Coocoolo Roll App Review
One of the things that happens when you have a toddler, a five year old, an eight year old, an 11 year old, you get to play again. Maybe you’re reminded how much you loved lego, little figures, cars. Maybe you realize you don’t like playing.
Little tip: be the hospital patient that has to lay and wait to be ’fixed’; ’pretend’ to sleep while they prepare a surprise breakfast in bed; Play, ’night time’ and let them tuck you in; or become the landscape for the cars to drive over!
Some parents have itchy fingers and don’t even realize it. We fix craft after craft after colouring page, sitting around watching, filling the dishwasher, making dinner and wondering why they don’t sit there longer. For some of us, it’s our own longing to stick, glue and colour that has us taking out all that stuff time after time. There’s a great way to get around all of that. Sit down and colour with them. Glue and paint, buy yourself a colouring book – there’s only so many Elsa, Spiderman, Peppa Pig and dinosaur pictures a person can take. And when they see you doing it, they want in… ESPECIALLY if it’s your book.
My friend Susan is far more creative than she’d ever admit, and gets far more out of creating than she’d ever realized. As a parent, she started there at the table with her little ones. Cutting, glueing, painting, colouring, sorting, forming. Watching, building, listening, playing. Toilet rolls, newspaper, string, pens, twigs. Somewhere in the midst of that, an idea was birthed.
You know the moment. That moment when you (apparently 70% of parents) get a business idea, a design idea, a product, the eureka moment when you realize how whatever you’ve got in your hand could be significantly improved.
Most of the 70% that have the idea let it slide. Carry it around for a week, a month, a year or two, then it’s gone. Not Susan. Not her husband David.
At a time when it became clear that both of them would need to find other employment (sooner or later), instead of freaking out (like most of us would), knuckling down and taking whatever was offered. They decided it was an opportunity.
They got in touch with a local initiative that coaches and supports new start-ups, provides workshops and a workspace to get companies and ideas off the ground*. They planned their week, sharing the parental days they had left (we get quite a lot of those in Sweden, and they’re paid, largely based on your previous 6 months salary) and set about starting their business.
David’s done some computer programming before. Susan’s been crafting. Both long to create. Both ready to jump.
Their kids love apps! They sit with them and use apps in the same way they’d sit and read a book. Cuddles, chats and laughter.
What if you took those toilet rolls and games and turned into into an app? What if you made an app that showed you how to craft, that nurtured inspiration to create?
For six months they learnt about designing apps, for six months they worked on their app. They developed the idea, the illustration and the animation; they tested on themselves, their kids and their friends. Their 5 year old has heard the excuse ’it’s a bug’ so often when something goes wrong she says it herself.
Coocoolo Roll was launched in app store in October. It’s suited to kids age 5 and under, and I can honestly say it’s the ONLY app my kids have ever played that makes them want to go and make things after – which also requires that you have a few toilet rolls available!
Mr 2 calls it the popcorn game, because he loves when falling corn kernels explode in a pan and fill the screen with popcorn that needs to be eaten up.
Miss 5 likes to fish and feed the toilet roll cat.
I appreciate the little details, the melody (and volume) designed specifically not to drive parents nuts! That the app can be used like a story, so Mr 2 can sit on my knee and tell me how it’s unfolding as he decides.
I love these photos of my kids. That their real, not staged, that they sat next to each other and shaped the story together… Obviously, it DOESN’T look like this every time they hold the ipad.
Coocoolo Roll App Review
We give the Coocoolo Roll App 5 stars:
- The kids could figure it out themselves, cracking all the functions and what to do next without any instructions.
- You don’t only ’dress’ the toilet roll, you play with it afterwards; you can go back and change any aspect you like, bounce between and revisit ’activity islands’ as often as you like.
- There’s no ’reward system’ in the app, specifically with the intention of letting play be play. No stickers, stars or rewards, it’s not ’work’ that needs to be done, there’s no coaxing. The cat on the other hand is very happy to be fed, and I haven’t seen the limit on the number of variations of joy, surprise and happiness from the toilet roll!
- The app is calm! The music, the colours, the animations.
- The app is unique in that everything you craft in it, you can craft at your kitchen table.
Now to the little toilet roll Police Man who arrived in the post. I’m not sure if he was meant for me or my kids but we’ve come to the understanding that he’s mine and Miss 5 has written ’mama’ on the roof of the little house he came in. He’s Susan’s creation, straight out of the app. Check out his brilliant clothes: Just a little strip of colour washed newspaper and a black pen.
I asked Susan how she’d sum up this year of work. She’d do it all over again! The benefits of developing and working together with something they can design and shape and that allows their creativity to flourish have far outweighed the year’s reduced income. They’ve learnt new skills and met fantastic people who’ve informed and supported them in this process. With no more parental days they’ve taken on a part time employment but there’s an exciting new app idea under development too and a table full of crafts to prove it.
Coocoolo Roll App Review is not a sponsored post, all opinions are my own. I did get that toilet roll though! 🙂
* The Icubator initiative that has supported Coocoolo is Subtopia (Swedish site).
Are you a parent with a product or business idea you’re developing? I’d love to hear from you and I’d love to feature your daring adventures.