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App of the Week - Let’s Color!

By Matthew McDonnell 

When you open Let’s Color! you’ll be struck by a playful song that would work just as well coming from a 1920’s boardwalk carousel as it does on a brand new tablet computer. A brightly colored, perpetually shaking button with “GO!” written on it is the only moving object on the visually engaging home screen.

Pressing “GO!” elicits a childish voice that says “Let’s Color!” This simple rallying cry conveys the essence of this app. There are no complicated rules or unnecessary restraints.  Rather, Let’s Color! provides a digital creative space with just enough structure to make sure that the user has a kernel of inspiration without in any way constraining his or her creativity.

After pressing “GO!”  the simple three part instructions appear: 1) choose a page, 2) draw with your finger, and 3) press the GO Button.

There are nine different pages to choose from but this app feels much bigger than a nine-page coloring book; instead, there is a distinctly theatrical feel. Most coloring books present a still life scene and the user merely fills in the space between the lines. Let’s Color! sets the stage for the user to tell a story.

Each page presents a spartan set and a brief directorial suggestion to set the scene. One such page shows a roughly sketched elephant set against a monochromatic background on the far right portion of the screen with its trunk upturned. The child’s voice then asks, “What’s coming out of the elephant’s trunk?” as the words are highlighted at the top of the screen.

Armed with a simple, yet surprisingly robust menu full of art supplies, the child is free to explore whatever possibilities his or her imagination suggests.  Once the drawing is completed, the user presses the “GO!” button and the scene comes alive. The user’s drawings are incorporated into an animation that sometimes has unexpected results.

The great joy of this app is that the animation transforms the user from a passive participant in someone else’s pictures into a director, who uses another’s backdrop to make his or her creative vision come to life.

But perhaps the most amazing feature is the app’s steadfast refusal to become dull.  One of the pages explains that it’s autumn and the user should draw colored leaves on the branches of the bare tree. The first attempt might include some amorphous orange and red blobs, but subsequent uses might produce a tree that sheds lollipops in the fall, or perhaps your child will be spurned to explore the different types of leaves on the ground outside and later incorporate them into a drawing. The possibilities are endless and Let’s Color! encourages learning beyond the app to a degree which is quite rare.

Despite the fact that the content remains fresh and interesting through multiple uses, the pages are engaging enough that users will inevitably want more.  Under the parent’s tab on the home screen, parents can download additional Lazoo apps such as Squiggles!, a similarly brilliant blend of user generated and prepackaged content.

While the new apps are free you can also purchase 16 additional pages for Let’s Color! for $1.99. But this isn’t your average in-app purchase. Lazoo seems to not only understand a parent’s concerns, but to act on this knowledge by providing the option of hiding the clearly labeled in-app purchase selection from children. Lazoo’s honesty is a refreshing departure from the normal litany of in-app purchase scandals. Let’s Color! is a similarly refreshing departure from run-of-the-mill coloring apps.

Let’s Color! is recommended for Toddlers and Kids  (Ages 2 to 9) for an immersive imagination building experience. Find screenshots, reviews and family-friendly ratings for Let’s Color and more of the best iPad apps at Famigo.com.

Developer: Lazoo Worldwide, Inc

Compatibility: iPad (iOS 4.3 or later)

App Category: Education

Price: Free

Famigo Family Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Comment by Tiffany Hernandez, posted 8/23/2012, 11:17 AM:

Love this going to get for my toddlers!! (:
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