For the iGeneration, coloring books do so much more than color. After showcasing last week’s coloring book app for grown-ups, we knew couldn’t neglect the new products aimed at artists-in-training. Digital coloring books are bringing many innovations to kids’ creativity. Though coloring is still the main entertainment, today’s iPad apps offer additional activities to engage young minds and inspire artistic play. Some apps talk and giggle, others let kids customize their creation with mix-and-match accessories before coloring. As a bonus for parents, they are also a great way to keep kids occupied while you’re out to dinner.

Although many in this new crop of creative apps turn off social sharing features for safety reasons, they still allow parents to share their child’s creations by saving to the iPad photo library or sending an email to proud grandparents, aunts and uncles.

My Pony Coloring Book

My Pony Coloring Book from Dress Up and Girl Games starts the creativity engine before the “crayons” even come out. Prior to coloring, kids can create their own pony pictures with this app. They can choose from lots of different options for the mane, tale and decorations on the pony. By mixing and matching ponies and backgrounds, there are nearly limitless variations to color.

Animated Coloring For Kids

Animated Coloring for Kids from Internet Design Zone includes a large selection of animated scenes that helps kids bring their coloring pages to life. After coloring the background and the animated image, children can see their finished picture in action. Kids have the ability to control brush size and texture with the touch of a finger and zoom in on pictures to color the fine details.

Paint My Wings

Beautiful butterflies interactively teach children colors as they paint in Paint My Wings from Toca Boca. The butterflies name the colors while kids use their fingers to paint the butterflies’ wings. Kids will also learn about symmetry by watching an identical drawing appear on the opposite wing while they are working. Adding to the fun, the butterflies laugh when they are tickled by little fingers.

Discovering Colors – Animals (Coloring Book for kids)

Discovering Colors from Frogames is another great app that animates kids’ drawings. It can be used either with or without the tips, small dots that indicate which color should be used for each section of the picture. There are four additional drawings to unlock once the initial pictures have been colored and animated.

Crayola ColorStudio HD

For those interested in moving beyond finger painting, the iMarker, an iPad stylus from Griffin Technology, is designed to interact with Crayola’s Color Studio HD. The options available allow the stylus to act as a crayon, marker or colored pencil. In addition to making coloring pages, kids can choose to draw freely and doodle. Their finished artwork can be saved and shared as well. A trial mode allows kids to try out the app with a finger before investing in the stylus.

Paint for Cats

Why should kids have all the fun? Paint for Cats by Little Hiccup provides lots of entertainment for curious cats — although toddlers are likely to enjoy the brightly colored interactions as well. A colorful mouse moves across the screen, and as your kitty (or kiddie) chases it with their paw, a colorful trail is left behind. There are several color palettes to choose from, including Hot Paws, Caturday, and Psycatdelic. The finished painting can be shared on Facebook or even printed to hang on the wall.

Contrary to the myth that coloring stifles children’s creativity, app developers are finding new ways to set your child’s imagination free. By providing age-appropriate art apps, parents can nurture their children’s creativity while also ensuring a few moments of peace and quiet.

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