This is such fun for little kids, and those who are young at heart!
CBeebies is part of the BBC website, and full of great learning activities for kids. You can see all of them in an a-z list, check out the games it considers its top picks, or choose by theme. I chose to look only at Art games today.
One of my favourites is Get Squiggling Magic Paintbox. It reminds me of KidPix in its variety and ease of use. There are lots of lovely things to paint with, stamps galore, your very own coach on the sidelines to encourage you, and pattern makers too. When you're done, you can watch a video of how you made the picture, or print it out. If children choose picture stories instead, they can interact with a story by decorating part of it.
Another is Butterfly Gallery. It has lovely animation and music to accompany your designing. Once children choose a butterfly shape, they are presented with half of it to decorate, because the symmetrical magic makes the other side work too. They can choose from stampers, markers and paint. Once done, their butterfly is cut out and liberated to fly around the garden, while Charlie and Lola fly by on a bee. Beautiful!
Doodle Maker is a place to draw, add stamps and play with colour. Like the others, it's simple to use, so long as kids have mouse skills.
Mister Maker Magic Paintbox offers drawing, and adds more unusual techniques, like drawing with foil, buttons and pasta. There's a chalky thing that has a little hand which lets you push and pull the shape you drew. You can paint with glue then sprinkle glitter, add paddlepop sticks, leaves, crumpled paper, and let yourself go wild with colour and pattern. Mister Maker's compliments on my work became wearing, so I muted him and we got along so much better.
Nothing will ever replace the squish and swirl of real paint and glue, but a digital version like what CBeebies offer is perfect for those times when you don't have the space or tools to hand, but your youngster wants to make some art. If kids enjoy books or shows like the Charlie and Lola series, or In the Night Garden, these activities are a great way to help them make creative connections with stories they love.