Crafting and Creating Art
If you know young kids, then you know they can be very hands-on! These titles are focused on visual arts and creating with hands (even creating meals!), just right for learning by doing.
As kids help Dora and her family put together a series of recipes, they pick up some arithmetic basics -– such as numbers and patterns -– and get a friendly lesson in cooperation and respect. The game is incredibly well-designed for use by preschoolers and kindergartners.
Kids can tell stories and illustrate them with this app, which helps users get started by providing ideas for settings and characters and encourages kids to express themselves with artwork they create within the app. It's a fun way to introduce young kids to digital storytelling.
As kids color and mix media forms to create art on this vibrant site, they get to see how imagination coupled with nifty online tools can produce unique creations. There's something for the whole family here, from the youngest scribblers to the most skilled designers.
In addition to offering fun craft ideas for kids ages 2 and up, this activity-packed educational site maintained by a mother of two introduces young kids to basic concepts such as ABCs and 123s, holidays, cultures, animals, nutrition, weather, and much more.
This stellar app encourages kids to create art from common objects, and video lessons teach about artistic inspiration and symbolism. The overall design is kid-friendly and fun, and kids can share their creations via email and social media and with other app users worldwide.
In this latest spin-off of the Cooking Mama series, kids can build 40 different craft projects –- from pinwheels and clay ocarinas to earrings, birdhouses, and even mini Mama dolls. All these activities are performed using the DS stylus.
Kids get practical steps for drawing specific objects such as animals or a space shuttle while learning more about shapes, increasing their drawing vocabulary, and building patience. Clear verbal instructions can help even younger kids learn how to draw.
Crafting and Creating Art
In the tween years, many kids begin honing in on their specific interests. Maybe your kid loves origami or enjoys experimenting with color. These titles help kids learn more and do more with their favorite crafts.
This high-quality art set offers virtual paper, paints, crayons, pens, pencils, and more, as well as texturing and blending tools. The app can provide hours of entertainment for budding artists; for more advanced artists, it may open new options for exploring their talents.
A compelling art instruction game geared toward girls, Imagine Artist encourages kids to express their creativity via painting, drawing, and more as they explore how to use different implements to make different kinds of markings. Kids can share their favorite works online or via email.
Kids can make crafts, recipes, toys, and other projects for parties, holidays, pets, or play on this site based on the cartoon series Martha and Friends. Kids can work independently on some projects, while other projects like homemade dog biscuits require an adult’s help.
More like a virtual art course than a game, Art Academy offers a ton of in-depth knowledge and expert tips about creating quality artwork. It introduces kids to various sketching and painting techniques -– explained clearly in detailed lessons –- as well as famous artists.
These interactive lessons teach kids about painting, drawing, and the history of art by introducing them to many different techniques and media, as well as famed artists. Detailed, step-by-step instructions lead kids through the creation of still-life and portraiture works.
Traditional Japanese paper-folding is a fun way for kids to keep their hands busy creating -– and they'll learn some math concepts, too. This colorful app gives kids a dynamic way to learn paper-folding independently. Kids can learn shapes, patterns, and more.
Kids with an artistic flair or a love of crafts are sure to enjoy this jewelry-making game. Players can take pictures of themselves sporting the necklace and earrings they've designed -– and can even purchase actual jewelry based on their designs, which is of high quality.
Creativity flows as kids make fanciful paper toys to use in imaginative play. Instructions to fold, cut, and glue beautifully decorated paper designs help kids develop fine motor skills. Terrific content plus activity ideas, all for free -- and with no commercial messages.
Kids can express their creativity with this complex tool as they learn about artistic composition, the color wheel, characteristics of the lines and shapes different brushes can create, and more. Creations are automatically saved in the in-app gallery and can be shared.
Budding fashion designers can find a wealth of fashion terminology and design ideas here, as well as tips on classification –- determining similarities among items -– and sticking to a budget. Kids can use photos to create clothing items, which can be traded to other players.
As kids explore the art of digital sculpture in this innovative app -– which lets users change and paint basic sculpture shapes -– they can exercise imagination, master numerous tools and options, and learn how shapes make up different objects in part-whole relationships.
Fashion-minded kids can explore how clothing designers use different elements of style –- shapes, fabrics, colors, prints, and more –- to achieve unique looks. Kids can layer their creations onto photos of themselves and then share those pictures via email or social media.
Crafting and Creating Art
Teens who have mastered the basics will want more sophisticated tools for creating crafts and visual art. But creating is only part of the experience for kids this age -- it's also about sharing creations and finding a supportive community.
Tweens and teens can create digital art using this professional-grade app, developing their unique artist's style as they experiment with the different tools, colors, brushes, and strokes. Offering both free and pro versions, the app caters to a variety of skill levels.
The step-by-step lessons in this amazing art-creation app show kids how to draw different images, including dogs or buildings. Kids practice following directions while learning general art skills and concepts, such as perspective. Creations can be saved to an in-app gallery.
This supportive online community of artists offers tutorials on advanced art skills and helps budding artists develop identity and gain inspiration as they post work and get feedback. Millions of pieces of art can be viewed here, some inappropriate for younger kids.
Whether they're using their imagination to create a new tale or retelling something from their real life, little kids love to tell a story! These titles give kids a variety of options for expressing themselves and learning about story structure.
Kids read or listen to the charming story of Milo the mouse and interact with it by touching or swiping pages to affect movement and sound. Kids can also hone their storytelling skills and develop their imagination by recording their own tale to go along with the pictures.
This simplified version of Toontastic is a great introduction to digital storytelling for young kids. Kids create a narrated pirate-themed cartoon and then add a musical score. The open-ended scene starters are a fun jumping-off point for kids to stretch their imagination.
Kids create and color their own fairy tales with this charming app that provides settings and characters or lets kids use their own photos. Kids then record their own voice or noises while moving around the characters. There’s also an option to use ready-made templates.
Kids become storytellers with this comic book-themed app that offers ideas for settings and characters, lets kids record movement and narration, and encourages use of their own photos and artwork. The open-ended approach allows kids to decide what direction the story takes.
This storytelling site sparks kids' imagination by providing a variety of colorful and vibrant illustrations. Kids can showcase writing skills as they add their own text and create original stories. Collaborative storytelling allows kids to co-create with friends and family.
Kids' imagination can shine as they create original animated cartoons. After choosing characters and settings, kids develop the story line and script and can even add a musical score if they choose. It's an engaging and stunningly easy way for kids to make their own films.
Superb digital tools help ignite creativity as kids make their own comic books, pop-up books, and treasure maps. Youngsters learning to read can enjoy an audio book filled with drag-and-drop fun, while older kids will like the Pop! and Comic Genius book-creation tools.
Kids who love to read books and comics can channel some of that passion into creating them! Kids 7 to 12 can create their own comics and books to share virtually -- sometimes with audio, video, or animation -- or to print. They can also create oral stories and collaborate with others in their storytelling.
This imaginative game sparks kids' creativity as they quickly try to connect nine images into a logical story –- not only giving their brain a workout but also honing their improvisational speaking skills. Playing with others boosts the fun and encourages collaboration.
In this engaging storytelling app, kids respond orally to questions about an image, and the app records and knits together their answers to create a story. To stretch their imagination further, kids can record their own tale without verbal prompts as they view the image.
This sweet, simple little app can open up kids' minds to brainstorming, storytelling, acting, script writing, and more. Players toss dice with symbols on them and make up their own stories, poems, songs, and skits –- and, of course, it’s all the more fun when played together.
Providing kids a template to create short books, this site brings together reading, writing, and imagination, giving kids an outlet to express themselves. Almost game-like, StoryJumper engages kids in creating virtual environments featuring the characters they bring to life.
By crafting together a variety of multimedia elements such as images and text, kids use their imagination to create their own e-books, which can then be shared via iBooks, Dropbox, or email. This is an excellent way for kids to practice writing and storytelling skills.
A storytelling app designed for multiple players, StoryLines gets the creative and critical thinking juices flowing as kids draw pictures to express their interpretation of a well-known saying. It's fun to see how the original saying is reinterpreted with each round.
This open-ended, versatile comic book creation app allows kids to endlessly experiment with visual elements and text as they hone their writing, storytelling, and graphic design skills. Kids can combine their own photos with dozens of in-app clip art, icons, and flourishes.
A gentle and fun introduction to book publishing, this site allows kids to read, create, and share books online. Young writers can gain practical experience with something to show in the end, and the site can even teach them how to reach the widest audience with their words.
Pixton is a do-it-yourself site where kids can use an incredible palette of tools to create and share original comics. Kids can learn to use comics as a way to tell stories, summarize information, work on vocabulary, practice learning a foreign language, and more.
Many teens choose to express themselves and their creativity through their writing. A supportive community where they can share can help them grow as storytellers as they give and receive constructive feedback from other teen writers.
A creative outlet for teen writers, Figment gets kids thinking about the writing process and what makes a book a good read. Teens post their works-in-progress and get feedback and encouragement along the way from peers; they can also read and comment on others' writing.
Kids will find in SMITHTeens a supportive community and fertile environment to exercise their short-form writing skills. The challenge here is for teens to distill their emotions and experiences into six words, which helps them understand the emotional punch of brevity.
Teens who love to write will find solid refuge in this website, which is a community of young writers. Kids will find value in sharing and publishing their writing, and will also appreciate connecting with peers about their writing as well as other topics in a safe forum.
With this simple blogging tool, teens get to express themselves by writing and publishing for an authentic audience. This can help kids refine their writing and understand the recursive process of writing, and teaches them about effectively using technology to communicate.
These apps, games, and websites help kids learn some of the fundamentals of music, such as pitch and rhythm, and to create musical compositions in innovative ways. They can also learn a bit photography, and about animation with some classic characters!
Kids get to experiment with music composition and learn basic elements of music, such as pitch and rhythm, with this stellar app. They can create short musical compositions by choosing different instruments and laying down tracks simply by finger-drawing on a blank canvas.
In this adventure game, Elmo and Abby Cadabby introduce kids to the basics of making music, including rhythm, pitch, and musical instruments. The games are perfect for preschoolers, and the characters do a nice job of integrating musical facts into their casual conversation.
This interactive website is full of cheery animated characters that gently teach kids about music through storytelling, games, and music itself. Kids don’t actually get to make music on this site, but it’s a charming introduction to instruments and their different sounds.
Kids are invited to draw popular Disney characters, such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy; instructions help kids draw one line at a time, and then they can color. The animation portion of the game blends some of the child's drawings with professional drawings.
This educational game focuses on the fundamentals of music, such as recognizing notes on a scale, matching rhythms, and simulating the basic steps involved in playing guitar and drums. There’s also a mode that allows kids to play musical instruments in a freestyle setting.
In this family-friendly game, kids travel to 50 locations in America to solve the mystery of a missing bird photographer. Players are required to take a photograph of a bird at each stop; as they do, they learn about the different birds and gain another clue to the mystery.
Kids 7 to 12 can use these apps, games, and websites to learn many of the skills they need to create music, video, or animation. Whether they're just tinkering or creating their very own multimedia masterpiece, kids will have fun while making something new!
On this engaging educational site, kids can explore the different skills involved in listening to and making music. Games and activities introduce the concepts of pitch, rhythm, tempo, and instrumentation and show how these concepts apply in many different types of music.
In this career simulation game for girls, simple mini-games act as analogues for real-world reporter tasks, such as photography, interviewing, note-taking, and copywriting. The story is filled with strong female role models, including the player’s ambitious avatar, Madison.
This fun app encourages kids to create unique ambient music by combining elements on a blank palette, helping to build basic music and visual arts composition skills. The more Scape is played, the more elements are unlocked. Scapes can be saved to a gallery and shared.
This imaginative movie-making site lets kids use words, images, icons, and other animation tools to tell stories and create customized short films. Kids must register to comment on movies, and the site is moderated daily and uses text filters to ensure appropriate content.
Kids can explore the world art of stop-motion animation and digital creation, and get a concrete, creative introduction to the math concepts of sequencing and part-whole relationships. A terrific guide through the sometimes tedious but ultimately rewarding animation process.
A fun karaoke game that can actually improve an aspiring singer’s technique, this Disney product lets kids sing along to songs and music videos by some of today's hottest pop stars, including Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift, and Colbie Caillat.
On this educational video-sharing site created by a teacher and children's book author, kids can watch videos created by other kids that offer all sorts of fascinating facts about cities, farms, careers, and school-related subjects. Site staff approves and edits each video.
Young storytellers can apply simple technology skills to create animated videos, which they can share. Even younger kids can use the drag-and-drop tools to bring characters and stories to life, and older kids can hone their writing skills by drafting conversational dialogue.
Applying simple technology skills, kids can create custom videos from photos and video clips on this site. Animoto's online tool provides the basic structure but still enables users to add their own unique creative touches. Videos can be shared via email and social media.
Budding musicians and sound engineers will love composing original music and experimenting with different sounds in this virtual audio workstation. Kids can play virtual instruments and record voice as they create digital audio tracks, then save and share their creations.
Teens can shoot videos, add special effects, make music, and more with these creative titles. They'll employ a wide range of skills as they create new content -- from imagination and brainstorming to communicating and collaborating.
Kids can produce original videos in a simple online setting using templates, which allow some freedom to choose content and edit text (though the limits that are in place may stifle some kids' creativity). Flixpress encourages sharing projects through social media, email, and YouTube.
This fun and relatively simple app lets kids use spoken language to narrate photos. Fotobabble creations take just a few steps to make and can be enhanced with the in-app editing tools, effects, and themes. Teens may need guidance if they share their photos publicly.
This downloadable rhythm game helps foster an appreciation of popular music, allowing kids to feel and become part of the rhythm via well-timed button taps. Players get to hear the individual tracks that make up a song, including bass, guitar, keyboard, drums, and vocals.
Kids can shoot video and use their creative skills to sequence scenes with a wide variety of special effects to make fun movies. VideoFX Live encourages the use of social media; if kids are 13 and older, they have the opportunity to practice smart and safe online sharing.
This ambitious interactive band simulator takes kids through a magical mystery tour of 45 remastered tracks that span the Beatles' legendary career, allowing players to try their hand (or voice) as one of the Fab Four rockers. Songs contain some mildly suggestive lyrics.
If you're reading this guide, chances are your kid has played a video game or two -- or 20. These cool apps, video games, and websites encourage kids to start thinking more like the creators of their favorite digital titles -- not just consumers.
This family-friendly kart racing game engages kids in building their own video games. Younger kids can exercise their imagination by customizing avatars and karts, and can learn to build simple tracks. Older kids can get into more complex game-making techniques.
Kids let loose their creativity as they learn about game design in this wonderful platform adventure. Applying logic in the creation of virtual worlds, creatures, and objectives, kids can build just about any kind of game they want, and then share it with others.
As kids create animations, video games, art, and music videos with Scratch’s visual block-based form of computer programming, they pick up valuable skills such as problem solving. Collaboration is encouraged, and kids can give helpful comments on one another's projects.
Kids program a robot's moves by moving the right cards into place to direct him where he needs to go. This fun puzzler gets kids thinking critically and strategically to solve problems and write programs; they’ll work with directionality and negative numbers, too.
In this puzzler designed to teach programming, kids drag and drop directions to get a robotic arm to perform a task. They'll learn the gist of programming concepts like procedural abstraction and subroutines without having to master the lingo or syntax of code.
This web-based video game with its own online community teaches kids the fundamentals of game design through an epic adventure-based plot. Kids can create their own video games, a process that teaches kids to think both mathematically and creatively at the same time.
In this gentle introduction to programming logic, kids use visual blocks that represent programming concepts to create their program –- a game or animation, for example. Kids are exposed to the ideas they'll use in programming without focusing on minute details.
This app builds some coding basics into a colorful game starring a cute turtle. Younger kids will need a parent's help, but tweens and teens can easily pick up basics such as how to draw a line or box. Step-by-step programming requires lots of critical thinking, too.
Roblox gives kids the opportunity to design virtual worlds and games, from simple mazes to more complex cityscapes. Kids can also get user feedback on their work (via safe chat mode if they’re 13 and under) and try out other users' games in a multiplayer environment.
Exploration, discovery, and creation are the focus of this sandbox-style adventure that has kids learning about geology, mining, construction, and conservation as they determine how different materials can be harvested and used to create objects useful to humans.
It's easier than ever for teens to access the tools they need to create by coding. And teens aren't too young to do some serious software development: British teen Nick D'Aloisio made millions of dollars selling an app he created, Summly, to Yahoo. What will your teen create?
This straightforward software development tool offers resources to teach kids to program in the Lua programming language. Tweens and teens familiar with programming can pick up Lua fairly quickly and start writing their own programs, such as games or other graphics.
The Hackety Hack downloadable application and corresponding website are a great way for kids to pick up programming basics. They can read about programming language, test simple examples using the application, and then extend their knowledge by trying to create their own simple programs.
Of course, there are lots of physical toys kids 2 to 6 can build with. These virtual toys offer a complementary experience, where kids can build bigger and more imaginatively than they can with their set of blocks.
This virtual construction toy features open-ended play with a hidden physics lesson. Kids set up all sorts of pieces –- ramps, tubes, gears, and more -– and then unleash balls upon their creation. It's great for experimenting or just creating a chaotic mess of motion.
This casual, accessible racing game earns most of its interest in the ability for kids to create their own tracks. It's colorful, friendly, and unintimidating. Players can share tracks and race online with friends or random players, and share their high scores.
Kids will love this faithful re-creation of the popular family tower building game. The virtual tower wobbles and leans as players remove puzzle pieces and stack them higher. The blocks react just like they do in the real version, which is an incredible feat.
Kids can get super-creative as they build cities, structures, vehicles, and more -- using everything from goo balls to spaghetti and marshmallows, along with more traditional building materials. Exploring engineering concepts is fun and engaging with these apps, games, and websites.
This puzzle game challenges kids to build inventive solutions using their wits and a handful of materials, helping them develop rudimentary engineering skills. The inventions use concepts like physics and momentum and can spark interest in building real-world items.
Kids use their imaginations and develop rudimentary engineering skills as they build carts and aircraft for pigs using concepts like physics and momentum. The app gets kids to view a situation in a different way when a vehicle doesn’t work and must be redesigned.
Kids control Max's orange marker by using their finger to draw objects as they help Max prevent evil blob creatures from destroying his sketch world. Kids playfully experiment with leverage and gravity as they make imaginative drawings that get Max through the game.
This fascinating educational science site from PBS Kids introduces youngsters to the basic principles of engineering. Concepts such as gravity, force, and energy are illustrated through engaging, easy-to-follow games, offline activities, and video demonstrations.
In this building game that introduces structural engineering basics, kids use marshmallows and sticks of raw spaghetti to construct towers high enough to reach a target. They predict what constructions might work, test out their theories, and try again if they wish.
Kids interested in building can have great fun with this physics-based app that employs basic construction concepts. To build structures that won't collapse, kids have to consider things like weight, gravity, tension, friction -– and number of goo balls allowed.
Kids become little engineers with this two-dimensional brain bender in which players use stretchy goo balls to erect structurally sound towers. They’ll glean an understanding of the factors that weigh into building sturdy foundations for large structures.
DIY encourages kids to put on their scientific thinking caps to complete skill-based, hands-on challenges using everyday materials, resourcefulness, and knowledge. Kids may need adult support in finding materials or while they're interacting with the DIY community.
As kids become immersed in designing, building, and managing the best amusement park possible, they get a stealthy lesson in economics as well as science and math –- using basic geometric and physics skills to ensure their coaster can function safely and flawlessly.
This creative adventure game has players design and build a wide variety of vehicles from the ground up. Kids learn basic engineering and design concepts as they tinker with different parts to determine the best way to create the right craft for given scenarios.
Astronomy, the brain, and other scientific principles are illustrated through short interactives, follow-along experiments, and more on this website from San Francisco’s Exploratorium museum. Even the most science-averse visitors' curiosity will be piqued.
This construction simulation game has players build and then micromanage a growing city, trade resources with neighbors, and work toward a goal. By taking on the role of mayor of an expanding city, kids soak up a lot of business, city planning, and ecology concepts.
This physics-based puzzler and engineering tool challenges kids to solve puzzles and create their own virtual inventions using balls, bolts, chains, connectors, conveyer belts, fans, wheels, ropes, scissors, switches, and more. It's part game, part creative outlet.
The open-ended environment in this popular game offers sandbox-style play in which players create items and buildings from scratch using materials they harvest from the world around them. Kids hone their creative thinking skills and pick up some geometry and geology.
This deep, turn-based game of civilization simulation and tactics provides a basic but broad-spanning lesson about world history as well as strategy. The introduction of religion in this version provides insight into how popular faiths can shape nations.
Kids get immersed in designing, building, and testing virtual roller coasters in this fun game. Along the way, they learn about principles of force and motion, and strengthen their thinking, reasoning, and evaluation skills while troubleshooting problematic designs.
Science Bob Pflugfelder makes science fun and interesting for kids as he teaches them about chemical reactions, vibrations and sound, optical illusions, molecular structure, and other science-related topics. Kids can also find cool science fair project ideas here.
Teen makers can find lots of resources online, as well as apps and games. Ideas for real-life building projects like creating homemade musical instruments? Check! Fun ways to explore with virtual projects like building roller coasters? Check! Depending on the project, teens will exercise skills in innovation, cooperation, investigation, and problem solving.
Kids design their own theme park and roller coasters in this building sim played on Facebook. As they use their imagination to create coasters with unique tracks and customize a park's layout and appearance, kids learn about following directions and achieving goals.
In this fun Facebook social game that combines hidden object and zoo sim gameplay, kids explore six different habitats, from the Amazon rainforest to the Rocky Mountains. They learn about dozens of different animals and plants, and even pick up a few foreign words.
This slick DIY and how-to sharing site is intended for adults but has many interesting projects and ideas tweens and teens could do with supervision. Kids learn to follow instructions as they do a project, or can show their creativity by contributing an Instructable.
The online version of Make Magazine encourages kids to tackle a variety of interesting projects that help build scientific method skills. Projects vary from technical to practical to artistic, and users are invited to submit their own projects or edit existing ones.