Escape with Digital Coloring and Puzzles

Coloring hit its peak a few years back, but has had a small resurgence as people looking for ways to relax and unwind. We highlight our favorite apps and games.

Digital Escape
Patterned via the Apple store

This past year has proven that life can be stressful, and it has also proven that relaxation, despite our best efforts, can be elusive. As the pandemic continues, the adage to "unplug to recharge" and the idea of managing screen time began to give way to using devices in ways that were less about productivity and more about unwinding. Two of the most popular activities that have given comfort during this time have been puzzles and coloring. Coloring hit its peak a few years back, but has had a small resurgence as people looking for things that keep the hands busy, but the mind less so. We previously featured puzzles and games and we're expanding on that list with these resources that will keep the entire family entertained.

Jigsaw. Android. Apple. Our favorite app on this list features a variety of free puzzles offered daily. You can customize options like number of pieces the puzzle has or whether or not they need to be rotated before fitting. A bonus is that you can also turn your own photos into puzzles. It is also conveniently ad- and purchase-supported, as opposed to a subscription.

ASMR Slicing. Android. Apple. Spend some time cutting a variety of objects using several other objects. The objective can be whatever you want it to be most of the time. Want to see if you can make the absolute thinnest slices? Want to see it cut into big chunks? Go for it. Sometimes, there are objectives but most of the time it is just a fun, yet satisfying, way to pass the time.

Coloring Book for Adults. Android. Apple. Adults looking for extensive options will appreciation the direction and features offered throughout. This is the most expensive app on the list, though you can either subscribe for access to more than the couple of free pages, or you can choose to watch an ad for access; same with access to other color palettes. 

Color Noir. Android. Apple. As the title suggests, this app is a coloring book that celebrates that Black experience. There are some free coloring pages, and others that can be unlocked with a subscription. The highlight is the range of skin tones in their color palettes; they get it.

Pixel Art. Android. Apple. This popular app has been around for a couple of years and for good reason—creating a work of art pixel by pixel, using an extensive color pallette, is both soothing and rewarding. There are plenty of pictures to choose from, or you can upload your own.


Lake: Coloring Books. Apple. This subscription-supported app offers some free pages, but full access is limited to subscribers. For the free pages, there are still a variety of coloring and painting implements, including a can of spray paint and several colors and shades, though more can also be unlocked with a subscription. You can also save or share your masterpiece on social media once you're finished. 

Pigment. Apple. Like most subscription-supported apps, there are some free pages and features for the casual colorist. But, a subscription is required in order to unlock all the features and all the coloring pages, which offer plenty of palettes and methods for coloring. This app is less intuitive than others, which might be helpful great if you're up for exploring and discovering new functionality and features. 

Patterned. Apple. With this puzzle app that mimics a coloring app, you’re given a black-and-white picture and a set of pieces off to the side. The goal is to fit the pieces onto the black and white picture, and when a piece is correct, it turns to color. When you’re finished, a lovely picture emerges. A welcome bonus is that this app features soothing music to listen to as you go along.

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