Source: USA TODAY
As we head into summer, family tablets and phones may get more of a workout. For parents looking for ways to tickle their kids’ creativity, here are some engaging apps that encourage drawing and creating with art.
Ovolab, best for ages 4-up, $.99, iPad
Rating: 4 stars (out of 4)
For animal-lovers, this handsome app features artistic cats created from craft items, including buttons, old brooches, fancy fabrics, zippers, pipe cleaners and such. The app offers two modes of play: cat puzzles and cat design. In the puzzle mode, known as Kat Cut, an elaborate cat made out of rich fabrics and bric-a-brac appears. When kids touch it, it breaks apart into its individual components. Kids experiment with recombining the items to recreate the dramatic-looking cat. A hint button can provide you with a reminder of what the finished feline looks like. There are six elegant cats to reassemble. Playing with the cats in the puzzles primes kids to start creating their own pets. The app provides heads, bodies, arms, paws and facial features to allow you to create your own one-of-a-kind feline. Similar in design to “Faces iMake,” kids learn to create cats from collage materials. Once a cat is finished, kids can photograph it in a frame of their choosing to share over email and such.
Stripey Design, best for age 3-7, $1.99, iPad
Rating: 3.5 stars
The magic of this simple app is that kids draw a fish on real paper and then use this app to scan their artwork into a virtual aquarium. Their hand drawn fish appears inside of the iPad, swimming around as if it were alive. This is a great hook to get kids drawing all kinds of aquatic animals. In order for drawings to scan well into this app, kids need to use a thick black marker to outline their fish, and they must be careful that the outline has no broken lines. This app would be fun to use at a birthday party or sleepover where each guest creates a fish for the community tank.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Riding the wave of popular physics puzzlers, “Drawdle” adds a drawing element into the mix of making things move. This free version offers 14 puzzles where you draw an object to fling at a paint-filled balloon in hopes of sending it careening over the puzzle-ending object to fill it with color. Your goal is to earn three stars for completely coloring in the object. In some of the puzzles you will need to draw something pointed to cut through a rubber band, but must be careful that it doesn’t pop the balloon. This app provides great motivation for kids to draw a variety of objects to help them solve the puzzles. If you like the first 14 puzzles, you can unlock the remaining 46 for $.99 as an in-app purchase in iOS or purchase the full 60 levels in Android by downloading “Drawdle” for $.99.
Lucas Zanotto, best for ages 4-6, $1.99, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Rating: 4 stars
This ingenious app shows kids how to think of the device’s screen as an animal’s face, and it teaches them to draw the bodies of animals on paper placed underneath your device. After kids draw the animal’s body, the app rewards their efforts by animating the animal’s face and having it do something silly. “Drawnimal” is a whimsical experience like none other in iTunes.
When providing kids with animated instructions of how to draw an animal that corresponds to a letter of the alphabet, “Drawnimal” is careful not to reveal the mystery animal. After kids complete their drawing around the outside edges of the device, using real paper and crayons or markers, they tap the onscreen arrow. The screen then transforms into the animated face of the animal — and tells you what it is. For example, for the letter “C,” the app shows kids how to draw pointy ears, whiskers and a tail. After drawing the requested body parts, the screen switches to the face of the cat. If you tap again, you will hear and see a funny animation. The cat meows, the koala bear sneezes and the gorilla whistles a tune.
While “Drawnimal” works on an iPad, you have to have pretty large paper to have room to draw around it. It is easier to use this app on an iPad mini, an iPhone or an iPod Touch because standard 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper works just fine. The app is playable in four different languages. It is sure to produce some giggles while also encouraging kids to think outside of the box and teaching them how to draw. Kids could benefit from seeing the word of the animal they are drawing — perhaps that will come in an update.