Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2013

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Paint & Play

Hands-on exploration of art and music stimulates creativity

Common Sense Says:
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Pre-K-3 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Variety of tools and activities keeps kids engaged and creating.

Cons: No way to erase entire room at once; stereotypical portrayal of Mickey/Minnie Mouse.

Bottom Line: Kids have a ball while learning about color mixing, symmetry, 2D/3D, and more.

Kids will still need the chance to work with artistic tools hands-on, but this app provides a way to experiment and take risks without making a mess. Teachers could incorporate the app on days where time is too short to get out (and clean up) supplies. You could also use it to introduce concepts such as color mixing, 2D and 3D, and symmetry. For music, kids can record their own music or some class favorites from circle time.

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Kids use creative ideas and an extensive variety of art materials to decorate Mickey Mouse's Clubhouse. They choose a room -- living room, kitchen, or garden -- from a wheel and then choose a coloring page for an item in the room they want to color. To decorate the object, kids select one or more of the many art tools provided, including brushes, chalk, crayons, pencils, and marker, as well as stickers, patterns, puzzle pieces, sponges, combs, balls, glitter (of course) -- and more. When they're finished, kids use a magic wand to animate the picture and move the object into the Clubhouse. Kids can explore each room with Mickey or Minnie to find more fun tasks. In the kitchen, they can mix colors to decorate cupcakes. In the living room, they can listen to and record their own music. And in the garden, they can learn about symmetry using the symmetry tool in the artistic palette.

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Unlike many coloring book apps that kids are quickly bored with, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Paint & Play will keep them busy and engaged for a long time. Each room has a dozen or more pictures to color, and the array of tools in the artistic palette is extensive and fun to explore. Kids don't have to worry about staying perfectly in the lines because, once animated, the object is sort of cut out. The result is quite impressive. Kids can use the trash-can delete button to erase and start over, but there's no option to erase all the items in a room at once, which would be nice. The extra activities in each room are also fun. Some sexism typical of these Disney characters slips in: Mickey comments on what the kids have done ("You did it!") or the purpose of objects in the room ("That's a great chair for reading!"); Minnie comments on how she looks ("I look adorable!") and how the things in her garden look ("These butterflies have beautiful wings" and "That's a beautiful shrub").

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

With 40 coloring pages and more than 20 artistic tools, kids will be actively engaged in creating. Seeing their creations come to life in 3-D adds to the fun.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Kids experiment with textures, symmetry, and color-mixing. They can be creative, take risks, and see their creations come to life. They'll also explore and play with music a bit.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Verbal instructions are easy to follow; written instructions are included, as well. Parent section includes a guide explaining what kids are learning and tips for encouraging creativity offline.

Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

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