The Crayola Light Marker from Griffin Technology is a fun children’s toy that is designed to be used with the iPad. The package includes the light marker, an iPad stand, battery and quick start guide. You will also need to download the Crayola Light Marker app which is available as a free download from iTunes.
Once you have downloaded the app the next thing you need to do is insert the battery- and be warned this is a fiddly operation !! You need a tiny Phillips screwdriver (the kind you use for glasses repair) to remove a screw so you can insert the battery. I would like to se a simpler way of installing the battery. Once the battery is installed pressing the button on the top of the marker switches it and and off, the light is red when it is ready to use and green when you press and hold the button to draw. The stand that comes with the set is simple but sturdy and holds the iPad in the right position for drawing. It works with both the full-sized iPad and the iPad Mini in a variety of protective cases. To use the marker you need to hold it 2-3 feet from the screen, and it will warn you if you are too close or too far away. It says it needs to be in a dark room and I was worried that this would limit its usefulness, however I found it worked fine as long as the room wasn’t brightly lit. I used it during the daytime on an overcast day and in the evening with moderate lighting.
There are six different activities to choose from:
Dot to Dot: there are five different dot to dot pictures. With each picture it starts with just 2 dots visible and as the child connects them new dots appear one by one and the picture is gradually created. It is quite forgiving about the child going off the lines. but they do need to touch the dots. Once they have completed the picture the child has the option to color it in.
Splatter Paint: The child choose from 3 difficulty levels and five color palettes (each contains a combination of 3 colors). They can choose from a blank canvas or one of twenty stencils. They then have 60 seconds to create their splatter art by using the light marker to pop paint filled balloons over their canvas.
Coloring Pages: there are five different scenes to color, each starts out simply and more detail is added as the child colors. They can choose from a variety of coloring tools- crayons, paint, markers and stickers; and three different widths for the pen stroke. There is also an option to do “fill-in” coloring which may be the best choice for young children. You can select your tools and colors using the light marker or using your fingers. It requires some hand-eye co-ordination and fine-motor skills to accurately pick the right tool, and to color within the lines. Young children or those with fine motor challenges may find it less frustrating to use their fingers to pick tools and colors and to use the fill-in option for coloring.
Hide ‘n Seek: Here there are six scenes and three difficulty levels to choose from. Each scene is dark and and light marker acts as a flashlight to illuminate part of the scene- the harder the level the narrower the beam. Each scene has a selection of objects the child need to find- and once they have found them all the whole scene is illuminated.
Puzzles: There are 3 levels ranging from six to twenty four pieces, each level has three puzzles, the puzzles in each level are different from those in the other levels. The child uses the light marker to drag and drop the pieces to complete the puzzle.
Free Drawing: Here the child can use crayons, glitter crayons, stickers and the stencils from the splatter paint game to create their own masterpiece. The stickers can be used like a pen- creating flowing lines of stickers for fun effects.
With all the games the child can save their artwork to the app’s gallery, email it or print it. From the art gallery it can also be saved to the camera roll. I would love to see a parental option to limit this to saving in the art gallery, so the parent can decide later what is printed or emailed rather than the child having the option to do so.
My six-year-old daughter really enjoyed testing this app out she especially enjoyed creating artwork with the free drawing and splatter paint options. She also enjoyed finding the hidden objects and the dark and doing the puzzles- its amazing how much more fun it is to do a puzzle using a magic wand instead of your finger! I would love to see extra modules of these and the coloring pages available as extra apps as I do think she will have done all the included ones fairly quickly.
Overall, this is a fun toy for children. I would recommend this product for ages 5 and above- my daughter really enjoyed it and thought it was like using a magic wand, I like that there are several different activities available to do with it and particularly enjoyed the creative art. I do have a few reservations: the light marker itself doesn’t feel especially sturdy and I’d like an easier way to change the battery and more apps available to keep children playing with it long term, but I would still recommend it as a fun toy.
NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.