Common Sense


10 Best Arts Tools for Middle School

In middle school, students become more aware of the world and their place in it. They're naturally inclined to work through these thoughts and feelings by creating art. We've put together this list of great arts tools for middle school, with an eye toward a range of styles and mediums sure to satisfy the diverse tastes, interests, and talents of your middle schoolers. Whether they're inclined to make movies, games, music, paintings, or social connections with fellow young artists, these tools effectively enhance creative abilities and encourage self-expression.

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DIY App - Creative Community for Kids

From cardboarding to cooking, this app helps kids find the fun in DIY

Bottom line: Fabulous way for kids to get skills and share their projects digitally.

Green Screen by Do Ink

Versatile, easy-to-use moviemaker yields great results

Bottom line: High-quality movie maker has numerous uses for students projects.

Adobe Capture CC

Magical design tool extracts colors, patterns, and more from images

Bottom line: The rare combo of "wow" factor and utility, this tool help students recognize and use the designed world around them.

Paper by WeTransfer

Beautifully designed digital sketchbook for any age

Bottom line: The simplicity and effectiveness of the app make this a powerful sketch and note-taking tool for the iPad.

Tayasui Sketches

Slick and satisfying illustration app on par with the competition

Bottom line: This tool, while a bit of an adjustment from pen and paper, gives students ample room to grow creatively.


Amazingly powerful audio workstation unleashes creativity

Bottom line: There's exceptional functionality in this solid, all-inclusive audio workstation that's fantastic for high-quality, anytime, and anywhere audio recording and sharing.


Create snazzy designs in seconds with flexible, cloud-based tool

Bottom line: A flexible, accessible way to get kids -- especially design novices -- creating digitally in your classroom if you have stable internet and time to get students set up to be successful.


Sharp music program has popular music, standards-based curriculum

Bottom line: Since it features a standards-based curriculum and good skills-building for students, this is worth a look for teachers.

GameMaker Studio 2

One of the best creation tools available for aspiring game developers

Bottom line: Provides teachers with the best choice for a full unit or class on game design, and gives students a tool to help them realize their game-making dreams.


Terrific composition tool empowers budding musicians to create, share

Bottom line: An excellent tool for writing and sharing musical creations.

Get tips for using these tools in the classroom

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