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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Top Picks


PrintPrint | Save as PDF – Creative Challenges

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 and photo editor yields great results

Bottom line: High-quality moviemaker and photo editor has numerous uses for students' projects.

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: With stable internet access and enough time to get started, this is a flexible, accessible way to create beautiful designs in your classroom.


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.

Common Sense Selection

Google Arts & Culture

Well-curated art and history site inspires curious learning

Bottom line: A beautifully presented one-stop shop for compellingly curated and contextualized art, history, and culture resources, but it's lacking educator supports.

Photoshop Express Photo Editor

Top-notch photo editor helps perfect pics for creative projects

Bottom line: This is a powerful, free creation tool from the industry leader in photo editing.


Powerful online audio production with built-in collaboration features

Bottom line: Soundtrap is a uniquely collaborative sound-production environment, but if you want the top-quality EDU version, you have to pay top dollar.

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.

Get tips for using these tools in the classroom

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