The 6 Best Kid-Friendly CAD Tools to Introduce Kids to 3D Design

Children are inherently curious, they love to discover and build new things. In the past, Lego has helped facilitate this creativity, allowing children to create anything they can dream of using plastic blocks.

The advent of 3D printing can unleash the imagination of children. The specific forms no longer limiting them, the possibilities for creation are endless. However, it is the software that might restrict their potential.

Imagine trying to teach an eight-year-old Autodesk Fusion 360; this will perhaps demotivate them in record time. However, there are substitutes suitable for children. Here are the six best CAD tools to introduce your child to 3D modeling.

Created by one of the leading providers of computer aided design software, TinkerCAD is a free web application designed for kids. Although it is primarily designed for 3D design, you can also use it for circuit design and code blocks.

The web app also offers easy-to-follow lessons to familiarize children with the tool. Once they have created their 3D designs, the app can export the rendered files as STL for 3D printing or SVG for laser cutting. And if you don’t have any of these tools at home, you can even have it 3D printed online and have it delivered to your home.

TinkerCAD also provides free lesson plans for teachers to familiarize their students with computer-aided design. These courses vary in length, and you can also find courses suitable for children in Grades 3 to 12.


This is another web application created by an established computer aided design company. SOLIDWORKS apps for kids have five applications: shape it, style it, mechanize it, capture it, and print it. These apps are for a stage of 3D design, allowing your child to master each of them before moving on to more advanced stages.

There’s also a Classroom app, which lets you organize and manage lessons, helping you teach kids to create 3D designs while giving free rein to their creativity. It also includes sample lessons, so you can get started teaching kids quickly.

If you want more ideas, you can also check out Featured User Projects, showing the latest idea makers created with the app.

Slash 3D screenshot

If you find the previous two options a bit overwhelming, 3D Slash offers one of the simpler solutions to 3D design. This app allows the user to create designs one block at a time, similar to Minecraft. And the best thing about this app is that it doesn’t even require you to log in to use it.

Those new to 3D modeling can also get started with the 10 short video tutorials available on the website, letting you exercise your creativity in under an hour.

You can also connect the app to social media platforms, cloud storage services and other 3D printing services, allowing you to save, share and print your designs.

Related: The Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Windows 10 PC Kid Friendly

Sometimes manipulating 3D space on a 2D monitor can be confusing. For this reason, BlocksCAD allows you to create 3D designs using commands. You choose from the list of commands available in its left menu, ranging from 3D and 2D shapes to math and logic equations.

If you don’t know where to start, you can find examples in To learn > Examples to see how they made these shapes. You can also find video tutorials in To learn > Videos to teach you how to create, move, and rotate basic shapes.

In addition, there are free and paid courses to take for those who want more advanced courses, allowing you or your child to get the most out of this tool.

SketchUp screenshot

SketchUp is one of the most popular tools for architectural and 3D rendering. This is because you can use its web-based 3D modeler for free while keeping its most important functions available. You can also get in-app lesson plans for free if you have a G Suite or Microsoft Education account.

One of the best things about SketchUp is that it offers basic, intermediate, and advanced tutorials right in its YouTube account. These lessons are easy to follow, making it easy for you to use SketchUp.

However, you should note that Sketchup is best suited for eighth graders and up, as their advanced features can be a bit too overwhelming for younger students.

This app turns 3D modeling into a game. This fun and easy to use app places your child in a virtual world where they can move around different locations that offer various building challenges. But before they even face these challenges, they must first go to the training lab to teach them how to move the world.

For each challenge your child takes, they receive a reward and level up once they have gained enough experience. It encourages your child to keep playing and discovering the app, thus strengthening their 3D modeling skills.

Besides being educational, Makers Empire is also entertaining, allowing your child to practice their creativity while stimulating their senses. They can use its various functions to build mazes, participate in competitions, complete challenges and build a rocket to visit other worlds.

Related: How To Set Up An Android Phone Or Tablet For Kids

Encourage your child to create things

Children are inherently imaginative. If you ask a child for ideas, you will probably get a thousand and one in a few minutes. By nurturing their creativity and fueling it with the ability to build and create, you are building a solid foundation for their future.

In the past, the only way children could build was with clay, wooden blocks, or Lego bricks. But today, computers and mobile devices allow children to create virtual worlds, where only their creativity is the limit.

By giving them access to the right tools and guiding them through their use, you can help them discover their passion for building and creating. It can lead to a better future, not only for your child and your family, but also for our society as a whole.

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