imaginative play

Collins Big Cat

CBC At the Dump


The Collins Big Cat apps are free interactive books that feature voice narration, independent reading, and a story creation mode that lets children record or type their own narration and create scenes using the basic elements from the original story. Collins’ interface is excellent and has easy ‘tap to add’ and ‘hold and drag’ elements that make creating stories easy for younger users. The apps’ only major drawback is that there is no way to export an original story once it is finished. Still, the multi-functionality of the apps and the variety of stories make these apps an excellent for educational use.

Collins Big Cat apps are suitable for Early Childhood and Lower Primary.




JumbleBook is a free app that lets users create and scramble animal parts: heads, middles, and tails into fun and funky new animal combinations. Each new animal combination makes its own unique sound when tapped. The app offers scenes and a challenge mode as options to the standard animal mix and match. In-app purchases unlock other themes including aliens, dinosaurs and characters. Users can save their creations to a gallery, add them to the ipad photo stream or email them.

JumbleBook is suitable for Early Childhood and Lower Primary.

Drawing with Carl – Free

drawing with carl free

Drawing with Carl – Free is the free version of the popular Drawing Carl app. The simple, open-ended art palette features a variety of drawing and painting tools: pencil, pen, marker, oil, pastels etc. There are also limited stamp and sticker options that come in the free version.  Upgrades to tool widths and sticker and stamp varieties require a paid in-app upgrade.  Fourteen colour options as well as easy drag and drop recycle and saving options make this app’s interface ideal for younger students.

Drawing Carl – Free is suitable for Early Childhood, Lower Primary and Upper Primary.

MoMA Art Lab

MoMA Art Lab

MoMA Art Lab is a free app produced by the Museum of Modern Art that challenges users to creatively use shapes and colors in imaginative ways to produce art or practice fundamentals like line, shape, form, colour, space, repetition, and symmetry. The Art Lab app has three main modes. The default mode is a free form rectangular space where students can use a variety of shapes and a pencil tool with varying widths, both available in 36 colours, to explore and create. The two other modes are accessible by the green and orange circles at the top left corner of the art space. The green circle with a lightbulb icon gives a series of creative prompts to get ideas flowing and is an excellent way to familiarize students with artistic and technical capabilities of the app, for instance using shapes to create familiar objects and exploring the drawing, pinching, and rotating finger skills that are the basic elements of interacting within the app environment. The orange circle with the scissors and pencil icons features nine activities that familiarize Art Lab users with some of the MoMA’s most famous artworks, artists, and their techniques.  Other helpful in-app features like voice-over narration, camera and gallery increase this app’s usefulness and  general applicability in an educational setting.

MoMA Art Lab is suitable for Lower Primary, Upper Primary, and Secondary.

Felt Board

Felt Board

Felt Board is a paid app that uses felt textured backgrounds, characters, and objects to engage students in open-ended story telling and imaginative play. The app has a variety of theme based menus from which students drag and drop objects onto a pre-selected ‘felt’ background. Intuitive features like pinching make it easy to resize, turn and scale objects in the scene.  The app is also very clever about automatic resizing, for instance automatically resizing the clothes or face a student selects and drags onto an enlarged or reduced body shape. Students can also take a picture of their creation with the built in camera tool or save it to the app’s gallery window.  While this app is ideal for younger students, it has a wide variety of storytelling potential, especially in combination with other apps, for older primary aged children.  It may also be beneficial for EAL, Learning Support and Counselling.

Felt Board is suitable for Early Childhood, Lower Primary and Upper Primary