Friday, March 6, 2015

Children’s iPad App, MoMA Art Lab

Children’s iPad App, MoMA Art Lab
by Susan Stephenson,

Children's App Review

The Museum of Modern Art no doubt needs no introduction. Did you know MoMA have an app, one that encourages kids to experiment with art digitally? I believe children who enjoy the app may well want to go on and play with art in real life too. Connecting to real life activities is a definite plus where apps are concerned. When learning and creativity are important to us as educators and parents, it’s wonderful to find apps that encourage those things outside the app too.

From the developer:

• Create and save your own artwork

• Play with shapes, lines, and colors

• Nine activities inspired by works of art, including:

o Create a mobile
o Experiment with paint
o Draw from instructions
o Create a sound composition
o Draw with scissors
o Make a line design
o Collaborate on a group drawing
o Create a shape poem
o Make a chance collage

• Creative prompts for extra inspiration

• Audio for pre-readers

• Learn about works of art at MoMA. Artists include Henri Matisse, Alexander Calder, Elizabeth Murray, Sol LeWitt, Jim Lambie, Brice Marden, and others.

• Share your artwork

What I liked:

Apps that encourage creativity get my coveted Book Chook Feather of Approval. When kids are permitted to have screen time, isn’t it better for them to be creating something rather than killing zombies? The cost is great - FREE! I also always appreciate apps that are easy and obvious to navigate. There are three icons in the left side menu - one that gives kids prompts for drawing and design; one that gives activities with videos and an explanation about an artists’s work that led to the activity; and the last leads to your gallery. The main screen is a drawing pad, with lots of different shapes and lines, plus a colour wheel. I liked too that the setting to share art work had to be switched ON in Settings. Another plus is the lovely vibrant colours and range of shapes and lines Art Lab offers to you to work with.

I would have loved if the works saved to the gallery had been able to be edited. For instance, we played the exquisite corpse game which resulted in a creature outline. How cool to have been able to add shapes etc from the main screen to my saved work! I also found operating on shapes - shrinking, enlarging and moving - could be fiddly at times. But patience is something digital artists no doubt need to learn. Basically though, the MoMA Art Lab app was great and offered a range of ideas and activities to involve kids in art.

This is one of those excellent apps where kids will have so much fun, they won’t realise they’re learning too. It’s free right now, so do grab it for your kids 5+. (MoMA suggests 7+, but I think it would be a great app to play WITH younger kids, rather than using the iPad as a baby sitter.) I'll be adding it to my Creating with Kids and iPad Apps List, and my Ways Kids Can Create Images with iPad List.

Check out all my reviews of iPad apps suitable for kids on Pinterest


  1. Thank you for this great resource! I teach a graduate class on Emergent Literacy and this will be a great support. Have you seen Educreations? It is a great whiteboard app that allows kids to draw and write while recording their narratives. I would attach a few as an example, but I cannot seem to do so in the comments. I look forward to exploring your links!

    1. Stephanie, thanks so much for leaving a comment! I do know Educreations and have it on my to-be-reviewed list of digital storytelling apps.

      A graduate class in Emergent Literacy sounds like my dream job!


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