Pettson's Inventions

App review by
Stacy Zeiger, Common Sense Media
Pettson's Inventions App Poster Image
Wacky puzzles help turn kids into creative problem-solvers.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn how the principles of physics and other scientific concepts apply to a variety of usual and unusual scenarios. The challenges really boost kids' problem-solving and creative-thinking skills, and the unconventional materials may help kids think differently when solving problems in real life. Although the lack of hints and directions may seem frustrating at first, it really encourages kids to take ownership of the challenge and try out multiple scenarios to see if they can complete the task. When they do, they're rewarded with a "good job" and the satisfaction of knowing they figured it out on their own. Pettson's Inventions gives kids a great opportunity to use their creative problem-solving skills while learning a little science.

Ease of Play

Kids will get right to the inventions but may have difficulty putting them together at first. Thankfully, they learn from the challenge and figure out how to use materials such as fire-breathing dragons to complete an invention.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pettson's Inventions is a puzzle-based app that encourages kids to think outside the box as they help put together some wacky inventions. Here's an example: Launching a rocket doesn't simply require lighting a candle; it involves raising a fire-breathing lizard with a balloon and blowing the fire toward the rocket's fuse. These unconventional inventions featuring unique, fanciful materials as well as the usual bricks and glue give kids' brains a workout and can even be a fun challenge for parent helpers.

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What's it about?

PETTSON'S INVENTIONS challenges kids to help Pettson and his cat, Findus, build 27 zany inventions using traditional items such as cogwheels and rubber bands and less traditional items such as pinwheels and little green monsters. Pettson introduces a problem, and kids solve it by dragging and dropping items to build a contraption. For example, Pettson says, "Help the bird take a shower," and kids place a weight over an elephant so when it drops it will squeeze air out of the elephant's trunk with enough force to power a pinwheel, which, in turn, pumps water for the bird's shower. As kids successfully complete tasks, Pettson offers praise, kids earn a gear, and new puzzles unlock. As they play, kids learn lessons about physics, problem-solving, and how to use materials in unconventional ways.

Is it any good?

The scenarios in Pettson's Inventions may seem a bit odd and the materials a bit unconventional, but the zaniness helps kids come up with creative solutions. Although the game may not state outright that it wants students to learn about physics and engineering, it incorporates scientific principles in every task; this embedded learning is beautifully built in. 

The mix of traditional materials with nontraditional materials, unique monsters, and funny animals helps keep the game interesting. As kids successfully complete challenges, they unlock new, more difficult ones that continue to keep them engaged. Challenges also require kids to use logic and a basic knowledge of the laws of physics to complete the challenges. For example, they may determine that a weight needs to fall and squash the elephant to give him enough power to spin a windmill. It's the unique tasks, such as squashing elephants, releasing wild monsters, and flinging cats to keep them from getting mice, that really make Pettson's Inventions stand out as a creative problem-solving game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the laws of physics and how they play a role in the inventions kids create.

  • Design your own inventions or come up with your own unique uses for objects you find around the house. For example, how many ways can you use a toilet paper tube?

  • Encourage kids to solve problems on their own. For example, if they can't reach something on a shelf, encourage them to find a safe way to reach it without a parent's help.

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For kids who love inventing

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