Crayola's New Create & Play App Will Make Kids Think They're Coloring (But They'll Actually Be Learning, Shh)

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There's perhaps no more iconic art supply brand in the world than Crayola. Just saying the name conjures images of children's hands racing across blank pages, creating monsters with only one eye, sunsets of every color, and self-portraits probably more Picasso than Van Gogh. As of late, Crayola has been expanding their artistic empire to include the world of virtual expression. And launching on November 13, Crayola's new Create and Play app focuses on not only artistic engagement, but also the valuable STEAM learning that has proven to be so crucial in a child's well-rounded education.

Create and Play is a subscription-based art and educational app designed with young children's developing brains in mind. It features everything from creative, guided art projects to basic coding skills to math, number, and alphabet games that encourage learning without the feeling of being tutored or sitting in class. Kids can spray paint their way through letters, learn programming through simple mazes, and even hatch fun animals that they then get to dress up. These games allow children to build points for use as currency so they can rack up tons of virtual prizes like new stamping markers and additional art supplies.

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I've been a Crayola devotee for as long as I can remember. My parents weren't much for splurging, but because I so loved to draw, a few times every year my mom would buy me a new 96 pack of crayons in the iconic gold and green box. Just knowing I had all those fresh wax sticks made my heart swell and my brain alight with creativity. I'm happy to say that I've absolutely passed that love on to my daughter. Her adoration for all things Crayola can be best described as abiding and true. Like an old woman and her sewing kit, my little girl has a giant shortbread cookie tin full to bursting with the remnants of maroon and cornflower blue and every other color of the rainbow Crayola crayons.

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Aimed at the 3-5 year age group, Crayola's new Create and Play app takes that love of all things crayon and brings it into a new world of creative and exploratory play. As Crayola explained in a press release, while it's driven by your child's imaginary expression, it "is inspired by the foundation of STEAM learning." And that's not all: The app also "fosters kids' natural inclinations to be curious, to learn by doing and to make cause and effect connections through play." This is accomplished through several key areas of learning, including "logic, coding, dexterity, cause and effect, caring for pets, color theory and more."

Crayola

And just like all of Crayola's other apps, this one is designed with your child's safety and security in mind. There are no in-app purchases once you sign up for the subscription, which is being offered at a special introductory price of $3.99 per month. However, starting on December 15, Crayola Create and Play will cost $5.99 per month (or you can pay an annual price of $39.99). As someone who's been burned by a child's in-app purchases, I can tell you, this is intensely important. Also, it's a completely closed system. There are no chats, and no communication whatsoever happening with the user, so you don't have to worry about creeper peeping on your kid's activities.

This app feels a little like Starfall or ABC Mouse, but with the creative genius of Crayola powering the whole engine. It's sure to be a big hit amongst the preschool crowd, that's for certain. The only thing Crayola's new Create and Play app is missing is the smell of fresh crayons, because, you know it's the best smell ever.