Caterpillar head
Arts and crafts are a major part of summertime fun, but they’re usually reserved to an indoor setting where the mess can be contained and the scissors, glue, crayons, etc., are already located. But now, kids can take that arts and crafts studio with them anywhere they go—without having to drag along all the tools or making a mess. With The Very Hungry Caterpillar—Creative Play, an app from The Eric Carle Studio and StoryToys, kids can color, collage, and create art inspired by the style of Eric Carle.

With gentle music playing in the background and a palette of rich colors and textures to work with, kids are likely to tap into their inner Carle in a snap. Enter the app and find more than 40 textured swatches based on Carle’s hand-painted collage illustrations, as well as solid bold swatches. The app also features all of the wonderful animals from Carle’s popular books, including Mister Seahorse, Brown Bear, The Very Quiet Cricket, The Mixed Up Chameleon, and of course The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Plus, like a caterpillar that grows bigger with every bite, the app will grow with seasonal surprises and more templates throughout the year.

While doodling around on this app, I stuffed this hungry caterpillar with layers of texture and cartons of color. Navigating this app is simple: Kids can use their fingers to lay colors and patterns into empty spaces. By applying varying pressure onto the screen, they can even create different strokes for a more detailed creation. Needle-thin strokes appear when kids press lightly, or they can create fatter lines when they apply more force.

Kids can tap on different textures, which instantly splashed across the screen like a giant origami. Then I dragged my fingers on the screen to cut out the shape I wanted. A dotted line helped me along the way to finish the loop. If kids get briefly distracted—as kids do—or need to take a break, this intuitive app senses it: the music momentarily stops, prompting kids to finish the work they started.

This inspiring app lets kids explore the same techniques that Carle used as an artist, but also allows them to get creative, experiment, and discover my own style.

My scribbleThis app lets kids cut shapes and arrange them in layers to make a basic collage, as well as figure out how to group and ungroup objects as if they were sticking them together with glue. They will learn how to create patterns with fingers and learn how to perfect their strokes. Kids will begin to learn about colors and shapes, in addition to all that imagination building. And if they have iPad Pros with the Apple Pencil, they can even challenge themselves to more advanced levels of drawing, or simply start out by etching more details. The app also offers support for Force Touch on relevant devices.

All artists begin their journey with a technique called contouring, where they learn to draw the outlines of objects they see in real life by following its contour with their eyes and re-creating the outline on paper without looking at it. This simple exercise in hand-eye coordination is also a part of The Very Hungry Caterpillar—Creative Play experience, which sharpens kids’ developmental skills, including their motor skills and depth perception.

Once kids are satisfied with their masterpieces, they can wrap their masterpiece into a frame and place it on their gallery wall, curated by a The Very Hungry Caterpillar himself. Whether they’re an aspiring artist, or just a fan of Eric Carle, kids will love creating whatever they can imagine with this app.

Caterpillar gallery