How do you digitize the feeling of opening a new box of crayons for the first time?

The masterminds over at Crayola made it happen.

Create and Play, a new app available today for the first time on iTunes and the Google Play store for Apple and Android Devices, is designed for preschoolers ages 3 and up. This learning app was created especially for kids to help them develop skills with creative play and learning in mind. With every tap of different sections of the app, kids will experience different and exciting features such as games and other interactive activities to help them develop those important skills that they will use in real life or in the classroom.

The app is available for download with a free trial for a limited time, followed by a monthly subscription. Since the app follows a subscription model, there will be new content added every month, including coloring pages, stickers, pet accessories, and more.

If you were ever hesitant of putting a screen in front of your kid, this app washes that feeling away faster than you can swipe watercolor paint across your screen. Create and Play truly hits every check mark for an all-in-one app parents want for their kids, and I’m not sure I have found something I can’t do yet with this app yet.

The app itself is gorgeous, colorful (of course), and intuitive to navigate. There are five areas of play within the app, each curated with its own suite of activities. I’ll break it down with each section of the app:

Art Station

There are three main areas of the Art Station: a coloring book, a free draw, and a place to take photos to turn them into works of art. In the coloring book, kids can actually color pages within the app using new tools, such as a pattern roller, and ones that they will recognize from real life, such as markers and colored pencils. My absolute favorite part about this section is that it colors just like the tools do in real life, so you’ll see the streaky and waxy finishing of a crayon, or will see details of layering paint to make an ombré effect or to make colors darker. It’s amazing.

The free draw section gives kids a blank piece of paper to use all of their tools and create something using their imaginations. I can’t stress how incredible the tools are, ranging from glittery crayons to broad-stroke markers, which are also available in every color imaginable. In the art station, kids can also take a photo of anything (including selfies!), and then decorate them with fun stickers and stamps.

All of these works of art are saved in a limitless gallery, kind of like an endless shrine of creative memories. I also love that kids can only modify their designs, and not delete them. In this way, Crayola is teaching kids that they should be proud of all of their creative endeavors, which I think is a super important message for kids.

Pet Park

What’s the point of living without some good boys and girls in your life? While not exactly puppies, Create and Play engages kids with a Pet Park, filled with adorable creatures that kids design themselves.

More than just coloring in a pet for themselves, kids will go through a whole interactive experience to make their pets. They get eggs first, in which they will color and then design themselves. Each step takes kids up, up, and away on a tree, until they tap their egg until it hatches. Then, voi-la! Your pet is born.

After they’ve designed their pet, kids can choose a new pet from their home (I suspect they will have more options with this as the app updates throughout the months).

Creating the pet wasn’t even the half of it. Kids will now have to take care and nurture their pets. They can simply tap on their pets to take care of them, including playing games such as a really fun music activity; feeding them; dressing them up; and so much more.

Color Lab

Ever wonder how Crayola colors are made? Now you can try it for yourself!

Kids can experiment, discover, and play with color with this section of Create and Play. Kids will create their own color combinations, and learn some color chemistry and cause and effect from it. After they’re done making a color, they can pick a wax item to display it with, and then see all of their wax creations in the gallery.

This is one of my favorite sections of the app because it’s set in a Crayola lab, where crayons are walking around doing their thing to make sure all is well in the factory (probably a live feed of Crayola HQ, to be honest). There are six areas of play in this part of the app, including informative videos and some games such as color matching, sorting crayons, popping marker ink (Fruit Ninja style). I like how all of the games are specifically themed to be played with color, different from the Arcade—coming up next!


Game on! Kids can challenge themselves and master skills in the Arcade. There are four games in this arcade, including Scoop Stack, Puzzle Painter, Color Critters, and Pet Dash. I’m a sucker for puzzles myself in real life, so the Puzzle Painter was probably my favorite. The app will pull from scenes and works of art that kids have already created in the app, so kids will put together the pieces of artwork they already created. Recognize my beautiful pizza cat from the Art Station?

The levels will become more difficult as kids keep playing, and trust me, they will want to beat their high scores! In addition to being a lot of fun, these games will helps kids develop color recognition, cause and effect, logic, and dexterity.

Discovery Classroom

As if kids weren’t already learning so much with this app, there’s a whole Discovery Classroom section! There are a few activities in this part of the app, featuring shape recognition, stencils to create words and learn their first letters, and even a place to learn drag-and-drop coding. Kids will practice skills in this colorful classroom and learn important school skills such as letters, words, shapes, logic, and coding principles.

A meter will start filling in the bar up top as kids further play with the app, which will unlock different treasures, such as an additional egg. This is Crayola’s guarantee that the app will always be exciting, and gives kids an incentive to keep wanting to play!

Parents can feel confident handing over their devices to their kids—or downloading this app on their kids’ tablets and mobile phones—knowing that kids will be learning as they delve into the different layers of the app. Kids will express their imaginations, creativity, and develop other skills such as logic.

Even after 115 years of iconic arts and crafts items, Crayola’s Create and Play app is as fresh as the first whiff of a coveted 64-count box of crayons.

About the author

Maddie Michalik

Maddie Michalik

Maddie Michalik was the Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book from 2020-2022. She was also a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider.