Encourage students to use their imagination and creativity.

Since this month is Maker Month, for this week's Top Picks List Friday we are featuring sites and apps for young makers and creators Making something from scratch is a great skill to have. It requires confidence and imagination. For students who are into making new creations, these terrific apps and other digital products can help them develop their creativity chops.

To see the most updated version of this list as well as the rating of each app, game, or website, visit the Top Picks List: 


StoryJumper lets kids create and publish their own illustrated stories. Whether kids are beginning writers or seasoned pros, StoryJumper provides an outlet for them to use their imaginations as well as learn some real writing strategy if they're ready for it. Read full review.

Pixton for Schools brings students together in an online classroom to learn about comics, graphic arts, and creating original work. The ability to add project assignments with rubrics or scoring guides attached is a great feature, and you can send class-wide messages and alerts to students. Read full review.

Design Squad Nation
Design Squad Nation is a highly engaging and effective way to teach kids to develop complex and original solutions to engineering problems. Teachers can start projects in the classroom and send kids home to finish them. Read full review.

DIY can be an online or offline tool to engage kids in creative problem-solving and skills-building through activities that let them make and build things, and the site encourages accountability for creative work. Read full review.

Amazing Alex - This product is no longer available.
Amazing Alex is a crazy-contraptions physics puzzler that challenges players to think and create with a handful of everyday objects and tools. Using pipes, scissors, shelves, balloons, goofy extending punching gloves, and more, kids create Rube Goldberg-like devices to guide balls and collect up to three stars. Read full review.

GarageBand can be used for an array of classroom experiences, from learning the elements of music to creating original songs and musical scores to recording live instruments and vocals. The app's graphic interface helps teach multitrack recording and editing, musical form, and song structure. Read full review.

Prezi is an online presentation maker that features a unique 3D zoom animation to move between slides. Teachers and students can turn ordinary slide presentations into more stylish and potentially more engaging experiences than those made with other presentation software. Read full review.

NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program
Want to create an entire class of accomplished novel writers? NaNoWriMo gives teachers the tools to achieve this crazy goal with their educator resources. Bringing this writing process into the classroom is totally doable and could potentially instill real writing confidence in your students. Read full review.

Instructables is a vast repository of DIY projects contributed by people of all ages around the world. Users upload instructions and photographs that guide others through the steps. The site challenges kids to work together, follow directions, and use their imaginations, making it worthwhile in itself. Read full review.

TinkerBox - This product is no longer available.
TinkerBox is part game, part creative outlet. Kids can work their way through the six levels of puzzles, each offering many stages, where they drag the right object into place to complete the physics puzzler -- think Rube Goldberg machines. Read full review.

Animoto Video Maker
The world of digital storytelling gets cracked open with Animoto Video Maker. This tool lets kids 13 and older combine pictures, video, music, and text to make video slideshows on a mobile device. It connects to an auto-generated Animoto web account so teens can create, share, and access videos on a computer, too. Read full review.

Sketchbook Pro
Sketchbook Pro is a full-featured app with an arsenal of tools for creating digital art, offering tools available in the desktop version with the ease of a sketchbook on an iPad or other tablet. Teens can choose brushes and colors, draw using mirror image, move and rotate and arrange objects, and work with layers. Read full review.

Make: Online
MAKE: Online, the website from the creative minds behind MAKE Magazine, is the go-to place for DIY project ideas, reviews and resources, and a user-supported community of like-minded tinkerers. Covering science, technology, craft, and the pure pleasure of making stuff, MAKE outlines some seriously cool hands-on opportunities for kids. Read full review.


What websites and apps do you use to encourage your students to be creative? Sign in to comment below.

Ellen H.

Ellen is the former online community manager for the Graphite educator community. Her other experiences include managing various nonprofit online communities, including the award-winning documentary film, "Miss Representation." and serving as the communications and engagement manager for KQED Education.