Drawing and doodling for kids

Doodle Buddy is a free, no-frills, ad-supported drawing and doodling app with playful stamps and backgrounds that will appeal to kids.

Doodle Buddy is a free, no-frills, ad-supported drawing and doodling app with playful stamps and backgrounds that will appeal to kids.

Doodle Buddy's "finger-painting" interface lets you draw with swipes and taps. A row of tappable icons on the bottom of the screen lets you undo your last action (multiple times), erase your current drawing (you can also shake your device to erase), and choose from several different tools: a drawing tool (brush, chalk, glitter, smudge, or eraser, all with adjustable sizes), a stamp (with dozens of built-in stamps, from animals to smileys to speech balloons, each with a goofy sound effect), a small set of stencils, a text tool (with four fonts), and a set of backgrounds. The backgrounds add a lot of versatility to Doodle Buddy, because you can import your saved photos to scribble on, and the built-in backgrounds include nature scenes, a couple of mazes, and game boards for hangman, tic-tac-toe, and dots-and-boxes. Once you complete a drawing, it's easy to e-mail it or save it to your device's photo album directly from the app. The iPhone version lets you collaborate with another Doodle Buddy artist (or tic-tac-toe player) over the Internet, while the iPad version supports multitouch drawing. You can also download more stencils and items with "Doodle Bucks," which you earn by downloading and installing other apps.

Doodle Buddy's biggest liability is the prominence of its ads, which appear whenever you pull up settings for the tools. Adults and older kids should have no trouble avoiding (or ignoring) them, but younger kids will require more coaching--or you can just pay 99 cents to hide the ads. The app can also be slightly unresponsive with some tools (especially with the shake-to-erase feature, which can become annoying since you're prompted to use it every time you tap the erase button). Overall, though, Doodle Buddy is a decent value for a free app.

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