Overcoming Fear of the Dark with The Monsters by Tinybop

In The Monsters, kids create the monsters of their dreams (or nightmares)

In The Monsters, kids create the monsters of their dreams (or nightmares)

There is a common fear shared among kids beginning around age 2, which is fear of the dark. This is the age when their imagination flourish, creating all sorts of scary things to be afraid of: a creaky floorboard turns into a monster under the bed, a shadow on the wall becomes a ghost, and many more.

While fear of the dark is a normal part of development, there are things you can do to help your child alleviate their fears. You can encourage them to channel their imagination into a creative outlet, as shown in Tinybop’s newest release, The Monsters.

In this strangely mesmerizing app, kids can create all sorts of creepy, colorful monsters. The idea is to give kids agency over their fears, enabling them to familiarize themselves with these monsters or cast them away as they wish.

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

In The Monsters, every creepy creature begins as a shadow on the wall. There are 9 different shadows included that you can use as a base for your monster, from headless monsters with multiple limbs to hammerheads with bulging bellies. You can customize your monster with various eyes, mouths, horns, limbs, and fur, and then paint them in different colors.

The app is open-ended in that you can add as many body parts as you like and place them anywhere you want. For example, you can make a three-eyed monster, or a squid-like monster with four sets of teeth. You can also give your monsters emotions and voices, with an option to record your own for the latter.

Once you’ve completed your monster, its picture will be hung in the gallery where you can feed it, play, dance, and even take a selfie with it. If you wish, you can make changes to a saved monster by dragging it out of its frame and into the door.

Parents Need to Know

Like all Tinybop apps, The Monsters features an intuitive, safe, and child-friendly design. It allows multiple profiles to be set up on the same device, so each child can create and save their own monsters. Parents can create an account to get the latest news from the developer, download user manuals for Tinybop apps, and sign up for email updates.

The app has no third-party advertising and no in-app purchases. It doesn’t require an Internet connection to play.

Every monster starts as a shadow on the wall

Every monster starts as a shadow on the wall

Things I Like

Weird, but in a good way. That was my first impression of The Monsters. I mean, Tinybop apps have always had a strangeness to them but this app really took it up a notch. It’s dark yet vibrant at the same time, with inky drawings in the style of Feed the Head. Have I told you that you can pull out a monster’s limb and watch it grow a new one? It’s creepy but strangely satisfying.

Beyond the quirky visuals, the gameplay is an engaging creative outlet. It puts you in control of your work, and using the tools is as easy as dragging and dropping. I especially enjoy the painting tool, which includes special effects such as sparkles and polkadots.

I also love the fact that you can play with your monsters after you’ve made them. There are fun details to be found in the gallery, for example, you can move a monster to another frame as you see fit. You can also try feeding a mouthless monster, only to watch it flippantly throw the food against the wall.

You can feed, play, and even take a selfie with your monsters in the haunted gallery

You can feed, play, and even take a selfie with your monsters in the haunted gallery


The Monsters by Tinybop delivers an immersive gameplay for creative children. In this creepy app, they can create monsters of all sorts. Along the way, they’ll hopefully conquer their fear of the dark as they learn that shadows are only as scary as they make them out to be.

Get it on the App Store: iPhone | iPad

App was provided for our honest review.

About Tinybop

Tinybop is a Brooklyn-based studio of designers, engineers, and artists building educational apps for curious kids. Their approach is to build apps where kids play and learn by diving into big ideas, seeing how things work, and making connections about the world they live in.

You should also check out their other apps that we’ve reviewed:

The Robot Factory is a beautiful robot builder where kids can mix and match 50+ unique parts to experiment with different designs, then see if their construction holds up in the treacherous test arena. The app supports multiple profiles, so more than one child can play on the same device.

Link: App Store | Our Review


The Everything Machine lets you access the hardware and sensors on your device so you can create machines that do anything you can think of. This sophisticated app encourages creative thinking, and introduces kids to programming and circuitry. It’s a child-friendly app, yet at the same time complex enough for grown-ups to enjoy.

Link: App Store | Our Review