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Article:    It's Art Time! 

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here's nothing quite like a fresh pack of markers, new tubs of paint, and a pile of paper to inspire kids to create masterpieces. But there comes a time when kids want a little more. You can happily turn to some good software titles to help keep creative juices flowing, and hope that they will help encourage more off-the-computer fun as well. 


Creative Free-Play


Top Pick. There are a few good software choices for free-play creativity. One top choice is Kid Pix Deluxe 3rd Edition, an art studio appropriate for almost any age. It features standard paint tools, as well as fun and off-the-beaten-track tools. Masterpieces can be animated as well, and the program is packed with textures, templates, project starters, stickers, stamps, and more. This title really gets the creative juices flowing, and adults (especially teachers) enjoy the CD-ROM too! 

[Buy Kid Pix Deluxe 3rd Edition at]



coverAnother good "art studio" choice is Disney's Magic Artist Deluxe. Though kids will need to really explore in order to understand what each tool does, when they figure it all out (and they'll really want to) they'll have a great time. Traditional paint tools are all here, as well as things like whipped cream and a spray can. With a little imagination, it is not too difficult to churn out some pretty fabulous artwork with this inspiring program. 

This program is now packaged in Disney's Magic Artist Cartoon Maker, which is an excellent, albeit challenging to understand, free play program best for children approximately 8 and up. Our Rating: A-

[Buy Disney's Magic Artist Cartoon Maker at]

Click and Create with Mia is a lesser-known but valuable software program dedicated to both creative free-play and some art instruction. Players can draw freely or opt to copy sample drawings in "Draw" mode; paint with a wide variety of tools in the "Paint" section; work with geometric forms to create characters and landscapes in "Shapes" mode; create such printables as greeting cards and letterheads in the "Projects" section; or create animated scenes in "Multimedia" mode. Step-by-step drawing lessons are included. Cute! Our Rating: A-

[Buy KUTOKA Click & Create With Mia (Windows/Macintosh) at]


Art Instruction

JumpStart Artist contains a solid free-play creativity toolbox, as well as games that teach kids some art history, art styles, textures, color mixing, and more. Kids can also do some virtual crafts, creating puppets, quilts, and the like. Kids help create an animation in a fabulous activity that gets the most raves--children use art tools to finish 3 objects that are then included in an adorable animation. Best of all, these decorated items appear in the movies exactly as they were drawn. Another activity is a game of concentration with a delightfully educational twist--kids match items that turn into clues that they then use to identify a piece of art. For example, one session turned up 4 clues: hunting, landscape, semi-realistic, and winter. Kids then had to choose a piece of art that matched the clues (after the animated guide explained the meanings of each clue). In this case, "Hunters in the Snow" by Pieter Brugel was the correct choice. This program is best for kids approximately 6-8, and is now available in a value-added bundle: JumpStart Preschool-1st Grade Learning PlaygroundOur Rating: A

[See our full review. Buy JumpStart Preschool-1st Grade Learning Playground at]








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May 2004

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