I’m a big fan of the original Felt Board app from Software Smoothie. Since I reviewed it, it has had new features added and just keeps on getting better. Felt Board Christmas is now available and is every bit as delightful as the original. A virtual felt board on your iPad, this app features a variety of backgrounds, characters, scenery and props, and all with the Christmas theme.
- Backgrounds – includes home interiors, plates for Christmas food, outdoors, and plain colours. Our family doesn’t see a lot of snow in Australia (ok, any snow, EVER) so winter landscapes are a bit lost on us (unless we are making Santa’s home) so we were happy to see a summer landscape.
- Characters – a range of Christmas characters include Santa, Mrs Clause, elves, reindeer and some other cute Christmas animals. It is wonderful to see all characters available in different skin tones.
- Decorations – baubles, lights and other decorations for your tree.
- Misc Christmas – this section includes trees, stockings, gifts, and other Christmas phrases such as “Ho Ho Ho” and “Peace on Earth.”
- Snowman parts – finally my children can build snowmen, albeit virtual ones. There are different options for facial features, arms and accessories, so you can build some really wacky snowmen.
- Nativity characters – All the characters needed to recreate scenes from the original Nativity story (Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, Angels shepherds and Wise Men/Magi) are included in their own category, again in different skin tones. They are accompanied by animals including a camel, donkey, and sheep, some stars and the stable.
- Alphabet – two festive alphabets (a fun red or slightly more formal green, both outlined in white) with both upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation marks.
I can’t think of many Christmas stories, poems, carols or songs that couldn’t be illustrated with the resources in this app. The great thing about setting up the felt boards to illustrate different scenes is that children can move objects and characters around the screen, bringing the story to life as they play.
You can see the app in action in Software Smoothie’s YouTube trailer:
Putting it to the test
Miss A, aged 11, put the app through its paces.
“This app is really great. I liked how you can make a dish of food for Santa Claus and you can write him a note too. Santa’s feet coming out of the chimney are really funny. You can print the pictures you make and use them for Christmas cards.
Sometimes when you layer items to make a picture, you accidentally tap on the bottom items and they come up to the front and cover everything. I put lights on the tree and then put the decorations on, but the lights kept coming to the front and going over the decorations. I’d like to be able to stick them down so they stay at the back.
I’d also like to put Santa and his sleigh in front of a moon on a black sky. It would look really good. Another background or scenery I’d like is for Santa’s workshop, because you already have the elves.”
I’m getting very picky here, as just about everything I could wish for is in this app, but there are always a couple of ideas.
- Glue – Miss A has already wished for some “glue,” although some items will automatically “stick” to others, such as decorations to a tree. Miss A’s tree was part of a background and it was frustrating for her that she couldn’t permanently place things on the background.
- Standing camel – We wanted to show the Magi travelling following the star, but the camels were very stubborn and wouldn’t stand. We solved this by some creative placement on the screen, as you can see in our slideshow above.
- Workshop – a background, tools, toys and wrappings
- King Herod – every good story needs a villain. As there are two versions of each of the Magi or wise men (two different skin tones) you could double up there. Still, none of them have the villainous, mean face we’d like to use.
The variety of backgrounds, characters, scenery and props make it easy to recreate scenes from just about every Christmas story or song, and even creating new ones. This delightful seasonal app is already a hit in our household, with children of all ages loving it. A very strong, positive feature is the portrayal of both secular and Christian characters in both light and dark skin tones and I’m delighted to see it. A great resource for teachers and parents alike, it is another must-have for your iPad and would make a wonderful Christmas gift.
Publisher: Software Smoothie
- Felt Board Christmas is Now Available for iPhone and iPad (themactrack.com)
- Review: Create holiday scenes with Felt Board Christmas! (smartappsforkids.com)