I do not consider myself as a creative person, but I work very hard to become one. Many people believe that creativity is a gift that God has given to a few lucky individuals, but I believe that everyone has that creativity seed in them. It's just a matter of how you cultivate that seed with various inspiring activities.
As a parent, I believe it is my responsibility to provide an inspiring environment where my juniors can play and experiment to cultivate their creativity. On the other hand, setting up such environment on your own is not a trivial task. Fortunately, Toca Boca and their excellent digital toy apps have helped me with this parental task.
Toca Tailor is the latest toy app from Toca Boca that allows your juniors to design their own wardrobes in a fun and comfortable setting. With four different characters that you can choose to dress in (almost) unlimited combinations, Toca Tailor is indeed an inspiring environment for your juniors to play and experiment what it's like to become a professional tailor.
If you're playing Toca Tailor for the first time, you will go through a tutorial that shows you how you can switch the shape of the clothes by tapping on the clothes; adjust the length of the clothes by pressing down and dragging up/down until it suits your preference; and access various colors and patterns that you can use for your clothes. The tutorial shows how you can drag a color/pattern onto the piece of clothing that you want to design; pinch to rotate and/or zoom it; and add various buttons, pockets and accessories.
In addition to these basic activities, you can also import an image from your Camera Roll (or take a new photo) to be used as patterns for your clothes. This allows you to have unique and personalized patterns that the game does not provide. Nearing the end of the workflow, the tutorial shows how you can add accessories such as hats, shoes, scarves and glasses to complete your outfit.
Finally, if you want to store your design, you can take a snapshot of the dressed-up character by tapping the Camera button on the top right corner. If you want to see how your character would look like in a real life settings, you can tap on the Panoramic button instead. This will allow you to place the character as an overlay to whatever background you are shooting with your camera. I personally prefer to use the iPhone's camera over the iPad's for this augmented reality photo shoot. Just remember that you can also tap on the character and drag it anywhere you like within the photo frame.
What parents need to know
Even though your juniors can play Toca Tailor by themselves, it would be a much rewarding experience for you and your juniors if you could play alongside them. You get to ask them questions on their selections, encourage them to be braver in their experiments, and show them that there is almost no limit to their imagination. Even by asking them to mimic the clothes that they currently wear is already a nice exercise for them. When they can customize their clothes, you may also learn about what they like and what they don't like.
The augmented reality feature that allows you to take photographs of the dressed-up characters in real life settings is also a great creativity exercise for your juniors. For example, you can search for photographs of your next holiday destination and ask your juniors what kind of outfit they would prefer to wear on their visit. It truly is a nice exercise for your juniors. They probably would get excited about the trip and start to take ownership of some preparations for the trip.
I believe by being aware that they can choose and design their own clothes, they can learn to have their own opinions, preferences and personalities. They may be more excited the next time you take them along to shop for clothes, and hopefully they can really be inspired to become a professional fashion designer when they grow up.
What I like about the app
Even though the tutorial shows the workflow as a sequence of activities, the truth is you can basically start from any activity and repeat them as many times as you like. For example, you will find that choosing the accessories first might give you an idea of what color you should choose for your clothes. You may also repeat the clothing design process multiple times, because you want to see how the character looks like in its complete outfit. If you want to go the extreme, you might start from where the background of your would-be augmented reality photo and work your way from there.
I am not a fashion designer, but I enjoyed spending many hours playing with the app. I enjoyed tweaking the shapes of the clothes, switching colors and patterns for the garments, trying out different accessories, and playing with the augmented reality photoshoots. Toca Tailor really pushes the boundaries of how creative you can get by allowing you to import any image as patterns for your garments. All of a sudden, you would get a new reason to do a photo hunt, i.e. finding a pattern for your next Toca Tailor design competition. I can't wait to try what my Olloclip can do to find macro photographs to use for the garment patterns.
Toca Tailor is a fun digital toy that could allow your juniors to roam free with their imaginations to design their own wardrobes. It is a great tool for experimentation where they can try out different designs in a relatively short amount of time. Having the ability to import photos and external patterns into the app makes the app even better. I highly recommend Toca Tailor to parents who want to provide an inspiring environment for their juniors to cultivate their creativity.
Get Toca Tailor on the App Store.