Thornton duo creates new iPad app for children

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When Thornton residents Jennifer and Jonathan Fenske first decided to create their own iPad application, they sought to solve a common dilemma faced by parents each day — finding something healthy, yet interactive to preoccupy their children.

“We love iPads and we always hand it to our (three) girls — that’s where we got our love for apps,” said Jennifer Fenske, an author and weight loss company marketing director. “When you have kids, sometimes you’re in places like restaurant or church and you want something to keep them quiet, so you hand them your iPhone or iPad.”

Today, the husband-and-wife-team can be now counted among the hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs who are taking their idea into the rapidly growing realm of applications, commonly known as apps.

Jonathan Fenske, an artist and stay-at-home father, said the couple’s journey started in January, when he began sketching the artwork and composing the music for their first iPad-only application that would allow children to play with their food, literally.

He said this iPad-only application allows children from 3 to 8 years old to create two-dimensional figures using different types of vegetables and fruits, including green beans, eggplants and bananas.

“Getting kids to eat certain things that they need to eat is always difficult,” Jonathan Fenske said. “I’m not saying that our app will make kids eat healthy things, but I wanted to include in it stuff that involves foods they may not know about that we want them to eat in a way that they could arrange them and play with it.”

The Fenskes then paid a developer $5,000 to create the app using Jonathan Fenske’s drawings and musical compositions. The then couple formed Fat and Appy six months later and released their new app, Healthy Creatures, on Aug. 31.

“I think our main motivation was that we saw how much our kids enjoyed them,” Jonathan Fenske said. “We thought we should at least give it a shot, because we had the creative part of it down. It’s kind of the same reason why I decided to start writing children’s books — once we had children, I realized how much I enjoyed reading to them.”

The Fenskes said the whole process of creating, launching and maintaining the app has been worthwhile, but noted that the risks from their investment are also high.

I think this experience has been exhilarating and terrifying, because you’re putting your money on the line,” Jennifer Fenske said. “If you paint a painting, people are either going to love it or hate it, but in this case, you’re dropping thousands of dollars for a product that people may not buy. I think it makes me appreciate every small business person regardless of what they do, because you’re taking money that you made and putting it out there for people.”

Looking toward the future, the Fenskes said they are hoping the app will segue into a lifestyle brand that would include children’s books and apparel.

“I think what really drives us is a lifestyle that enables you to do what you want, when you want, from your home,” Jonathan Fenske said.

The Fenskes’ app, Healthy Creatures, can be purchased online through Apple’s App Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/healthy-creatures/id548635121?mt=8