App of the week: ColAR Mix that animates your child’s drawings
Friday, September 5th, 2014
Mom, can I play on the (insert digital device here)? As parents, how many times do we hear that question every day? We are living in a digital world. While some devices have benefits, they have many drawbacks as well. As a pediatric occupational therapist who also has young children I can attest to the fact that one drawback to devices is that our children do not use their hands as frequently as we used to. Now, I don’t want to turn this into an “I remember when …” article, however, kids used to play in the dirt and with a huge variety of toys such as Legos, Erector sets and Lincoln Logs. They cut, pasted, glued, colored and made Play-Doh cookies. All of these activities naturally facilitated hand development and were the physical foundational skills built upon when they entered school and learned how to write. With the current pervasiveness of digital devices, kids are using their hands a lot less and increasingly lack the building blocks for muscle strength and coordination to support early writing. When they get to school today’s kids often present with a weak grasp, hold a pencil awkwardly, and have difficulty learning how to write properly. Sounds kind of gloomy, right? Well let me tell you about an app that blends the digital and the physical world so your child will be motivated to color, which in turn, will assist in building up those hand muscles.
Download the ColAR Mix 3D coloring app free from the Google Play store or iTunes. Next, go to colarapp.com to print coloring pages that appeal to both boys and girls. Once your child colors in a picture, open up the app and hold it over the picture. Magically, the picture is transformed into a 3D animated picture that is truly amazing; a flying dragon breathing fire, a bird chasing and catching a worm, an airplane that does loop-de-loops, all in the exact colors that your child used. There are even pictures where you can write in your name, which then pops up on the 3D picture!
While the he app is free, all the pictures can be printed free of charge, and quite a few of the coloring pages can be transformed into 3D for free, others cost some money to unlock the magic. All the children I have used this app with became so excited when they saw their pictures come to life that they asked to color more. So, while we are living in a digital world, there are many opportunities out there to blend the virtual with the real and keep things moving in a positive direction, so our kids don’t miss out on basic pre-school skills.
Sumitted By: Gershon Kravetz, MS, OTR/L