Top Pick

Game-Making Tools for Schools

By making games, students can show what they know. Game development is fun and challenging, energizing classrooms and getting students thinking in new, exciting ways. These picks are all great options for entry-level game creations, easing kids into building stuff that's a blast to play. 

TinyTap, make and play educational games and interactive lessons Publisher: TinyTap Ltd.
Book-and-game builder empowers creativity, boasts vast content library
Grades Pre-K-5
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Scratch Visit Website: http://scratch.mit.edu/
Jump-start future programmers with adaptive sandbox tool
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
The Infinite Arcade by TinyBop Publisher: Tinybop
Simple game-design app has endless creative potential
Grades 2-5
Type App
Price $2.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Bloxels: Build Your Own Video Games Publisher: Pixel Press Technology
Making games using physical cubes is fun, despite execution issues
Grades 2-7
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Fire phone
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Kodu Game Lab Publisher: Microsoft
Open-ended game design and programming tool for visual thinkers
Grades 3-12
Type Game
Price Free
Platforms Windows, Xbox 360
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Minecraft Publisher: Mojang
Spiraling sandbox of adventure and creation gets kids to dig deep
Grades 3-12
Type Game
Price $26.95 for desktop, $19.99 for consoles (except Wii U at $29.99)
Platforms Linux, Mac, Wii U, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Codesters Visit Website: https://www.codesters.com/
Differentiated text-based coding makes for truly authentic experiences
Grades 4-8
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 5
Gamestar Mechanic Publisher: Institute of Play and E-Line Media
Captivating manga romp teaches kids game design
Grades 4-9
Type Game
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
LittleBigPlanet 2 Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Accessible yet deep game creator will dazzle and challenge
Grades 4-12
Type Game
Price 19.99
Platforms PS3
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Ready Maker Publisher: Ready Makers, Inc.
Fun and easy game design yields surprisingly complex creations
Grades 4-12
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms iPad, iPhone, Chrome, Mac Apps
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Sound Shapes Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Jazzy music game lets kids design levels and create music
Grades 4-12
Type Game
Price 14.99
Platforms PS3, PS Vita
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Swift Playgrounds Publisher: Apple
Fun, intuitive iOS-coding app great for newbies or pros
Grades 4-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
GameMaker: Studio Publisher: YoYo Games Ltd.
One of the best creation tools available for aspiring game developers
Grades 5-12
Type Game
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 5
Stencyl Publisher: Stencyl, LLC
Code-free game development tool helps kids program and publish
Grades 5-12
Type Game
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Mac
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Textadventures.co.uk Visit Website: http://textadventures.co.uk/
Play or design text adventures, but creation can get technical
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Twine Visit Website: https://twinery.org/
Cool interactive story creator can both dazzle and baffle
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Codecademy Visit Website: http://www.codecademy.com
Terrific hands-on coding practice with live feedback
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Construct 2 Publisher: Scirra
Standout, pro-caliber game-dev tool still great for novices
Grades 7-12
Type Game
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Windows
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
GameSalad Publisher: GameSalad, Inc.
Great interface, flexible publishing options make game-making a snap
Grades 7-12
Type Game
Price Paid
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Level Up! Visit Website: http://www.scholastic.com/createvideogames/
High-level lesson plans aspire to turn classrooms into game studios
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Portal 2 Puzzle Maker Publisher: Valve
Mind-bending level editor for beloved physics game
Grades 7-12
Type Game
Price $19.99
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Codea Publisher: Two Lives Left
Well-thought-out coding platform for real game programming
Grades 8-12
Type App
Price $14.99
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5