Therefore, last year when we were introduced to Disney's new learning brand, Disney Imagicademy, I had no doubts that it would be just the thing to merge my girls' love of the digital world with their passion to learn. What could be better?
Created as a way to inspire a natural love of learning and encourage kids ages 3-8 to learn by creating, making and doing, the emphasis of Disney Imagicademy is on how the creative experience fuels children's curiosity.
In fact, Disney Imagicademy is the first comprehensive brand of interactive and connected early learning experiences that combines the Disney characters and stories families love, with a research-driven curriculum developed in conjunction with top academics and education experts.
The integrated program includes 30-plus app-based experiences – five of which are available now as part of Mickey's Magical Math World – along with a companion app for parents, as well as books and other physical products that will be available for back-to-school 2015. The apps and products cover key subject matters that are important for early childhood development, including math, creative arts, science, reading and social and emotional skills.
With such a focus on imagination, endless possibilities and learning coming naturally, why would I not want to introduce my children to this world?
It was time to download Mickey's Magical Arts World!
Compatible with most all iPads (2nd generation or higher, running iOS 7.0 or later), Mickey's Magical Arts World invites children to join Mickey and his friends in the most imaginative place around, as they explore a fully immersive world of creative arts.
Mickey's Magical Arts World is free in the App Store, however, it contains in-app purchases to unlock each of the five fun options for learning and play ($4.99/each or $19.99/bundle of all five).
Once we had purchased all of the various worlds of play, both Big Sister E and Little Sister B couldn't wait to get started creating!
1. Mickey's Sketch Artist (Drawing)
Helping kids learn to draw and experiment with shapes, textures and lines with Mickey at the Drawing Studio, this engaging section allows users to practice their skills through free draw or with guided lessons.
From designing characters (that then become animated!) to coloring animals, flowers, objects and more, my kids have both had a great time with Mickey's Sketch Artist and I appreciate that it is open-ended and fun. There is no wrong way to use the crayons, spray cans, paintbrushes and more!
2. Donald's Costume Play (Costume and Movies)
This portion of the app explores storytelling, improvisation, costume design, character development and role play with Donald... but not until kids prepare their character for movie stardom at Daisy's Hair and Wardrobe!
My girls have definitely enjoyed stretching their creativity while growing, brushing, tinting and styling hair, mixing and matching costumes, and more. Not to mention that their completed characters then appear in the short movie of their choosing and participate in all sorts of humorous antics!
3. Pluto's Crafty Creator (Materials)
This portion of the app lets kids design their very own virtual pets by transforming adorable animal toys into works of arts with different materials, tools, colors, textures and more. Start by selecting an animal and then dip, spin, scrub, paint, brush, sticker and more to turn it into your own one-of-a-kind toy!
What kid wouldn't have a blast getting to play with arts and crafts tools such as slime, cheese, glitter, stamps, crowns and more... while parents have the satisfaction of knowing that Goofy and Pluto will be the ones left with the (virtual) mess!
4. Minnie's Art-chitect (Design)
This section was immediately a favorite of both girls, as they couldn't wait to get started designing six different types of buildings with Minnie.
But unlike games where the buildings are realistic and straightforward, this app has kids exploring things like proportion, balance, symmetry and hue all while stepping into the shoes of an architect. Little Sister B's eyes lit up time and and time again as she made her structures taller, shorter, wider, different colors, added windows, doors and so much more!
5. Mickey's Music Maker (Music)
No creative app would be complete without music! This final portion lets users explore and experiment with rhythm, patterns, pitch, tempo and melodies as they make music with Mickey and 13 different instruments.
After choosing which instruments will make up their band and the particular song that will be played, kids then lead the band on a parade, all the while controlling the speed and getting to record their masterpiece.
Disney didn't leave parents out of the fun as well, as they also offer a coordinating app so that it is easy to monitor your child's progress on Mickey's Magical Arts World. Simply download the free Disney Imagicademy Parents app and you'll be able to be a part of the Disney Imagicademy community as well!
Compatible with both the iPhone and iPad, this all-new app not only allows you to monitor your child's learning as they progress through all of the magical worlds with Mickey and friends, but it allows you to view your child's latest creations, provide in-game encouragement with a virtual "high five" and even share accomplishments with family and friends.
I love that I can log right in and see the "Pins" that my girls have earned, buildings and pets that they have designed and more. As opposed to other apps where I have a general idea as to what concepts are being presented, Disney Imagicademy Parents allows me to really stay on top of what is being learned.
At the same time, this app also serves as a fantastic go-to resource for information that can be used to engage with children in meaningful ways. In fact, Disney Imagicademy Parents let me easily find everything from daily articles to Imagicademy-inspired activities designed to help spark creativity and encourage imaginative learning. I can always use a little help when it comes to keeping my kids entertained and this app includes such a wide variety that you really can't go wrong!
In addition to the digital apps, children and parents can engage with the Disney Imagicademy brand in a variety of ways, including a free community parent portal, free Disney Store events, books and magazines, and hands-on learning tools that extend the digital experience to the physical world.
The brand aims to engage and enrich children through the power of imagination and creativity and I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with next!
Disney Imagicademy apps are available now for FREE in the App Store in the Kids, Education and Entertainment categories, so be sure to add Mickey's Magical Arts World and Disney Imagicademy Parents to your iPad today!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.