Chalk Walk is a very unique iPad app. It has been developed to help your children improve the pincer grip they use to hold a pencil. An app that wants you to take what you’ve learned and apply that to good old fashioned paper and pencil? You bet! Here’s a quote from the app’s iTunes description:
As time spent drawing on paper or coloring with crayons is swapped for screen time, key fine motor skills remain underdeveloped. But screen time can also solve the problem and prepare kids for the pencil-and-paper tasks they encounter in school.
Chalk Walk has figured out how to do this in a very creative way. They provide chalk lines, drawn right before your child’s eyes, and ask your child to follow along, tracing them on the screen. Now there’s a catch. If your child tries to trace the line with one finger, the way they might in any other app, it wont work. Instead, they must use their thumb and finger to bring together two circles. Keeping those circles together they then follow along the line. Their fingers will be in the proper position and they’ll be improving their grip and their tracing skills. The app supports both right handed and left handed writers. My pincer grip has obviously become quite lax over the years because I had some very wobbly tracing lines. My first grader on the other hand was very close to perfect.
Chalk Walk presents the activity as a game. Children are traveling through a map and they must complete tracings at each stop. Each tracing collects a letter, which spells out a word. This word then becomes their prize when all of the tracings at the stop. They are given 1-3 stars after each trace, depending on how well they did. Let me reassure you that the chalk lines are not simply straight lines from point A to point B. Chalk Walk makes it much trickier than that. There are loops and squiggles, sharp ups and downs. Your child’s thumb and finger will get a work out and they’ll earn those stars. At the end of each stop children can also playback their work. The different tracings are put together in one continuous line and they can watch as it’s drawn out on the screen.
I love both the uniqueness and the practicality of Chalk Walk. It has identified a valuable skill, seen the possibility of that skill being lost by children’s increased use of iPods and iPads and so it tackles it head on. Why not fight back with the very thing that’s causing it to weaken? I think that’s brilliant. I’d definitely recommend this app for older preschoolers, Kindergarteners and First Graders. In fact, any elementary school child who needs to work on their penmanship could probably benefit. I can’t wait to see what Mrs. Judd’s Games brings us next!
*Update 7/6/12 – Chalk Walk has added a “Doodle Mode”! Children can use the pincer grip to doodle around on the screen. They’ll find a variety of chalk colors, sidewalk backgrounds and stickers. It’s a great addition to a terrific and unique app.
Price when Reviewed: $2.99
Requirements: Compatible with iPad.Requires iOS 5.0 or later.
Seller: KBooM Games
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this app for review purposes.