Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Fall 2015 Toys
Ages: 4 & Up
Manufacturer: Zing
Price: $9.99

Take two StikBots, a mobile phone, a tiny tripod, and an active imagination and what do you have? A lot of crazy, silly animations! The robots in the StikBot set are translucent plastic posable figures with suction cup hands and feet. They can be posed easily (if a bit stiffly) on any smooth surface (glass and other polished surfaces work best; they had trouble sticking to varnished wood, and there are many poses they simply resist) and when not in starring roles, are entertaining just as household mascots; ours were often found climbing the windows and mirrors.

The StikBot Studio app allows kids to turn their posed StikBot figures into the stars of mini-movies. The limited app shows the ghost of each previous photo to simplify posing, and then the app joins the images together at 10 frames per second. Kids can add sounds from the sound library or record their own soundtracks. The app only works on iOS and Android phones; it is not designed for tablets and even crashed repeatedly on an iPad, but it performed well on both an older iPhone 5 and a new iPhone 6. There are more robust software packages available for stop-motion animation, but this is a good starting point for kids who just want to try it out. Parents may wish to download the free app to verify its functionality before purchasing the robots.

p>The included tripod is necessary for keeping the camera fixed in place between shots, but its plastic feet make it inclined to slide on smooth surface -- resourceful children will have no trouble anchoring them with clay, rubber, or tape. The tripod holds smaller phones very securely, but larger phones are a very tight fit and require caution.

Emily Crawford   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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