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In the digital age, kids are using technology from toddlerhood. While screen time needs to be balanced with outdoor play, creative apps can help develop your child’s skills and talents in amazing ways. But with millions of options in the app store, how do you find the best app maker for your aspiring entrepreneur or budding brainiac?
I’ve tested and reviewed the leading DIY app builders to discover the top 7 for unleashing your kid’s inner genius. Whether your child dreams of launching the next TikTok or sharing science projects with the world, these easy-to-use app makers let kids bring their ideas to life.
1. Appy Pie – Best Overall App Maker for Kids
Appy Pie is my top pick for kid app creators. With an easy drag-and-drop interface and no coding required, Appy Pie allows children as young as 8 years old to build fully-customized apps.
- Intuitive design with preloaded templates
- Build apps for Android, iOS, Windows, Amazon Fire OS, and web browser
- Supports features like push notifications, live chat, and Apple Pay
- Publish apps directly to Google Play and Apple App Store
- Pricing starts free for basic apps or $25/month for full functionality
Appy Pie makes app development fun and accessible. Kids can add animations, hyperlinks, image galleries, and more with just a few clicks. The end result looks professional, not childish. Technical support guides you through the entire process from building to publishing your app.
While the free plan limits features, it’s a great way for kids to start learning app development at no cost. Paid subscriptions unlock more advanced tools. Overall, Appy Pie is my top recommendation for kid-friendly app creation.
2. CodaKid – Best for Learning Real-World Coding Skills
If you want your kid to go beyond block coding and games to build apps used in the real-world, CodaKid is a top choice. With mentor-led online classes in practical programming languages, kids develop professional-level coding skills.
- Build real-world apps and websites using professional tools
- Experienced mentors guide students through hands-on projects
- Class curriculum promotes creativity, problem solving, and collaboration
- Pricing starts at $25/month for 2 classes per week
At CodaKid, kids go beyond just learning syntax to think like real developers. Mentors keep students engaged and on track while letting them get creative with projects. Classes not only teach coding, but also computer science principles used by industry experts.
For older kids ready for the next level, CodaKid’s project-based approach is ideal. The support of live mentors gives kids confidence taking on more advanced skills. If your child is excited about coding as a future career, CodaKid starts them down that path.
3. Swiftic – Best for Budding iOS Developers
If your kid dreams of developing the next big iPhone app, Swiftic is made for them. It teaches app coding in Apple’s Swift programming language through interactive lessons and challenges.
- Learn real Swift coding in a guided environment
- Lessons cover app design, libraries, debugging, and publishing
- Challenges reinforce learning by writing real code
- Develop finished apps and submit to the App Store
- Free with premium education tier for $9/month
Swiftic isn’t drag-and-drop like Appy Pie or AppMakr. Kids should have basic coding foundations first. But it provides a safe, structured way to advance skills. Lessons start assuming no Swift knowledge before building up to make multi-functional iOS apps.
For motivated young coders focused on Apple development, Swiftic is a top choice. The guided process helps avoid newbie frustration while unleashing creativity. If your child loves coding, Swiftic propels them to the next level.
4. Thunkable – Best for Building Mobile Apps Without Coding
Thunkable offers a unique blend of simplicity and customization for making mobile apps. Using a drag-and-drop builder similar to Appy Pie, kids can create iOS and Android apps with minimal coding.
- Visually build apps by dragging blocks of code
- Customize features and appearance without typing code
- Create collaboratively with live testing and sharing
- Free account with pro version for $8/month
Thunkable opens app creation to non-coders through its intuitive interface. Kids can build everything visually and turn to text coding when they’re ready to level up. Testing and sharing in real time makes it great for classroom or group projects.
5. Bitsbox – Best for Learning to Code Through App Games
If your kid loves app games, Bitsbox teaches coding by letting them build their own. With step-by-step instructions, kids develop games and animated stories while picking up programming foundations.
- Coding lessons through developing real apps
- New themed project delivered monthly by mail
- Step-by-step guidebooks make lessons interactive
- Pricing starts at $20/month for weekly projects
Bitsbox takes the one-foot-after-the-other approach to coding that clicks with many kids. A new booklet walks them through building a themed app project each month, accumulating skills over time. Kids look forward to their package arriving in the mail packed with code cards, stickers, and the guidebook.
The structured lessons work great for reluctant coders overwhelmed by big apps. Bitsbox breaks down web app development into digestible steps. If your child loses interest in coding easily, Bitsbox may re-spark their curiosity.
6. Kodable – Best Coding Curriculum for Young Kids
Young kids can start learning real coding principles with Kodable. Using simple game-like puzzles, Kodable builds up to writing code in a visual programming language.
- Visual coding language designed for kids 4+
- Game-style puzzles introduce coding concepts
- Full curriculum builds from coding 101 to functions
- Designed for schools but can be used independently
- Free version available with premium for $129/year
Don’t let the cute graphics fool you – Kodable teaches serious coding skills starting from the very basics. The sequential puzzles introduce programming logic and control flow organically. Kids have to apply new concepts to progress, avoiding feeling overwhelmed.
7. Tynker – Best Design Variety for Creative Young Coders
For creative kids who think coding seems too abstract, Tynker offers a wide variety of learning options. From Minecraft mods to robotics, there’s a hook for every child to get hands-on with coding.
- Coding courses include game design, robotics, Minecraft, and drones
- Programming toolkit encourages creativity and problem solving
- Design decorated games, doodling apps, music remixers and more
- Integrated with hundreds of devices like Lego, Sphero and Parrot drones
- Free starter plan with premium for $10/month
Tynker keeps things interesting by letting kids apply coding across projects. Making their own Minecraft mods, building robotics models, and designing games makes learning interactive. The toolkit encourages kids to be creative problem solvers, not just code followers.
Since Tynker works with leading brands in education, toys, and creativity, it integrates well with products kids already enjoy. There’s flexibility to explore different coding applications guided by interest. Tynker works for both classrooms and independent learning.
Key Considerations for Kid App Makers
With tons of options for kid-friendly app builders, how do you choose what’s best for your child? Here are my top recommendations:
Start simple. Look for drag-and-drop tools and pre-designed templates if your child is new to app creation. Avoid overwhelming them with complex code interfaces too early.
Align with interests. Find an app maker that supports the type of apps your kid wants to build, whether it’s games, multimedia, or something else entirely.
Consider progression. Will the app maker allow your child to build on skills over time? Make sure there’s room to advance to more complex or text-based coding.
Emphasize creativity. Look for options like customizable templates, interactive features, and media integration to unleash your kid’s imagination.
Inspire collaboration. App makers with sharing and real-time previews enable creating with others for a collaborative learning environment.
Unlock Your Kid’s App-Making Potential
Childhood curiosity and creativity are boundless. With the right tools, we can nurture problem solving and digital literacy from an early age. App makers give kids a safe space to bring their ideas to life.
So empower your child to think outside the box and stretch their capabilities. Guide them toward an app builder tailored to their needs and interests. With your support, there’s no limit to what the next generation of innovators can achieve.