Kids’ cognition craves drawing  because it provides it with an unrestricted space to exercise its creative performance. Through drawing, kids get to develop a number of key skills including fine motor skills, cognitive skills, hand-eye coordination skills, math and language skills, among others (see sources at the bottom of this page for more on the importance of drawing and creative art in kids whole development).

With the advance of technology and more specifically mobile technology, drawing has taken unprecedented dimensions empowering kids to take their creative skills  to the next level. There are now a wide variety of great educational apps to help kids enhance their graphic expressivity through drawing and doodling. Below is a sample of some of the best educational drawing apps for kids out there. 

1- Draw it

This is an engaging drawing game that involves kids competing against each other. Winners are those who can draw as many objects as possible in a limited time frame. Some of the app’s  features include: 
“Simple and addictive gameplayVariety of word packs to unlock and collectNumber of different objects to draw and sketchFierce competitionLimited time to draw”.

Compatibility: iPhone/iPad and Android / Price: Free, offers in-app purchases / Age: 12+

2- Drawing with Carl

Drawing with Carl allows kids to import pictures and draw over them. They write their names with stickers, draw Talking Monsters, use Mirror painting to explore creative drawing, and more. Some of its features include:  Easy and fun drawing tools, Talking Stickers, magical pattern paint bucket, mirror drawing, cool stickers of Carl and friends, share on Facebook Wall, email your drawings, import from photo library, and more.

Compatibility: iPhone/iPad and Android / Price: Free, offers in-app purchases / Age: 12+

Kids can use Draw In to draw outlines to sketch. The way it works is simple and easy: “you draw a line, reckon up the length of the shape and close it! The stars will be awarded depending on how perfect the line covers its outline! The more close it closes, the more you can see what the shape really is! The line can be close but you need to try again if it’s too long.” 

Some of its features include: Free to play, suitable for all ages, length of outlines are not know till one starts drawing, kids try to find images hidden in the shape, and more.

Compatibility: iPhone/iPad and Android / Price: Free, offers in-app purchases / Age: 12+

4- Draw.AI- How to draw

Draw.AI provides kids with guided drawing activities in which they get to select a drawing they like and follow the step to draw and color it. Kids can choose from  anime, animals, flowers, and more. Some of its features include: 
“Seamless animations showing you how to draw step by step.Tons of awesome drawings created by our artists, updated regularly!Amazing tools! You can even use our GLOWING pens to create your unique glowing artworks!Coloring mode for you to practice your coloring skills.Auto generated video of your drawing & coloring process!”

Compatibility: iPhone/iPad and Android / Price: Free, offers in-app purchases / Age: 12+

5- Draw Story

In Draw Story, kids use their drawing skills to get out of touble. The way it works is simple: 
‘• Simply use your finger or Apple Pencil to draw each objective
• Try to get out of school!
• Discover all of the different level endings
• Immerse yourself in a world a drawing!’.

Compatibility: iPhone/iPad and Android / Price: Free, offers in-app purchases / Age: 12+

6- Picsart Color Paint

Picsart id another good drawing app for kids (and adults). It offers a wide vareity of drawing features including: the ability to draw with both color and texture, use numerous layers to draw on, pattern and color fill, a color wheel and mixer to match colors, use different blending modes, a text tool to draw and erase using text, and more.

Compatibility: iPhone/iPad and Android / Price: Free, offers in-app purchases / Age: 12+

7- Drawing Games Learning Kids 2

In this app, kids use their drawing skills to improve their learning. Some of its features include: 
“150 step-by step drawing tutorials in 10 thematic sets with different complexity levels for kids aged 2 to 6“ABC” and “Numbers” packs to get children interested in learning letters and numbers through drawing with pictures they make themselvesa huge variety of tools, including pencils, crayons, stickers, patterns, and paintstracing and free-drawing mechanics to help prepare your child’s hand for writing with step-by-step motor-skill refinement, from the moment they first scribble to their finalized masterpiecesactivities that form a customized age-based learning program, taking your child’s interests into accountunique easy-to-follow tracing exercises that guide your child’s creativity without limitations and stimulating free drawing”.

Compatibility: iPhone/iPad and Android / Price: Free, offers in-app purchases / Age: 12+

8- ArtWorkout: Learn How to Draw

ArtWorkout teaches kids drawing using a game-based methodology. While drawing, the app evaluates kids performance and analytic insights. ArtWorkout also provides a plethora of resources to help kids amp up their drawing competencies. These resources include over 200 lessons, step-by-step guides, interactive courses (e.g., in doodling, sketching, drawing, painting, and handwriting), Apple pencil support, and many more.

Compatibility: iPhone/iPad and Android / Price: Free, offers in-app purchases / Age: 12+

9- Doodle Buddy 

‘Doodle Buddy Gold is the most fun you can have with your finger! Finger paint with your favorite colors and drop in playful stamps. Connect with a friend to draw together over the Internet.’

Compatibility: iPhone/iPad and Android / Price: Free, offers in-app purchases / Age: 12+

4- Kids Doodle 

‘”Kids Doodle” is a pretty easy-to-use painting application that is designed specifically for little kids to enjoy doodle freely on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It supports more than 10 brushes, such as glow/neon brush, rainbow brush, crayon brush, oil brush, etc. The brush size and color is randomly adjusted to let kids entertained all the time.’

Compatibility: iPhone/iPad and Android / Price: Free, offers in-app purchases / Age: 12+

More sources:

Children’s drawings speak a thousand words in their transition to school (by Catherine Kaplun, published in  the Australasian Journal of Early Childhood).
Making meaning: children’s perspectives expressed through drawings (by Johanna Einarsdottir, Sue Dockett, and Bob Perry; published in the Journal Early Child Development and Care).
Communicating and Thinking Through Drawing Activity in Early Childhood (by Maria Papandereou, published in the Journal of Research in Childhood Education).