Felt Board is a lovely app for iPad, a charming simulated rendition of a traditional felt board.
I have fond memories of using a felt board as a child, and I was happy to share this experience with my son. Not being crafty enough to create small and intricate pieces of felt myself, I confess that I bought a set from a local craft store on sale for my boy. The felt board was a huge hit, but sadly, even after keeping all the pieces in a zippered bag, the felt board soon became a memory as somehow inexplicably all the pieces vanished even after my son promised to be careful and not lose the pieces, only to randomly find felt bits clinging to clothing and furniture where one least expected to find them.
This digital felt board does not take the place of the traditional activity and cannot replace the magic of children finding out for the first time that this soft fabric sticks to itself without glue or mess, being able to be re-arranged indefinitely. This is a wonderful application, however, for families like mine who simply can’t keep track of all the little pieces or would love to allow their children this experience when traveling or simply out and about as this app, like a classic felt board itself, is a creative and quiet way for children to spend time.
This application is intuitive to use with an abundance of elements to choose from that felt boards in real life would be hard-pressed to include. Nice selections of backgrounds are offered, both basic solid colors as well as landscapes like a beach, ocean view or mountain landscape as well as a theatre, boat, and bedroom scenes. Other backdrops included as well. Like a traditional felt board, the backgrounds are sometimes simple, abstract and effective, and I appreciate the faint soft felt texture seen throughout this app.
Body choices can be made, and as in the classic style, the character pieces are devoid of all details as these can be added later. Six colors can be chosen, including three shades that could roughly represent skin tones of found among a diverse group of people, a nice touch that I would love to see broadened in the future. Do fully explore the selection of hair, beard, mustache and face choices by scrolling through this section with the aid of a scroll bar that unfortunately becomes invisible when not in use - problematic as players may not be aware of the selection of details to choose from within each of these elements that are too numerous to see on any given page.
Parents and teachers of special education children will especially appreciate the different expressions among the face choices such as the placement or shape of the eyebrows and mouth, teaching about these emotional cues along the way.
Cute clothing for all are included, including outfit elements that one may expect for both men and women, as well as plenty of unisex clothing and a few dress-up choices representing knights, a doctor, firefighter and police as well as a Santa suit and astronaut jumpsuit, tux and traditional men’s suit.
Another section consists of all the accessories one could desire such as shoes, mittens, scarves, hats, glasses and extras such as wand, sword, baton or umbrella.
A lovely selection of animals is also included, from butterflies and other insects to traditional farm animals, fantasy creatures and ocean dwellers. Storytellers will appreciate how spider, monkey and speckled frog choices are included to aid in the re-telling of classic stories that involve these characters.
Other objects one may look for to complete their motifs are also thoughtfully included, from flowers, plants and other choices found in nature, to symbols to represent weather, such as sun, moon or rain as well as buildings and other structures which can also be found.
Lastly, letter and number sections are included, each with their own related extras such as punctuation characters, shapes and arrows, which have also been added.
To re-size these elements, pinch or spread of one’s fingers - an element that I appreciate as the fine motor skills of picking up small pieces of felt with one’s fingertips is lost as the swiping of a finger is not as much of a workout for fine motor skills, but the pinching and zooming to re-size can in fact work these same muscles. It is also nice that one can glue down these pieces, aiding in the moving and re-sizing of these characters together as a single unit. Tap the camera icon to take a photo of one’s scene. To remove a piece of felt, simply drag to the recycling bin at the bottom right corner of the page.
I recommend this app to anyone interested in art or craft applications. The selection of felt pieces is wonderful and I enjoy being able to change backgrounds under the other pieces already laid down, something that could never be accomplished with such ease on a traditional board. I can imagine not only a great activity for children, but also in aiding the storytelling for all ages. For these reasons and more, I recommend this app.