Hello everyone. I’m Little Star, and I am very pleased to meet you.
Excuse me if I don’t shake your hand, but my fingers are a little delicate.
I work with Chatterbox, and Stuntboy at KiddyCharts, and help to review all those little items that we get sent because we do Parenting type stuff.
I am particularly keen on anything that would be great as a reward for doing well on our make your own behaviour charts.
iPad and iPhone apps make great kids rewards, because they usually don’t cost me too much of my pocket money, and in some cases are even educational; shock horror!
I have been sent the Kids! Learn to Draw App for the iPad to take a look at, so here goes….
I kicked back in bed to review this one, because, well I was most comfortable there to be honest….
Cost – Free for the initial application, lesson packs from 69p (8/10)
The application itself is free; and comes with free sample lessons on how to draw a cat and an aeroplane. You can buy other lesson packs within the application for 69p and up to £2.99 for the Garfield and Friends app, which I was also provided for the purposes of the review. The Garfield pack includes 12 lessons, helping you to draw some of the characters from the cartoon. Other lesson packs include pets, reptiles and insects, with more details available on other available packs in the link above. The cheaper lesson packs seem to be good value to me as some come with over 20 lessons which should keep me and the other little stars very, very busy.
I played a bit with Garfield as he’s a cartoon character just like me. I did think that there were better value lesson packs out there, as there were 12 lessons in this compared to less for considerably more lessons, so its worth checking out what’s there before you buy.
I suspect that just like me, Garfield has expensive tastes…
Ease of Use – 7/10
The app comes with easy to understand instructions, which definitely helped me to get started. It’s based on Walter Foster’s concept that all pictures are made from basic shapes, and breaking down everything into these shapes means that everyone can draw; even soft toys like me! You are provided with guidelines to follow and can turn these off and on as you progress through the stages of each lesson.
Most people don’t look at instructions first though, but that doesn’t matter too much, as its easy for a little one to understand what the visual tools do and they can get going really quickly on the free drawing with virtually no help from me. I try not to be too bossy you see.
The lessons were a little harder, but I suspect they are aimed at an age group higher than the KiddyCharts kids. Having the lessons does also mean that the application has some longevity rather than just being an alternative to paper and felt tip pens. It took me a while to get the hang of it at first, but after listening to the instructions, I was able to draw a pretty good picture of a labrador; which isn’t bad when you consider how clumsy I look.
The instructions are clear and its all a matter of patience, and giving yourself time to get it right. The three tools for drawing; a pencil, a marker and an eraser, make it possible to draw, colour and shade your work, just as if you were doing it for real on paper. In addition, you can choose the paper that you want to use, which can give your picture some interesting textures. Stuntboy and Chatterbox were particularly fond of using different papers for their pictures.
Little fingers did find it hard to manipulate the iPad sometimes which is why we have marked it down slightly, but in all honestly, that didn’t seem to bother Stuntboy too much and he was happy with doing his own thing and drawing a picture of daddy, and a cat on a scrunched up piece of paper!
Educational Aspects - 8/10
Clearly this is teaching kids how to draw; it doesn’t take much of my little star brain to work that out; the title of the app give it away somewhat.
The free drawing application also helps to improve dexterity and co-ordination. Its also great for the smaller ones to learn about shading and the difference this can make to a picture; for example just adding in a bit of a shadow to a drawing.
Overall, one of the better apps for educational value out there, its not pretending to be something its not. Clearly, you need patience for the lessons, but thats why there is also the free drawing element for the younger children.
Maybe if they like this review, they can put in a lesson to learn to draw me!
Now, the KiddyCharts kids and myself are generally pretty good; we can sit still for quite a few seconds before we start to get a bit bored, but its important for apps to keep their users busy. So how does this one do for that?
Well; put it this way, it kept Stuntboy sitting still for just under an hour, and I can’t say fairer than that can I?
They didn’t manage to stick with the lessons for too long though, so that’s why I have marked it down very slightly. However, for an older child these are likely to be much more suitable.
Age appropriateness – 8/9+ years for Lessons, 4+ years for free drawing
Chatterbox and Stuntboy are both under seven, so their patience wasn’t quite good enough for following the lessons. However, they loved the free drawing part of the application which enables them to draw their own pictures. They both come up with some stunning creations which you can see for yourself.
I did have to reach my long gloved hand over at one point to save the iPad from certain doom as they both wanted a go at once. But harmony was restored.
The free drawing was a great way to encourage imaginations, and the different paper gave it an extra twist. The lessons are definitely for older children, and possibly adults if they take a fancy to the app, to get to grips with.
Overall Little Star Rating – 7.5/10
I liked this app; particularly the free drawing application for the KiddyCharts kids as they are quite little stars. The lessons give it another dimension for older children.
There were a few things that needed ironing out in it, such as the delete button on “My Drawings” occasionally disappearing, but nothing too serious.
The products within this post were provided free for the purposes of review. However, the opinions within this post are KiddyCharts and Little Star’s very, very own.