What It Is
Learn to Write with Mr. Pencil from LeapFrog, which is a big chunky smart stylus that aids kids in writing, drawing, and a bit of vocabulary. Before you get started, you'll need to download the free app onto your Apple device.
When you enter the app for the first time you'll need to press the eraser side of your pencil in the indicated spots to sync your stylus and use it with the app. Mr. Pencil will then appear and teach you how to properly hold the pencil stylus, and just as in writing to keep your pencil down until you reach the end of a line. Proper form will help your child to develop better control over the stylus as they draw. Set up a profile by typing your name in an empty profile slot. You can create up to three profiles within the app, so multiple kids can use it.
Then it's time to enter the world of Doodleburg. You can explore the different activities and parts of town by taping on any sparkling area. Once you tap an area, you'll be instructed to assist Dash, Dot, and the other town citizens to help prepare for Doodleburg's Art Appreciation Day parade. Tap on the different blinking spots to enter the different activities, which range from writing letters and numbers to drawing shapes.
As kids trace the different letters, numbers, and shapes with the help of Mr. Pencil and his friends, they are learning the importance of repetition. For example, they must trace each object three times. The app's characters will also repeat the name of each letter or number.
For letters and numbers that require multiple strokes, different colors will help your child distinguish each stroke to trace.
Once you complete all the activities featured on the screen you can side scroll to unlock a new part of Doodleburg and even more activities.
Why It’s Fun
This app has a lot of great educational components that make learning basic numbers 1-20 and letters fun. There is a lot of repetition throughout the app to really drive home correct writing techniques and vocabulary. With multiple activities throughout, kids can easily go back to repeat an exercise or move on to a new one where what they've previously learned is incorporated in new ways, such as how to draw a curve, then use it to draw a circle or an "S."
We also like that unlike some adult stylus with tips that break easily, this one is extremely sturdy and equip for lots of kid wear and tear. And unlike with paper, you won't need to worry about tearing through as your child traces.
Who It’s For
The LeapFrog Learn to Write with Mr. Pencil is for ages 3–6.
What To Be Aware Of
The app won't let you draw or write outside the lines so kids are learning proper techniques as they go, while also getting words of encouragement such as "Pencil-tastic!" Or when you correctly write a letter, Mr. Pencil will say something encouraging that begins with that letter.
As with any app toys, we suggest some supervision since you are still handing over your tablets and smartphones to your preschooler.
The app is free to download but you will need the Mr. Pencil stylus to unlock all the app's features.