I don't know if you noticed, but lately there's been an increase in apps that mix digital play with physical activities. We've actually featured some of them on the blog; Foldify, KidsCraft, and Mini-U: Boutique are several great examples. Personally I am a big supporter of these apps. Gadgets may have their benefits for kids, but it is important to have an active offline life too. That said, today I have another app to show you that rewards kids with toys to play with in the real world: Gomma Friends.
Developed by Gomma Play, Gomma Friends is mainly a dress-up game in which kids can assemble outfits for eight colorful characters. What makes the game interesting is its rewards -- for every scene your juniors clear, they will earn a sticker which unlocks a printable PDF file for making paper toys and crafts.
The way the game goes is like this: first, kids drag a character to any of the eight included scenes. Then, they pick out an outfit from the closet which would fit the theme of the scene. For example, pajamas and an eye mask for the Bedtime scene, a jersey and sport shoes for Basketball, and a raincoat and boots for Rainy Day. To put on an outfit, just drag it onto the character.
Next comes the fun part, which is completing a mini games that comes with every scene. Some games that you can find include moving cups and buckets across the scene to catch raindrops, collecting toys into a bag, and popping colorful balloons to clear a room. These games are quite simple so they should be suitable for kids as young as two years old.
As I've mentioned previously, the app rewards kids with a sticker every time they complete a scene. These stickers can then be used to unlock colorful printables for crafting paper toys. Each scene has two unlockable stickers, meaning there are as many as 16 printables to collect. To unlock a different sticker for a completed scene, simply replay that scene with another character.
Parents Need to Know
All the stickers that your juniors have collected are kept in the Gift Book. You can access this feature by tapping on the pink book on the Home screen. Don't forget that you can tap on a sticker to see the printable "gift" that it unlocks, such as doll house sets, paper basketball game, princess crown, and animal masks.
To download a gift, first you should register for a free account using your email or social media accounts. Once logged in, you can then tap on the Print button which will direct you to the app's official website. Tap on a sticker to bring up the download pop-up. If you have set up a wireless printer set up at your home, you can print the PDF file directly from your iPad via AirPrint. If not, you can always log into the website on your desktop computer.
Once you have printed out the files, you can proceed to cut them out to create various toys, like cake sets, doll houses, and paper dolls. It should be noted that although completing the activities in the app should be easy enough for young kids, crafting the paper toys will require adult supervision. Not to say that these toys are difficult to assemble, but they do require some time and patience.
Things I Like
Gomma Friends is a cute app that I rather fancy. While the app itself is simple, I thought the idea of providing kids with printable rewards is clever. Having unlocked almost all of these paper crafts, I think they are interesting and well-made. My favorite is the doll house set that you unlock by completing the Bedtime scene, but the cake slice play set from Birthday Party is quite cute as well.
In terms of presentation, I think the app looks nice. The user interface is fairly straightforward so kids should be able to pick it up right away. Plus, there is minimal text or verbal instructions, so it is mostly language-neutral.
I also think that the scenes are colorful and the characters adorable. I especially like that each character has a distinct look and a name, which makes them relatable. However I do wish that that they offered more interactivity as we dress them.
I like Gomma Friends. I think it's a wonderful app because it provides a fun experience both on the iPad and outside it. Through the dress-up game kids can learn to coordinate outfits with themes, and through the paper craft activity they can develop their fine motor skills. I would recommend this app for parents who are looking to extend their kids' creative time from the iPad and into the real world.
Get Gomma Friends on the App Store.
Thank you to Gomma Play for providing us with the app!
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- IdentiKat. Creativity app gets kids crafting cats from scraps and buttons.
- Mary Engelbreit's Paper Doll Dress-Up: "Breitville". The classic paper doll gets a modern twist in this beautiful, vintage-style app.