Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Crafty Ideas to Make the Summer Fly

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Crafty Ideas to Make the Summer Fly

Article excerpt

Apps like Foldify and PaperChibi are jammed with arty projects that let you and your children create real-life playthings.

My home grows a little noisier this time of year because my children are on their summer break from school. You might be in the same boat.

So here's an idea: Instead of occupying them with a television or handing over an iPad, try using tech more creatively. Many apps are jammed with arts and crafts ideas for children and families.

Foldify, a $4 iPad app, helps parents make something tangible with their children. It has many shape templates ready to be printed, cut and glued into temporary toys, like a cube-shaped person or a car. Inside the app, children can color the templates to their hearts' content using a digital painting interface.

They can drop in their own photos, cartoon eyes and other amusing extras onto the template. The app displays how the final assembled 3- D item will appear as you paint.

Once the template is complete, it can be shared via e-mail, Twitter or Facebook, or printed for assembly. The app also has an online database of templates that other users have designed that can be downloaded and printed. This app is really easy to use, but its features mean younger children could use some supervision.

On Android, a roughly equivalent app isPaperChibi, which costs $3. This 3-D app with paper templates is more limited. Instead of freehanding designs on its main screen, you pick from set options for eyes and hair color and so on.

The templates, including people, cars and dinosaurs, are limited as well.

When it comes to printing, the app lets you choose different complexities for the final model, from a simple box to a highly detailed figure that would easily take half an hour to cut out and glue. Though it can make fun toys, the app has a menu system that is a little frustrating.

Dorling Kindersley's Kids' Crafts is a $7 iPad app based on the publisher's successful books. It's simply designed in bold colors with straightforward graphics, and it has a few nice touches, like a jingling-bells effect to appeal to children. …

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