Online Tools for Creative Kids
Recently, I’ve seen several people sharing educational resources and videos for kids with extra time at home. It’s really great.
But you know what would be better? A list of online tools for kids who would rather create than consume. I’ve been building this list for years.
(A little background: I married an educator and now we have five kids. When they have free time, we flood them with creative opportunities and see what they make. More details on our approach here.)
Anyways, here’s our list as it currently stands:
- Sumopaint.com is a solid online drawing paint app.
- InspirARTion is a drawing app, with a symmetry mode.
- make8bitart.com is a lovely online pixel art editor.
- Triangulart is great for making isometric drawings. It’s one of my favorites.
- SandSpiel is an online interactive sand environment that combines art and science.
- ArtRage (iPad)
- Sketches School (iPad)
- Chrome Canvas (Chromebook only)
- The Powder Toy is a sandbox environment for building interactive scenes out of elements (with realistic material properties and reactions). See my full review of The Powder Toy here.
- Algodoo is a 2D physics sandbox for making machines, scenes, and simple games.
- Orb Farm is a virtual ecosystem that you can manipulate and observe the effects of your changes.
- Garageband for iPad is free and very good.
- Chrome Music Lab a suite of web-based music creation tools made by Google.
- Beepbox.co is great for making chip-tunes or video game music. It’s free online and doesn’t require an account.
- MusicBox.fun is similar but for music box songs (I made this one 😄).
- Wizard School (iPad) is a creativity app with a cool sharing feature. I often get emails during the day with pictures my kids drew.
- Inventioneers (iPad) is a puzzle-solving app with a great built-in level-creator.
- Let’s create! Pottery (for iPad) for pottery design.
- Design Home (iPad) for interior design.
- Bitsy is a code-free online editor for making little pixel games.
- PuzzleScript is similar to bitsy, except it’s designed for making puzzle-style game. It uses code, but the language is very simple and declarative.
And Minecraft is just amazing. Probably the best app purchase I’ve ever made.
(bonus: I haven’t tried Super Mario Maker but it looks like a ton of fun and has probably the best level-creator ever made)
For programming tools, just see this list Holly has been curating for years.
We’ve used them all at some point but the ones that worked best for us were Scratch, Lightbot, and Secret Coders.
- iMovie (iPad) is solid.
- Stop Motion Studio (iPad) is great, especially when you have a bunch of legos (like we do)
- Flipanim.com lets you make flipbook animations by drawing one frame at a time:
Story Creator (iPad) is pretty great.
And you can do a ton with Google Docs. Find a newspaper template. Tell them if they make a high-quality newspaper (with interviews, photos, comics, etc) that you’ll BUY a copy. That’ll keep ‘em busy for a while.
All those things were pulled straight from our Chromebook bookmarks and iPad apps. They’re mostly free, or inexpensive.
I’m sure there’s more good stuff out there that we’re missing out on. If you know of something good, please share! 🙏