Great apps for creative kids

From baby Van Goghs to tiny Van Halens.

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Did you know that art can help boost your child’s interest in science? While hands-on experience with a pencil, brush, or instrument is important, it’s more likely that children will have a smartphone or tablet in their hands. In their spare time—instead of watching YouTube videos or Snapchating—let them experiment with these apps for art, drawing, and coding.


BANDIMAL is a loop-based music composer for children ages four and up. The app lets you create drum beats, program musical loops using animals as instruments, and then add effects to your songs. Each of the nine available animals represents a specific instrument or noise—smaller animals like a chicken make higher tones and larger instruments make bass tones. The composition screen is split up into three tabs to place any three animals you’d like in your creature orchestra. They are animated and dance to the beat once you program and play the song. No music knowledge is required and your child can save their composition and return to it at any time. The app is available for iPhones and iPads. $4.

Hopscotch: Make Games - Hopscotch Technologies

Hopscotch teaches kids coding concepts through the process of building their own games. Instead of writing complicated text-based code, the app simplifies the process by using object-based programming. Pint-sized programmers map commands to specific objects by clicking and dragging colorful action blocks. For example, they can place a heart icon on screen and program it to bounce and change color if the phone hears a loud noise through its microphone. After learning the basics, users can ramp up the complexity of the commands. Once the game is complete, users can share it online and play other people’s creations. The app is for children eight and older and features tutorials on how to make games like Pokemon Go and Crossy Road. Subscription—which features more tutorials and let’s you draw your own custom characters—is $80 for the year. Free.

Lake Coloring Book

Lake: Coloring Books is an art app for children and adults. Use five tools—acrylic brush, watercolor brush, spray, fill, and an eraser—to add up to 245 colors to your photos. Lake gives you one free drawing per day, but if you choose to subscribe to the app—which helps support the artists that provide the illustrations—you’ll receive more outlines, gain access to art from featured artists, and unlock more color palettes. It even works with Apple Pencil if you’re using a compatible iPad. Once you are done, you can save, share, and print your masterpieces. Free.

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Billy Cadden Avatar

Billy Cadden

Senior Director of Commerce

Billy Cadden is the Senior Director of Commerce for the science, tech, and outdoor group at Recurrent. He began working as the Commerce Editor at PopSci in 2017, where he spent 5 years diving deep into every product he could get his hands on. Cadden splits his time between Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, and Woodstock with his dog Wanda. He spends his time seeking new coffee shops and writing for his solo music project