choice, challenging kids to use logic, memory and problem-solving skills to think their way through hundreds of puzzles against a fantastical backdrop of kings, queens, dragons, castles, flying potions, and more. Ages 5 and up; $3.99.

Acting: TeleStory Help your child express his or her creative side on camera with TeleStory. Kids can create, produce and record themselves starring in television shows using a variety of sound effects, theme music and on-screen costumes. The app encourages children to plan shows carefully, write the script, and even rehearse before recording—all essential components of the creative process. And with great theme music and exciting animations, this app is tons of fun. Ages 5 and up; free.