It wasn’t that long ago that kids entertained themselves without the aid of any digital device. Physical activity, board games, and coloring books were enough to get us through the day. Painting Lulu is bringing one of those old school activities back into the 21st century. Okay, so maybe coloring hasn’t gone away completely but you have to admit that kids are more likely lured to smart devices than coloring pages. The Painting Lulu coloring books are a very nice middle ground for parents who still want their kids to experience the physical and mental fun of coloring with real crayons and paper as well as having the digital experience.
Painting Lulu coloring books
The books are well made and include six crayons and a chunky crayon-shaped stylus for use with your smartphone or tablet. The stylus is chunky and suits little hands very well, it is a bit cumbersome to use on a smartphone and is better suited to tablet use. There are 32 pages for the kids to color and those same pages are mirrored on the app itself. Using the coloring book is pretty self-explanatory and easy enough to do, the Painting Lulu coloring books are rated for kids 3+ but I found our two-year-old handled them just fine as well.
The digital magic happens with the included iOS or Android app, which can be used on your smartphone or tablet (tablets are better suited). When you open the app you’ll be greeted with a short overview of the app and its functions. When you get through that, I recommend you setup an account with Painting Lulu which will sync your coloring books across devices. Once you have your account setup, you tap on My Coloring Book and enter the code on the inside front cover from the physical book, this will unlock the coloring book in the app.
Once inside the app, you have access to the exact same 32 pages of coloring pages as the physical book and you can color, save, and even email those pages to friends and family. You can also use the camera to take a picture of anything you like and it will turn that into a virtual coloring page. You could even save the coloring page to your device and print it on your network printer. The app also has a photo booth feature where your child can take a picture with the coloring book character and color that as well.
You can also scan the colored pages and save them to where ever you like, send them via email, or print them off. The app also includes a measure of safety for the youngest of children, the settings and menus are locked out so little fingers don’t accidently mess with your account. It’s fairly simple when you try and access a menu or setting, the app asks you to solve a simple math problem. Both my 6 and 8-year-old were able to get through that layer of security pretty easily, but it will depend on your kid’s math skills.
Crayola did not invent the crayon. Records show that Europe was the birthplace of the “modern” crayon. The first crayons were made from a mixture of charcoal and oil. Later, powdered pigments of various hues replaced the charcoal. It was discovered that substituting wax for the oil in the mixture made the sticks sturdier and easier to handle.
Crayola Crayons were invented by Binney & Smith in 1902 and first offered for sale in 1903. Alice (Stead) Binney, a school teacher and wife of co-founder Edwin Binney, suggested the company manufacture an inexpensive alternative to imported crayons of that era. The trade name Crayola was coined by Mrs. Edwin Binney who joined the French word “craie,” meaning stick of chalk and “ola” from the word “oleaginous,” meaning oily. Crayola Crayons are made primarily from paraffin wax and color pigment. The Crayola brand celebrated its 100th anniversary during 2003 and today we manufacture over 3 billion crayons each year. (From Crayola’s website)
Overall, Painting Lulu coloring books are a fun mix of old school crayons and paper mixed with a digital experience. With a starting price of $7.99USD, it isn’t an expensive activity either, although the app is locked unless you buy the book. Once you have the book you can unlock the app with the code from inside the book. Kids entertainment can get pretty expensive these days and this is a nice affordable way to exercise a child’s brain and creativity through physical creation while embracing the digital side as well.
These little activity gets 5 out of 5 and earns a Techaeris Top Pick award for affordability, fun, and for combining physical and digital creativity. This is a very worthwhile children’s toy/activity.
*We were sent samples of Painting Lulu coloring books for the purposes of this review.
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