Let’s Put on a Show!

During the summer holidays, we spent a couple of days doing activities based on the themeof some of our favourite apps (see Bugs and Buttons and Pirate Scribblebeard).  We had so much fun, that we decided to do another one, this time based on Theater by Appracadabra. My children enjoy playing it often, and it is perfect for them to use alone or together.

Theater lets your child choose different elements for a play and then act it out. It is beautifully drawn with traditional storybook artwork by Dutch designer Xander Wiersma. You choose between 3 scenes, 10 props and 6 characters which is just enough to provide many different combinations without being too busy or overwhelming for young children.  This could be a well-known scene such as Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf in the forest with Grandma’s house, or a more unusual combination, like a fairy and a pirate in the sea with hot air balloons.

Once you have made your choices, your play can begin! It is entirely up to you how the play develops (although it is always between two characters) as there are no rules or prompts.  Just swipe the characters around the screen with your finger. When you have finished, click on the hands at the bottom corner to receive a round of applause from the audience.

Mr Tall and Little Miss Chatterbox spend a long time making short plays and I noted down just a couple of their future West End masterpieces:

“The pirate and the fairy went to play with the ball in the field and they went home and had a rest and the pirate read a bedtime story to the fairy. THE END”

“The strong man and the fairy – a love story. He lifts her up but she has wings so she doesn’t need to be lifted up! THE END”

Little Miss Chatterbox is clearly sticking up for strong female characters.

You can personalise each character with your child’s face (or indeed your own) – we love wearing the strongman’s moustache. There also is some theatrical piano music which can be turned off or on (we like to leave it on).

One thing to note: Because this is an app designed to copy the movements of real puppets, the characters can sometimes be tricky to manoeuvre (mainly in the seascape) or look a little strange when sitting or lying down. That aside, we love the simplicity of this app and the way you can put together your own fairy tale show, just the way you want it. It’s a great way to get young children involved in telling their own stories, making their own choices, and co-operating with siblings or friends.

We were inspired by using Theater to make our own shoe box theatre as well as some other crafts and activities. Have a look at what we got up to…

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Theater (NB to be renamed Puppet-show in the next few months), developed by Appracadabra, compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Available from https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/theater-appracadabra/id531501241?mt=8 priced at £2.49/$3.99 at time of writing. You can read my interview with Appracadabra here.

Sources for activities: Shoebox theatre from http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/paper-puppets3.htm; Paper dolls from http://familycrafts.about.com/od/paperdolls/ig/Paper-Doll-Accessories/Paper-Doll-Body.htm;  Matching game images from Microsoft Clipart.

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