Playing with Play Doh is part of almost everyone’s childhood. The 60-year-old Hasbro creation has been a childhood staple for many of us — a full-sensory adventure into shaping, rolling, making, smashing.
Last week, Hasbro announced the upcoming release of its app Play Doh Touch Shape to Life. The concept is actually pretty cool: Kids mold their Play Doh masterpiece and photograph it on a white background using the app. The result? Their Play Doh creations transform into animated 3D characters that kids can then manipulate to explore worlds, jump over obstacles and collect power ups.
Just one question: Why?
Why does a totally immersive, low-tech experience need a digital enhancement? Actually, forget enhancement. This sounds like a digital distraction in the truest sense. Exploring worlds, jumping over obstacles and accruing upgrades sounds an awful lot like pretty much every game out there. Super Mario, Subway Surfers, you name it.
Looking for an amazing enhancement to a timeless toy? Check out Lego Movie Maker. It’s a very similar idea: Kids create Lego figurines and then photograph them in various positions to create a stop motion movie experience. The process is fun (and, warning, occasionally frustrating! Parents be prepared to get involved). The difference between this and Play Doh Touch Shape to Life is that with Lego Movie Maker, the child is the creator at every step of the way. Kids build the figures, decide on a story line, move and photograph the figures and then get to watch their work come to life via a movie.
Experts talk about the importance of distinguishing creative from consumption apps. Play Doh on its own is the essence of creativity. When those creations get imported into a video game environment, however, it morphs into yet another passive form of screen time.
Looking for some truly creative apps for your Play-Doh aged kids? Check out some of our all time favorites here.