A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Crazy Gears is a problem-solving game that gets kids thinking critically, problem solving, and exploring physics and other STEM topics. There are no instructions -- kids experiment as they figure everything out on their own. A parents' guide provides background information, definitions, fun facts, and project ideas, though it's not embedded into gameplay. Since there's essentially no instruction, gameplay is accessible to all kids no matter what language they speak. Parents who don’t speak English, however, will not be able to read the handbook.
What's it about?
Play in CRAZY GEARS is introduced with a simple instruction: "Find a way to pull yourself to the next level." Kids figure it out on their own as they drag and drop various items into place, experimenting to discover different ways to connect a ball and chain so the next level gets "pulled" across the screen. Through 61 levels, the number of tools and gadgets increases, including wheels, gears, rods, pulleys, weights, racks, hooks, and more. If parents sign up for an account, they can create multiple user accounts, so individual kids can play and not lose their progress. A parents' guide offers lots of definitions and background information.
Is it any good?
Crazy Gears is a great opportunity for kids to explore open-ended play and experimentation. Even on the 2-D screen, kids get a really good sense of what gears, weights, pulleys, and other simple machines do. Lots of levels, many with multiple solutions, should keep kids engaged for a while, even if some levels feel repetitive. Though the parents' guide can be dense, it's worth reading, and it's definitely worth sharing the definitions, gadget names, and fun facts with kids. It would be great if the information also were embedded in the game itself. Parents can track kids' progress through the levels, which can help provide inspiration points for which areas to explore more together. Allowing kids to devise their own levels would be a nice feature.
Though the digital experience doesn't capture everything about the machines (such as how much torque is necessary to lift a really heavy item with a chain), this is a really creative, highly accessible -- and fun! -- option for exploring physics and engineering.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about problem-solving strategies. Which obstacles are on each level? What things can kids try to solve the puzzle?
Read through the parents' guide to help name the different tools and big ideas each level introduces. Learn about gears, friction, tension, rack and pinion, and more. Talk about where kids can find these things in real life.
Help kids build similar contraptions in real life and experiment.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Science: engineering, motion, physics
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: hypothesis-testing, solving puzzles, strategy
- Price: $2.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Release date: March 26, 2015
- Category: Education
- Topics: Science and nature
- Size: 52.00 MB
- Publisher: Seven Academy
- Version: 1.01
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love engineering and STEM
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.