WHAT Crayola Light Marker, an electronic virtual crayon that allows kids to color and play games on an iPad after downloading the accompanying app.
WHAT'S GOOD Griffin Technology and Crayola have joined forces to create a light-emitting "crayon" that can be used with their free iPad app (tinyurl.com/ck8r35k) to draw or color pictures. The crayon color palette includes all of Crayola's classic colors, plus glitter colors in the free-draw mode. Finished projects can be emailed, uploaded to Facebook or printed to an AirPrint-enabled printer. The app includes other activities: connect the dots, jigsaw puzzles and splattering paint balloons. In a hidden objects game, the marker is used as a virtual flashlight. Other features we liked: Games have degrees of difficulty; a few of the games can be played in either marker or finger mode; and a small, foldable stand for the iPad is included. Although the instructions state the marker works best in darker settings, we found it is sensitive enough to be used in even a well-lit room. Recommended for children ages 3 and older.
WHAT'S NOT For best results, players must hold the device at least a foot away from the iPad, and a lot of finesse is required to freehand color and draw, things that might be frustrating to kids, especially younger ones. The marker must be recalibrated with the app through the iPad's front-facing camera lens any time the iPad has been turned off or you switch to finger mode and then back to marker mode.
HOW MUCH $29.99, tinyurl.com/cpxxcc2
BOTTOM LINE Parents no longer have to worry about their offspring getting artistic with crayons and markers on walls, floors and countertops.