Chalk Walk

App review by
Cynthia Chiong, Common Sense Media
Chalk Walk App Poster Image
Kids learn pencil grip but still need real practice.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational value

Kids can learn to hold a writing utensil properly and start writing. The thumb and index finger grip required makes kids approach their movements with more thought and purpose. This can help kids develop motor skills both for writing and for working with a tablet in general. Although the letters and words kids see while tracing are never labeled, kids are exposed to some literacy building content as well. While kids should still practice with real pencils, Chalk Walk provides an inventive way for kids to develop early writing skills.

Ease of play

The activities are easy to use and navigate. There is an illustration for what to do, but more details and tips on how to form and effectively use the pincer grip on the iPad would help kids.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Chalk Walk is a digital way for kids to practice the "pincer" grip -- the grasp used when holding a pencil or other writing utensil. Kids trace lines through increasingly difficult levels, keeping their thumb and index finger pinched together. In each round, kids trace around letters that eventually spell out words, adding a touch of literacy. Getting used to drawing with two fingers on the iPad takes a bit of practice as the tracing activity on the iPad can be sensitive. There are options to set up Chalk Walk for both righties and lefties.

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What's it about?

In CHALK WALK, kids practice their “pincer” grip by tracing lines and squiggles with their thumb and forefinger pinched together. In each round, they trace a letter, and by the end of each level, they’ve spelled out words like "cakes" or "robot." Kids earn one to three stars for the accuracy of their tracing. Once kids complete all the rounds in the level, they can hit "video," and the app connects their tracings and plays it back as a continuous video. There is also a free play drawing mode.

Is it any good?

Chalk Walk is a creative activity to get kids ready for writing, but it's no replacement for real paper and pencil practice. While many little kids can grip a crayon and scribble, gripping a pencil correctly requires refining their movements. The grip and movements in Chalk Walk don't directly mimic writing with paper and pencil, but the activities do require kids to hold a similar grip and to make more accurate movements.

There are features to keep kids motivated, and the literacy elements are a nice addition, though they could use a little oomph. While kids trace around letters and see the words spelled out, they are not labeled and nothing more happens to extend the literacy learning. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Help your kids transfer what they learn to paper. Engage them in writing and coloring activities with crayons, pencils, etc.

  • Practice the pincer grip with your kid, whether it be with the app, pencils, or even chopsticks!

App details

For kids who love learning while playing

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