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Daily iPad App: Doodlecast

Doodlecast is one of several Doodling applications for the iPad that targets kids from 3- to 5-years-old. What separates Doodlecast from its competition is the ability to narrate the Doodle while your child is drawing. The app has a record option that'll record the drawing as the child creates it and will capture the child talking using the iPad's microphone. It's an appealing combination that makes creating doodles fun for the child and enjoyable for parents who can watch the doodle after it's done.

Doodlecast has many features that help with doodle creation. It launches with several preset doodles like sky and park that contain pre-made drawings. The child can add to this template, and record what they draw. There are also some idea-based doodles like "big," which ask the child to draw something he or she thinks is big. If your child wants to start with a blank slate, there's that option, too.

The drawing canvas uses the entire screen of the iPad and has a straightforward interface. At the top, there is a new button, a recording button that can turn the recording feature on and off, and a done button that'll let you export the video. At the bottom is a color selector that changes the color you are using, and a clear button to erase the entire drawing. There's no tool to change the width of the finger stroke, but you don't need that option in an app meant for young children.

When your child is done doodling, you can play back the video of the drawing's creation before you export it. You can save it to the iPad, or export it to YouTube to share with friends or relatives. Saving the video places it in your photos library where you can email it, watch it on your iPad or use AirPlay to watch it on your TV. If you decide to upload it to YouTube, the app lets you add a title, description, tag, and category. You can also set the doodle video to public or private. Uploading it to YouTube is as easy as hitting the publish button and it takes about a minute to prepare and upload the video over Wi-Fi.

Doodlecast is an excellent app for kids. Just make sure you have a lot of space on your iPad. I handed my iPad over to my kids to check it out; my iPad disappeared for an hour and returned to me chock full of videos. The app appealed to my younger children who just doodled and my 9-year-old, who enjoyed using it to tell a story. The app costs a reasonable US$1.99 and will give your children hours of fun.

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