One of the ways to help kids get ready to learn to read is by letting them practice writing.  Holding a crayon, coloring, painting—all these activities help children develop the fine motor skills they will need to pick up a pencil in kindergarten and begin writing.  Well, there’s a fun app that helps with these fine motor skills, too.  It’s called Dipdap and is available for iPad ($2.99), Android  ($1.99), and Kindle Fire ($1.99).  Dipdap is a little critter who interacts with your child’s animated drawings.

There are two sections to Dipdap:  

  1.  There are 16 adventures available for play.  Your child can chose to play the adventure without interacting, or chose to interact by drawing. Dipdap wordlessly presents a scenario to the child, like trying to reach the stars.  Then, the dashed outline of a rocket is presented.  The child traces the rocket outline, and can chose colors or any other add-ins he would like to draw.  Then, Dipdap climbs into the drawn rocket and shoots off into space, bouncing off of stars as he goes.  It’s pretty heady stuff for a cartoon character to jump into something you’ve drawn!
  2. There is also a drawing sketchpad in which the child can draw anything they would like.  Dipdap sits at the bottom of the page and watches the drawing, actively moving his eyes to whatever part of the screen is being touched.  He doesn’t interact with the drawing besides watching it, but the drawing can be “photographed” and saved to the pictures section of the tablet.

      There are no in-app purchases, and there are parental controls that allow you to change the music, sounds, and guides.  Dipdap is so much fun that you might even be tempted to play yourself!