Art making is for everyone; it relieves stress, expands our ideas, makes us happier, and more thoughtful. Fostering that creative mind can also give your kids a leg up in the new creative economy, where new ideas are valued more than static information. For those right-brained (and not so right brained) kids of ours, there is a wealth of apps that can help get that creativity flowing. Whether they are painting a digital abstraction or creating a silly cartoon, here are five positive, educational kid-friendly app choices for drawing, photo editing, and other creative outlets.
FlipaClip (Free download with in-app ads and purchases / Ages 3+)
If your kids are interested in animation, this tablet-friendly drawing tool makes frame-by-frame old school flipbook style animation easy. Use background layers and paste moving characters over them, or use onion layers to show the previous drawing as a ghost image for easier tracing. Perfect when used with a stylus pen. Although the app is listed as 3+, the interface may be too challenging for kids under 6.
PicCollage Kids (USD 2.99 / Ages 3+)
From the makers of PicCollage, a hugely popular photo editing app, this kid’s version is safer, with no account required, no ads, and no social media sharing features. Your children can cut out, colorize, combine, doodle over and add borders to their favorite photos. Rotate, resize with simple touch gestures, as well as slapping on some fun, free colorful sticker packs, which are frequently updated. Save images on a device when done, print and share with friends.
MediBang Paint (Free download, in-app ads / Ages 3+)
Possibly the best-designed drawing app around, MediBang is a Japanese app specifically created for anime drawing but can be used for anything. Ideal with a tablet, your kids can navigate the simple interface and select over a hundred brushes like sumi ink, airbrush, and even something called a “turnip pen.” The beauty of this app is that it’s easy for young kids, but so dense with options, that older kids and adults can easily engage. Saved drawings can be saved and shared on social media, or within MediBang’s drawing communities, many of which are kid-friendly.
Plum’s Creaturizer (Free / Ages 5+)
Created by PBS Kids, Plum’s Creaturizer combines interests in nature and art by allowing players to create fantastical creatures with fully customizable physical features. But that’s only where you begin, because you then get to build freeform, creative narratives around the creature, like where it eats, sleeps, and raises babies. The game also has augmented reality features that allow kids to place their crazy creatures within nature, giving them things to eat and creating virtual habitats.
Happy Snap (USD 1.99 / Ages 4+)
Combining close to home adventures, photography and “I spy with my little eye,” Happy Snap is an augmented reality app that creates missions, or “scavenger hunts” to photograph something red, or something tiny or any number of fun, easy to understand parameters. With both outdoor and indoor options, this is an ideal game to play in many situations. Since kids could be running around looking for specific objects, make sure kids have a good grip on the phone or tablet. For safety, in-game photos are not stored in the app or device’s camera roll.
This article appeared on p27 of beijingkids February 2018 issue.