If you’re looking for the just so right birthday gift for a 4-10 year old, stop looking and remember what you loved when you were that age.

Does Play-Doh come to mind? The Hasbro toy turns 60 this year and to celebrate the company has launched a high-tech version of not-ready-for-retirement clay. Play-Doh Touch brings any Play-Doh creation to life on an iPad or iPhone.It’s pretty cool really and one of the best things I saw at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. 
Play-Doh Touch is an app that takes a snapshot of a clay creation. You create whatever you want with plain old Play-Doh. We made ours from blue and greenish Play-Doh, gave it some legs and some hair. Then we opened the app and took a photo of the ‘thing’ with eyes we just made.

Jason Beene from Hasbro showed me how it works. “It’s kind of like opening a fresh coloring book that no one has ever touched before,” he said before our little guy bursts from an animated Play-Doh canister on his iPad screen.

“We just brought him to life. Now he’s got a voice and he’s giggling because I’m tickling him,” Beene said with a smile on his face.

Sure enough, that little creature was following Beene’s finger jumping and running through the Play-Doh world.

Beene created another little creature of yellow and orange Play-Doh, took its picture and suddenly our previous creature had a playmate on screen. It was really fun to watch.

“Think of how empowering that is for a 4-year-old. Imagine something, shape it and bring it to life,” Beene said. I think he really enjoys his job.

He took our first creature and ripped its arms off (that’s what kids do) re-shaped them into a flower and added it to the Play-Doh Touch world. It filled the screen with bluish green plants that our other creations would play in. He also created a set of wings with Play-Doh, ran it through the “Play-Doh” portal and placed them on our first creature who yelled “yippee” as Beene swiped at it with his finger.

“He’s really excited because he knows what’s about to happen. I’ve just given him a set of wings and now he can fly through the world exploring.”

I got a little excited too and probably let out a bit of a giggle myself. This is a lot of fun!

Beene told me “I’ve had kids play with this and say ‘Look, I made it real!'”

The Play-Doh Touch Kit comes with a creators pad where you mold your clay, some ‘magical stampers’ and the iOS app. Beene said the app is free and available in Apple’s App Store. You can use it to create your own animations using any Play-Doh you already have, just place it on a white background before you take the picture.

Play-Doh may be celebrating its 60th birthday this year but it’s the kids who’ll be having the party.