I was inspired to put together the following list by the popularity of the Thinkrolls app with both Mr 5 and Mr 2. There are some awesome Physics Apps out there to help our kids learn about STEM concepts through fun, physics-based puzzles. Most of these apps can be played by kids aged between 3 and 10 years.
Thinkrolls There’s everything to love about this logic puzzle app which introduces basic physics concepts as the player rolls their super cute Thinkrolls character through a maze. Each chapter introduces a new feature such as crates, jelly and balloons. Each feature has it’s own property to explore, such as cold, heat, gravity, floating or sinking. These concepts need to be understood in order to successfully move items around to enable the Thinkroll progress forward. I bought this app was for Mr 5, but Mr 2 has taken to it with gusto. I thought he was just mucking around with it and copying his brother, but soon I realized he actually knew what he was doing. Logic puzzles at two!? Apparently so!
Happily Avokiddo, the creators of Thinkrolls, have also released Thinkrolls 2 which explores even more physics concepts, such as electricity, light and wormholes! Like the first app it also excels at challenging kid’s powers of logical thinking with two levels of difficulty to choose from: Easy and Hard. A few of the harder ones had me stumped too! Especially with the introduction of delicate eggs which need to be placed correctly or… crack! I love the easy to access Replay button so you can have unlimited tries at solving a puzzle without having to go right back to the start each time.
Crazy Gears is another big hit with both kids, a game where you learn to manipulate gears, chains, rods, and pulleys to move to the next level. Again Mr 2 worked it out surprisingly fast but definitely needs help as the levels progress. By solving the puzzles, the player learns how cogs, gears and different mechanisms work, and explores concepts such as tension, motion and gravity. There’s something very satisfying about the click noises when cogs and chains are put in the right place. I almost find playing this one relaxing, with no loud noises, no over the top ‘Well Done!!’ type fake feedback. Just great opportunities for exploration and discovery.
Bobo Explores Light is an amazingly comprehensive book style app with plenty of interactivity. Bobo is a robot who travels through our universe to learn all about light. The app moves from simple concepts such as shadows, lightning and fire to advanced topics such as photosynthesis and aurora without skipping a beat. We’ve had this app for a while and it’s one that Mr 5 keeps coming back to. As he gets older the more advanced concepts are keeping it interesting for him. Initially he was loving the exploration of the solar system and most especially the disco with the laser beams where Bobo has a good boogie. Highly recommended.
Monster Physics is an app aimed at older kids 9-11 but Mr 5 has still had some fun with this one and all the opportunities for invention and creativity that it offers. There are over 50 missions to complete, or you can just design your own contraption with more than 68 different parts, including wheels, rockets, propellers, cannons, magnets, claws, wings and more. Different materials available include metal, wood, plastic, rubber and ice. Connect parts together by welding them, drawing a rope or chain between them with your finger or using special dynamic joints to bring them to life. Obviously dynamic joints and such were stretching it a bit far for us at this stage, but we managed to create a fair few rockets which would fly off into space quite successfully 🙂 And some kind of weird machine that used cannon balls to feed fruit to the monster.
Ball Fall Down is a wonderful open ended play space to invent, explore, discover and create with balls, spinning stars, wooden boards, teleporters and spouts that shoot out endless balls. It’s like a marble run style application, the possibilities for creation and exploration of motion and gravity are endless. It even has flippers so you can create your own pinball game. It looks very basic but is one of the best open ended play and discovery apps we have.
Pettsons Inventions 1 is a fairly simple drag and drop game requiring you to help the inventor finish his crazy contraptions. Place cogs and pulleys to start inventions that wash cats, water plants or wake up grandmas. Kids learn how the objects can be used to create funny inventions. Logical thinking is required to work out which bits go where. Creativity is stimulated by working out what the machine is supposed to do and seeing what Pettson has managed to create. Made for ages 6-8 but I would say younger kids could easily use this. They have also released Pettsons Inventions 2 and Pettsons Inventions Deluxe. This last one includes puzzles from the first two plus 6 new puzzles. The beauty of the Deluxe version is the focus on co-operative playing. In VS Mode games allow kids to play together to compete to finish a puzzle.
Star Walk Kids – Astronomy for Children Never be stuck not knowing what planet, star or constellation you are looking at again. Just hold the iPad up to the sky and let this app educate you about your night time vista. This app is spot on in design, content and delivery of information. It uses cartoon like graphics which appeal to the kids and has nice simple controls. It uses your position to display location specific information as you move your iPad around you. You can simply browse the sky around you or search for planets, stars, constellations, even the Hubble Telescope and the International Space Station. Many of the planets and constellations have accompanying informative videos, in one of which I learnt we are only 15 years away from establishing the first Lunar Colony! Brilliant for kids and useful for grown ups too 🙂
Hope these keep your little inventor scientist happily experimenting and exploring!