The Creativity Issue: 15 Top-Notch Creative Tools So Your Kid Can Be a Creator, Not Just a Consumer

These tools help kids make books, movies, games and more.

Parker Barry

   icon01Book Creation Tools

  • Scribble Press – Creative Book Maker for Kids — Kids get more than 300 drawing tools, plus backgrounds, stickers and more to tell their story. You can easily export your book as a PDF. It’s available for iPad and Android tablets. (Age 6 and up)
  • Book Creator — Kids can add text, images, video, music and narration to their books. The app is available for iPad, Android tablets and Windows tablets, and authors can submit their finished books to Apple’s iBooks or Google Play Books. (Age 8 and up)
  • iBooks Author — Older kids will love digging into iBooks Author to create interactive ebooks with video, photos, 3-D objects and — of course — text. It’s a free tool from Apple. (Age 10 and up, or with adult help)

icon063-D Modeling & Printing Tools

  • Tinkercad — This web-based tool makes designing 3-D objects accessible to kids. It offers great tutorials as well as an active community where kids can inspire others and be inspired. (Age 13 and up, or with adult help)
  • Printrbot — Ready to start printing your own 3-D objects? Printrbot Play is one of the least expensive 3-D printers on the market, and is designed for beginners, kids and enthusiasts. (Age 13 and up, or with adult help)
  • Thingmaker — Mattel’s family-friendly 3-D printer isn’t out yet, but it was a hit at Toy Fair in February. It’s slated to ship this fall for $300, but you can pre-order it from Amazon or Target today. (Age 13 and up, or with adult help)

icon03Animation & Movie Creation Tools

  • Stop Motion Studio — Kids shoot, edit and boost their animations with effects, music and voice-overs. And it’s all pretty easy to do. Stop Motion Studio is available for Mac and iOS, Android and Windows. (Age 9 and up)
  • iMovie — Available for Mac and iOS devices, iMovie helps kids easily create professional-looking videos. Fun templates lets kids create Hollywood-style movie trailers using their videos. (Age 13 and up, or with adult help)

icon05Game Creation Tools

  • Tynker — With the iPad and Android apps, kids learn to code by solving puzzles as well as through interactive tutorials. They can share the games, stories and interactive animations they create. For a more in-depth experience, the Tynker website offers online courses and more resources. (Age 7 and up)
  • Scratch — Kids program their own games (as well as interactive stories and animations) on this site, and can participate in an active, encouraging community of kid programmers. It’s from the MIT Media Lab, and it’s awesome and free. (Age 8 and up)
  • Hopscotch — Using iPad, kids make games using an easy-to-learn, drag-and-drop interface. They can publish their games for others to play on iPhone or iPad. (Age 9 and up)

icon04Art Creation Tools

  • Sago Mini Doodlecast — Kids’ imaginations can run wild with easy-to-use drawing tools and 30+ creative prompts. The app captures kids’ drawings along with their voices, creating videos that kids can save and share (with a parent’s help). You can get it for iPhone or iPad. (Age 2 and up)
  • Drawing Pad — Crayons. Markers. Colored pencils. Paint brushes. Drawing Pad gives kids realistic digital versions of these tools and more. It’s available for iPad and Android tablets. (Age 4 and up)
  • Autodesk Sketchbook — This powerful app is great for older kids who want to create with professional digital tools. They’ll get brushes, customizable pencils, pens, markers and more, plus features like layers and pressure sensitivity. You can try the free Sketchbook Express to sample some of the tools before buying. Autodesk Sketchbook is available for desktop, iOS, Android and Windows devices. (Age 12 and up)

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