This is a guest review of the Leapfrog Creativity Camera by a good friend and colleague of mine, Ignacio.
The Leap Frog Creativity Camera is composed of two parts: a protective case for an iPhone and an iOS app that allows children to take and edit photographs.
The case is visually striking. It immediately grabs children's attention and they immediately want to start playing with it. It fits an iPhone 5 perfectly, but it can also be used on iPhone 4 and 4S. To open the case an adult must pull 2 levers that open the camera's "screen." This allows an adult to correctly place the phone inside the case and have piece of mind that children who use it won't open the case and won't access any apps other than the one you intended (mainly the companion camera app), as once it's closed access to the home button is restricted.
I downloaded the app by searching for "Leap Frog Creativity Camera" in the App Store and found it instantly. Once the app was installed, it started in a restricted functionality mode, as some of the features require the camera case. To activate the features all that is needed is to press the large button at the bottom of the app that goes into a "registration mode." Registration couldn't be simpler, as all that is needed is to capture the camera's internal QR code. This is a guided process, and once the app detects the code it instantaneously enables all the features of the camera.
Once unlocked, the app has six main features: a simple point-and-shoot camera, a fun photo editor, a photo gallery, a "silly faces" camera, a photo book creator, and "peek-a-bugs". We'll talk about all of these shortly.
The point-and-shoot camera is accessed by pressing the centre camera image. It is a very simple camera that is perfect for kids to take photos. No clutter. No options. Simply press the case's shutter button or tap anywhere on the screen and it takes a photo and stores it in the app's memory. That's it!
The photo editor automatically loads the last photo and puts it in "edit mode." This photo editor is really tailored for small children. It allows them to add one of three frames: rainbow, bubbles, or theatre; add simple filters: rainbow, something I can only describe as "reddish," and pixellated. In this mode you can also add random images of things like dolphins, bunnies, flowers, cupcakes, or multi-coloured stars. Finally, the editor contains two more buttons: home and a shortcut to the photo gallery.
When the app is in "silly faces" mode it automatically uses the iPhone's front camera to take pictures. It has a guideline face that you can use to align your eyes and mouth. It then adds "silly parts" that you can tap to change, or pinch to make smaller or bigger. As with the main camera mode, using the case's shutter or tapping anywhere on the screen takes the picture.
From the main menu, you can access a feature called "photo books." These are three virtual books that contain a picture on the left-hand page, and a view finder on the right. They encourage children to find the drawing on the left and take a real picture on the right. Once they've taken a photo it becomes part of the book, although the photos can individually be deleted by tapping the delete button. To change a page of the book, you can simply swipe left or right. This feature contains 3 books: faces, letters, and shapes.
Both my children really loved using the camera and taking endless photos of each other and everything around the house, although they were not particularly interested in the other modes of the app (with the exception of the photo gallery). The case itself was something they wanted to use, however it sometimes had issues with the shutter not pressing the phone's volume buttons correctly. The best way to take photos was usually by just tapping the screen. I think that they felt it was easier to take pictures with the screen because their little hands can't really hold the camera and reach the shutter while trying to keep an image in focus. They did enjoy thoroughly playing with the camera and taking photos and selfies.