A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn about simple machines such as levers, inclined planes, wheels and axles, wedges, screws, and pulleys. They will figure out that these tools change force so work is easier. If kids pay close attention, they will begin to notice that there's a trade-off when force is changed. For example, with levers, a longer distance with a little force is exchanged for a shorter distance with less force. Simple Machines by Tinybop is another in an impressive suite of educational apps that also would benefit from a little in-app guidance and instruction for kids.
Ease of Play
Kids can get started with very little direction or support, though there are no explicit instructions.
Products & Purchases
Opportunity to buy more apps from same developer.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Simple Machines by Tinybop is a tool that lets kids explore six simple machines through exploration, and it's one of four apps in the developer's Explorer's Library. To get the most out of it, parents may need to help kids look for patterns and ask questions about how making adjustments changes how well the machine works. A parent dashboard accommodates multiple kids, and an extensions guide is available on the website. Though there's no spoken language, labels for the machines are available in multiple languages including French, Spanish, and German.
Is It Any Good?
Fun exploration is full of surprises as kids play with highly interactive tools, though how much they learn depends on adult involvement. As kids change the type of wheel, width of wedge, or number of pulleys, they can observe how those adjustments alter force and how much work gets done. Aside from the science, there are fun, kid-friendly whimsical moments that will make kids want to keep exploring: Fish jump from tank to tank as the screws move up and down, the wedge-split icebergs reveal surprises, and the inclined-plane pinball game's many moving parts offer endless entertainment. The only drawback is that there's no guidance to help kids analyze what happens. Though this keeps the inquiry student-driven, some kids will need additional coaching to get them to ask questions and examine their observations. Playing with a grown-up will go a long way to focus each activity and enhance potential learning. A short and sweet kids' tutorial with some of the terms used in the labels also would provide an anchor for the concepts each game presents.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Building and Maker Apps, Games, and Websites
STEM: Apps, TV, and More for Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math
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.See how we rate