Recycling Workshop, the latest app from Jump App, is full of colour and creativity. A great companion to its sibling apps, Puppet Workshop and Imagination Box, it is a simple to use, child-directed creativity app. Your children will be able to make endless characters using recycled containers as a base and a range of recycled items as facial features and limbs.
Using the app
My children and I found the app very easy to use. The steps are simple:
- Choose a base from a variety of generic containers of different colours.
- Choose features from the different menus and drag them on to your character. Scroll up and down each menu to see the many different options for each category. Some items are drawn, but many are common items you may find around the home, e.g. Buttons for eyes, plastic cutlery or straws for arms, or a twisted chenille stick for a mouth. You are not limited to making “human” characters as there are props for animal features.
- Choose a background from several colours or even from your photos.
- Use the simple controls to resize, flip, and rotate each item to your preference. You can also undo actions.
- Simple drawing tools let you draw on the character or background, although you can’t draw over the features.
- Save a photo of your character
Things we love
- My children love that you can add as many of each object as you like, and that you can place features anywhere. Some of the hair features can be used to make a skirt, or arms/wings may double as hair or hats.
- You can use photos as a background, putting characters in different settings. This develops the character even more by creating a setting.
- Making characters with the app can inspire children to make their own characters in real life with items they find around the home and in your recycle bins. (A lot like PlaySchool craft!)
- The app is child-directed and gives children free reign over this virtual recycle box. There is nothing “prescribed” about how they create their characters.
- Unlike the real life activity, this one requires no glue, tape or cleaning up!
- You can revisit your characters and alter them any time, as characters are automatically saved (unless parents reset the app – see the next point)
- The parent section has clear instructions on how to use the app, plus options to turn some features on or off (such as saving photos, and sound) and an option to reset the app and wipe all the creations so kids can start again.
- There are no external links to social media or websites. All contact details for social media, email and websites are hidden in the parent section for you to copy, but they are not active links. The only active external information is behind the More Apps banner that can be turned off, and the links to each app in this section are hidden behind mathematical operations. I love the way Jump App takes child safety so seriously.
Recycling Workshop is aimed at younger children and it certainly appealed to my children in that age group. My toddler, who is nearly 3, needed a little help to start, but it wasn’t long before he was taking control and making some interesting characters, and his 6 y.o. brother thought it was fun too. My older children had fun playing with the app too, but they prefer other creativity apps. Recycling Workshop is interesting enough that they like to sit with their little brothers and play. I like collaborative play like this as it helps with oral language.
You can see Recycling Workshop in action in this YouTube trailer:
I’m grasping at straws to come up with any way to improve this app. My children suggest it would be fun to record some sound for each character, but we all love this app just the way it is.
Recycling Workshop is an app that will be staying on our family iPad in our “creativity” folder for some time. It is a great deal of fun with endless possibilities, and it inspires kids to become more creative in the real world too. If you love this app, you’ll also like their Puppet Workshop and Imagination Box apps, while older children might enjoy their Sticker Play: Knights, Dragons and Castles. We look forward to using the characters we make in some of our story writing apps.