Get Your Kids Hooked on These Amazing Art Apps

Smartphones, tablets and computers are the Swiss Army knives of the modern age. Tools for work, video players, photo albums, mailboxes, music players, scrapbooks, libraries, game boards and phones, it seems that each day we find new ways for our devices to both help and entertain us.

Many enjoy tinkering with some of the better art apps. Whether it’s painting, sketching, doodling, or warping images, today’s art apps simply let people at all skill levels create. Parents are turning to these creative alternatives as a way to get their kids to stop constant texting and mindless surfing, and instead use their minds. This guide lists a handful of the best artistic apps for kids.

Painting, Drawing and Sketching

Drawing Pad, available for iPad, Nook and Kindle, allows kids to create, save and share their artwork. Kids use crayons, paint brushes, markers, colored pencils and stickers to make their masterpieces. Art can be saved on an album and shared via Picasa, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook. Winner of a Parents Choice Gold Award, Drawing Pad is appropriate for kids of all ages, sells for $1.99 and is available via iTunes,Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

ZoodlePad for iPhone provides kids with a simple palette from which they can draw, sketch and doodle. Available for free from iTunes, busy parents can keep kids of all ages occupied while on the go. Similarly, Picasso for Android is also free and has options for painting, drawing and just doodling. Unlike ZoodlePad, Picasso lets kids draw over imported photographs.

Photographs and Images

Who doesn’t love a kaleidoscope? Android offers its free Kaleidoscope app that allows kids to make an infinite variety of creative patterns. Children can use an existing image or take a photo and turn the world topsy-turvy.PrismScope is a free kaleidoscope maker for iPhone, although the resulting images have text across them; for $0.99 Apple fans can download Kaleidoscope Camera and turn their world into mesmerizing art that can be saved and shared.

Kids love to mess with photographs, and a number of apps are available to give them hours of creative fun. For $0.99, kids can warp still images and real time videos with Photastic Video Warper for iPhone and iPad. Images can be shattered, distorted, spun, pulsed, deflated and liquefied; frugal Apple families will enjoy FunMirrorLite, which lets kids warp faces and is downloaded from iTunes for free. Android users can likewise melt, stretch, squish and totally screw up faces with Photo Warp; this free download can warp any picture or photo, and the finished result may be shared online.

Art Appreciation

Art Academy is a virtual art gallery with over 4000 paintings available for free for Android phones. Kids learn a bit about great masterpieces and the galleries and museums that house them. iPad’s OddSpotter lets kids learn about the Great Masters while enjoying a fun, free puzzle game. Specifically, the game challenges kids to tell the difference between a masterpiece and a forgery. iPhone users can also download Interactive Art for Kid for $0.99 and let their kids choose from one of 19 great masterpieces to either add colors, stickers and effects, or even turn the painting into a puzzle.

Arts and Technology Blogs

The App Advice Team tests and reviews a wide variety of apps, including art apps. Their seemingly endless guides and lists include an long list of newer apps for Drawing with Your iPad, as well as one describing Animation Apps for the iPad.

Although not specifically geared toward any particular demographic, The Guardian’s Apps Blog features a weekly overview of the 20 best games and apps for iPhone, IPad and Android, which from time to time include artistic apps. Similarly, parents can find quarterly reviews of the best new apps, including the occasional art app, at CIO.

Helping kids become more creative has never been easier. Even if their lives are too busy for them to sit at a table with crayons and paper, children can still draw, paint and design. Accessible and affordable, conscientious parents should consider adding a few of these amazing art apps to their devices, and help their kids unleash their creativity.

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