Drawnimal is an iPhone/iPad app that gets kids thinking beyond the screen.

It’s essentially an alphabet book in which letters are associated with animals.

Players set their iOS device on a pad of paper. Then they draw around it to complete a portrait.

Interestingly enough, the faces you see here are the reveal.

To create that moment of surprise…

…you’re asked to draw an animal part before knowing what the animal is.

You press a button for the reveal and…

SURPRISE! It’s an alligator. Scratch his nose and he bites.

It’s a fun, well-executed idea.

And there’s probably a child in your life who would very much enjoy it.

And there’s probably a child in your life who would very much enjoy it.

And there’s probably a child in your life who would very much enjoy it.

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A Clever iPad App Gets Kids Drawing On Paper Again

Drawnimal teaches youngsters the alphabet while exercising their imaginations beyond the bounds of the iPad’s screen.

Drawnimal may be my new favorite iPad app, despite the fact that I’m about 25 years beyond its target demographic. It’s essentially an alphabet game in which each letter pulls up an associated animal ("A" is for alligator—you know the drill). But naturally, there’s a twist.

Players are asked to place the iPad on a blank piece of paper. With a pencil in-hand, they’re instructed to draw a somewhat anonymous shape around the iPad screen (Is that a tail? Are those ears?). And only when the drawing is finished do they see an on-screen portrait to complete the drawn picture, a green cartoon face coupled with a warm, grandfatherly voice that confirms, yes, the "A" really is for alligator. (Just resist the urge to scratch the alligator’s nose. He bites.)

I asked Drawnimal’s visual designer, Lucas Zanotto, why more apps don’t use the iPad as part of a greater mixed media experience? He thinks that "developers are often focused on the device itself."

"Using touch screens as we do today is still seen as something new and advanced," Zanotto explains. "So in wanting to get the most out of the device itself, we often forget the big picture." And that big picture is precisely what Drawnimal wants kids to grasp by, quite literally, forcing them to think outside the box. Or at least the bezel.

Download it here.

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