The smART Sketcher Projector from Character is a brilliant toy for kids who love to draw. As soon as I saw it, I couldn’t wait to try it out and the boys had the same reaction. It is really easy to set up, easy to use, and works seamlessly with the app allowing you to work with any picture at all. This makes it really versatile and means that whatever your children are into, they can make the smART Sketcher work for them.

When you first get the smART Sketcher out of the box, and download the app on your phone, the app guides you step by step through how to put together and set up the smART Sketcher. It’s really simple, but I found having that guide quite handy and it means that the kids could have even set it all up by themselves.

In the box, you get a plug adapter for the smART Sketcher and there is also the option of using batteries (not included) if you want to make it more portable. You also get an SD card included, which slots into the top as one of the “ears” on top of the smART Sketcher. This SD card includes the pictures and step by step instructions so that you can use these directly with the smART Sketcher, without any need for the app. There are over 50 activities within this.

We did find that using the app was the easier and quicker way to make our selections though, as you’re then able to see your choices on the screen. Otherwise, using the buttons on the front of the smART Sketcher, you can just scroll through the options to select. Once you’ve chosen your picture, you press the arrow buttons for the next step and it takes you line by line through how to draw that design.

Using the step by step mode, the kids easily managed to draw lots of pictures from Lions, to hippos, crocodiles, rockets, fairies and more. They were really happy with the results that the smART Sketcher helped them to achieve.

You can also get backgrounds projected on to your finished pictures for a cool effect.

Another interesting mode on the smART projector is the project and learn mode, where you could use your smART sketcher to practise writing letters. The boys are obviously past this stage now, but I took a look as this will be great for N in another year or so. It’s a great idea to have this functionality included, making this a really useful learning tool for younger kids, as well as a fun toy.

Once the boys had gone through a lot of the step by step images included in the SD card, we decided to branch out, using the app. Once you give permission in the app for your photos to be accessed, then this opens up a whole world of possibilities for your smART Sketcher. This requires parent consent within the app.

At first, we started out loading our own photos onto the smART Sketcher. We found this much more challenging to draw than the step by step pictures that were included, because the lines are less defined – although you do get an option within the app to select how you want your picture rendered, with thin or thick lines. Tracing from a photograph would be great for those who are more skilled than us at art, or want to challenge themselves. In this mode, you don’t get the step by step help, you decide where to start with the picture and how to tackle it yourself.

After trying some photographs, we decided to search for some other images for the boys to use and found plenty of inspiration online. If you search along the lines of “dragon outline” “dragon cartoon” or “dragon colouring page” (for example), then you would get images that will work really well with the smART Sketcher and of course you can tailor this to any interest.

This was one that R chose as he loves dragons, and he also decided to do his favourite football club logo – another idea that worked really well with the smART Sketcher.

The boys have all been having a lot of fun with the smART Sketcher, and it keeps them occupied for quite some time. The smART Sketcher is recommended for ages 5 and upwards, which I would say is about right (although younger for the letter activities.) My boys are 7, 8 and 10 so the age appeal is quite wide – and I have to admit I really enjoyed having a go on this myself, so I actually think it suits all ages and is something that would get any child tempted to have a go, even if they weren’t normally interested in drawing.

The smART Sketcher is available for RRP 69.99 from retailers including Character-Online, Argos, and Smyths