My children love playing with their felt boards and shapes, so I was delighted to try Felt Board by Software Smoothie, which brings this activity to the iPad. My children and I had a great deal of fun trying this out, and we have shown it to lots of friends, young and old, who are equally enchanted with it.
- Backgrounds – We have several felt boards in our home collection, but this app has 27, including outdoor scenes, space, interiors, a ship, plain backgrounds and more.
- People – 6 bodies are available in a choice of pale pink, brown, black, blue, purple and red. There are many faces available, including a variety of eye colours, and choices of happy or sad. Likewise, there are lots of different hair styles, each with several colour choices, and some beards and moustaches.
- Clothing – You’ll find lots of choices for dresses, skirts, tops, swimwear and pants. Several complete outfits are also included for various professions, including firefighter, doctor, knight and more.
- Accessories – In this section you will find hats, scarves, footwear and other accessories. In addition to “everyday” items, you’ll find times for fairies, knights, royalty and more. Also included in this section is a wheelchair.
- Animals – All sorts of animals can be found here, including pets, farm animals, and fairy tale characters. The unicorn has been very popular in our house.
- Alphabet in upper and lower case
- Numbers and shapes
The YouTube video below shows how to use the app.
Like painting and drawing apps, apps that allow you to create pictures are great for illustrating stories. Pictures made with Felt Board could be used with writing and book-making apps such as Pages, Keynote, Book Creator or Picturebook, to name but a few.
Some of the boards consist of several backgrounds, making them ideal for sorting and classifying activities. I used one with rectangles to create a colour sorting activity, where I placed a number of felt items in the centre white rectangle for children to drag into the rectangle with the corresponding colour. In another activity, I created a counting activity. One board in the set lends itself well to looking at seasonal changes, as it has an array of four backgrounds, each a different season
Things we love about this app
- You can’t lose the pieces ( they will not be sucked up the vacuum cleaner if you leave them on the floor!)
- You can use as many of the same piece as you want.
- There are so many backgrounds you can create nearly any scene you want.
- My daughters discovered that, when you resize a person, any facial features, hair, clothing, or accessories you place on that person automatically resize to fit. They also resize with the person after you have applied them. This feature is really clever.
- Boys love this app just as much as the girls. It might initially look “girly” but believe me that there are lots of pirates, knights and other “boy” themes to keep everyone happy. I’ve shown this to my boys and their friends, aged from 5 to 10 years old, and they all happily spend ages making adventure scenes.
- Vehicles – More vehicles would be wonderful. There is a ship and a couple of rockets, but my children were looking for some farm vehicles and trains. It would be great to have a variety of air, sea and land vehicles. We did manage to make some vehicles from the shapes with a little success, but it was hard to make diggers, trucks and trains the way we wanted them to look.
- More Animals – My children would also like to see some jungle and bush animals added to the animals section. A few lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) would be fun for jungle or zoo scenes, and some kangaroos, koalas, wombats, emus and snakes would be a start for some of our Australian bush scenes. Perhaps we are a bit greedy, as there are already lots of animals to choose from.
- Fairy wings have been suggested by one young lady as a much-needed addition to the accessories section. We did have a success shrinking a person down to their smallest size and placing them over an enlarged butterfly, but you can’t “stick” the wings on.
- Individual Facial Features – While there are lots of faces to choose from you can’t select individual facial features and combine them. One of my children has suggested having separate eyes, noses and mouths so that she can have more control over how the faces look. While I believe this would make adding faces a lot harder for some, I can see her point. (I prefer the face options that are already in the app.)
- Saving Files – I’d like to be able to save activities such as those I created above. You can save photographs of the scenes you create, but you can’t save them in a way that you can manipulate the items on the board, such as with the sorting activity. While it doesn’t take long to make them, it would be handy for teachers to be able to prepare activities in advance and then load them as necessary, as time is at a premium in classrooms.
This app is simply so much fun, it is hard to believe it is educational. My children still love playing with their “real” felts, but this app is now a favourite and has been particularly handy when travelling. We are not alone, as everyone we have shown this app to has fallen in love with it. Even if you don’t have children, this is a very appealing app. I have been revisiting my childhood, having so much fun creating scenes with the felt shapes. This app is suitable for all ages and is an app that will “grow” with your children. I challenge anyone not to fall in love with it.