Sadly, my kids’ interest in most drawing apps are growing more and more short-lived. The basic digital coloring pages just don’t hold the interest of a seven and nine-year-old they way they once did. And then we found the My Virtual Fashion Show from Crayola. Which sounds like nothing I would actually think to try, and yet it turns out to be one of my favorite kids’ apps of the year so far.

This fashion illustration/app hybrid (iOS and Android) is like the best of hands-on illustration and creativity, coupled with the best of technology. The gist is that kids get the book, design their own outfits on the pre-drawn models, then snap a photo of it in the app. Next thing you know, a model–who they can customize as well, down to her skin color, hair style and accessories–will walk the runway showing off your kids’ designs in semi-glorious 3-D.

Line a few up and you’ve got your own homegrown Project Runway finale to watch.


My Virtual Fashion Show app and design book from Crayola

My Virtual Fashion Show app for iOS and Android

My Virtual Fashion Show App let kids design their own runway designs

I happen to like that it lets kids do some real drawing, and not just tapping around on a screen. I also appreciate that the models aren’t frighteningly skinny or uh, curvy; although there is one verrrry short skirt template that I’m hoping my kids turn into a belt. Or at least don’t ask to wear themselves when they’re teens. Just know that the animation is a little rough in a Sims kind of way, but that doesn’t stop my youngest daughter from jumping up and down and squealing each time she sees the dress she conceived come to life on a screen.

(Then ask me to watch it 14 times in a row.)

It’s recommended for kids 6+ but I have no doubt a kindergartener or a dexterous four-year-old could still enjoy it with a little parental help with the tech aspect. The one sad part is that there are only 20 pages in the book to color before you need a new one; my art-crazy kids could tear through that in a single rainy weekend or a long family vacation.

Hint: Don’t limit yourself to the colored pencils that come with the kit. Have them elaborate their designs with paint or sparkles or feathers or little rhinestones to extend the crafting time. And the creativity.

Get My Virtual Fashion Show by Crayola from our Amazon affiliate, then download the My Virtual Fashion Show app for free from iTunes or Google Play