Instead of just watching cartoons, your children can create their own! Toontastic 3D is an app developed by Google Inc. that lets children make animated movies. The kids get to be the actors, directors, editors, and so much more. It's suitable for children ages 6 to 12.
Toontastic is available for free in the App Store and Google Play store. Not only is it is free to download but there are no annoying ads and no in-app purchases. The app works on smartphones, tablets and some Chromebooks.
After downloading the app, it will be pretty easy for your child to figure out how to get started. First, they pick how many scenes they want their story to have and a voiceover briefly explains storyboarding.
Then your child can select from several settings or draw their own. Next, it's time to create a cast. Users can pick up to seven characters and customize them or draw their own. Children can even put themselves in the movie by replacing a character's face with a selfie.
Once the setting and characters are chosen, your child can "start filming." After pressing "start," your child can speak dialogue aloud and use their finger to move the characters around the screen. Then, they can add music to the scene.
They repeat these steps for each scene until the story is finished. Finally, they add film credits and watch their masterpiece. If they like it, they can export the film to the device's media library to be shared on social media or sent to family members. If they don't like it, they can edit scenes or delete it and start from scratch.
Although this app records your child's voice and saves pictures, this private information and the videos they create are stored within the app and not on some external web database. Children don't need to (and can't) create an account to use it; there's no place to create a login and password or input an email address.
After using it myself, it looks like a cute and fun way that encourages children to be creative. There are endless setting/character/story combinations and they can watch videos in the "Idea Lab" for inspiration. Toontastic 3D works offline too, so a Wi-Fi connection isn't necessary unless they want to watch an Idea Lab video.
Watch the video below to see a demonstration.