Parenting

This innovative app makes screen time more creative

Dipongo integrates digital storytelling and imagination

Dipongo makes screentime more creative. Credit: Dipongo

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If your household is anything like mine, your children's screen time limits have pretty much gone out the window during the past year. That doesn't mean that I'm OK with my kids zoning out to mindless hours of YouTube or playing games that have zero educational value, but it often feels like a losing battle between the siren song of the iPad and not-as-stimulating real life.

Enter Dipongo, a super cool program designed for kids ages 4 to 8 that integrates the real and virtual worlds through creative storytelling. Currently available in France and coming to the U.S. later in the year, Dipongo creates interactive fantasy stories that start on a tablet screen but can only be continued with hands-on projects created by kids.

How Dipongo works

Kids enter one of Dipongo's magical worlds—The Wonderful Jungle, The Enchanted Bubble, or The Island of Sweets—and follow an endearing character through the beginning of an adventure. Suddenly, the story stops, right when their character is facing a problem that needs to be solved.

That's when the creativity starts: Kids have to leave their tablets, figure out a solution to keep the story going, and execute it—either through drawing, modeling, construction, collage, or any other hands-on activity they can manage. Once they've crafted their solution, they take a picture of it with the Dipongo app, and it gets integrated into the story. The story then goes on...at least until the next challenge arises.

Why Dipongo is great

I love that Dipongo gets kids excited about stepping away from their tablets, and that it inspires them to problem solve through artistic creations. Even if your child isn't one who enjoys drawing or painting—say they're more into engineering—their creations can still be integrated into Dipongo's stories. Plus, each Dipongo subscription comes with corresponding booklet full of projects to help inspire kids' creativity.

Dipongo is currently available in French, and an English version is expected to launch later in 2021.

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