Artie's Magic Pencil

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Artie's Magic Pencil App Poster Image
Kids trace basic shapes to fix objects in cute visual story.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn the basics of how triangles, rectangles, and circles combine to make 15 objects, such as trees, dogs, and umbrellas. This app requires kids to trace on or near each line to form shapes. As a result, kids practice fine motor and precise on-screen finger movements.

Ease of Play

Very easy to play. Pointer icons and arrows show kids where to tap and drag. No audio instructions.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

There's an "Other Apps" icon on the main screen with a parent gate (enter your age) that leads people to the App Store, where other MiniLab apps can be purchased. No in-app purchases or third-party ads on the app.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Artie's Magic Pencil is a drawing game for young kids that helps them learn how shapes combine to form objects. Through a sweet, simple story about a Godzilla-like monster that destroys things in a make-believe land, kids become the re-builders via Artie, the main character. Shapes -- circles, rectangles, and triangles -- appear as building blocks for kids to trace. Then the shapes combine to form 15 different objects, such as trees, houses, and umbrellas. Along the way a dog and a toilet make pooping or farting sounds when tapped. The app includes an option to print downloadable sheets for kids to trace offscreen. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

To accomplish all the goals in ARTIE'S MAGIC PENCIL, walk Artie around the land by gently swiping with your finger until an icon appears above his head. Tap it, and trace the lines that blink to create the shape that makes the object. To complete the shape, a user must connect the line to the dots at both ends. Continue until all shapes that are part of that object are traced. Next, follow the prompts that offer choices such as different colors and designs on the objects Artie draws. Continue Artie's journey and watch for the icon to find the next rebuilding project. Tap the heart in the right upper corner to return to the map. When you've rebuilt all the objects and defeated the monster in the end, the game is over. 

Is it any good?

Young kids who are new to apps will especially connect with this easy, adorable story-and-drawing combo app. The absence of complex instructions and the clear, on-screen visual prompts are perfect for new app users. Artie's Magic Pencil keeps things simple, focusing on only three basic shapes and 15 objects to draw. The option to print drawing worksheets is an extra way for kids to practice tracing, which is helpful since drawing on paper differs from drawing on a screen. Once the journey is completed, kids might not be eager to replay, but parents can take the fun offscreen and help kids build objects out of simple shapes. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the shapes that Artie's Magic Pencil uses to make objects. This is a good opportunity to use shape vocabulary and talk about shape identification with your kid, as well as part-whole relationships in objects.

  • Print the drawing worksheets and ask your kids what they think about the differences between drawing and tracing on- and offscreen. Which do they like most? Why?

  • Look around your indoor and outdoor environments for shapes hidden in objects. Ask your kid, what shape is our front door? How about that car's wheel? The roof on top of that building?

App details

For kids who love preschool and art apps

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