There’s a growing problem with the way that technology is being used to teach children about art. Rather than supplementing the use of physical materials, such as poster paints, crayons and felt-tip pens, they’re trying to replace them entirely.

DRAWNIMAL is a deceptively simple app dreamt up by Lucas Zanotto. Unlike this recent Windows 8 advert, which encourages users to forgo the traditional drawing experience in favour of a rather expensive all-in-one PC, DRAWNIMAL goes right back to basics, inspiring only the fundamentals; a pen and piece of paper.

How it works

Place the iPhone directly in the center of a blank piece of paper. Launch the app, and you’ll be greeted with a screen demonstrating the letter ‘A’. Tapping the top-half of the screen triggers an audio recording, which explains how to pronunciate the letter.

drawnimal2 DRAWNIMAL for iOS is the perfect way to teach your child the alphabet and get them excited about art

The lower-half shows a brief animation, directing the child to draw around the device. Each illustration is incredibly basic, although it’s perfectly possible to draw additional sections and still experience the full effect.

Once the child has finished, tap the playback button to reveal the animal tailored to the letter; in this instance, it’s an alligator for the letter ‘A’. The audio recording then explains the link between the two ideas, and the child’s drawing is complete. Voila!

A simple premise, but that’s okay

That’s pretty much all there is to it. The app is crammed full of lovely illustrations, which move naturally onscreen. Tapping the animal will trigger a quick action, such as an alligator gnashing its teeth together or a grizzly bear yawning in its sleep.

drawnimal3 DRAWNIMAL for iOS is the perfect way to teach your child the alphabet and get them excited about art

A swipe down returns to the letter list and a finger stroke to either the left or right reveals a new letter. Letters A to C come free, although if you’re prepared to pay £1.49 you can unlock the full alphabet, 30 animated animals, Spanish, French and German language support, as well as the iPad companion app.

The bottom line

Art, in my opinion, should be hands-on. Not exclusively, but from a child’s perspective there’s something rather magical about experimenting with physical materials. Potato prints just wouldn’t be the same otherwise, right?

DRAWNIMAL is a fantastic example of how technology can be combined with education to create a more immersive experience. The app is polished, engaging and completely bug-free, making this is an instant recommendation for parents.

It’s free on the App Store now, although the £1.49 microtransaction is excellent value.

➤ DRAWNIMAL | iOS

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