TinkerBox App Poster Image




Superb physics puzzler challenges kids, inspires creativity.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The controls work smoothly, and the interface is intutive.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Tinkerbox is a puzzler and engineering tool that challenges kids to complete physics-based puzzles and create their own virtual inventions. The free app was developed by Autodesk, the creators of AutoCad and other engineering tools. The challenging design tool may be frustrating for young kids. Kids can email their inventions to friends or to the developer to possibly be included on the game's website. They can also share high scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's it about?

TINKERBOX is part game, part creative outlet. Kids can work their way through the six levels of puzzles, each offering many stages, where they drag the right object into place to complete the physics puzzler -- think Rube Goldberg machines. Kids complete one level of puzzle to unlock the next level of increasing challenge. They can also create their own inventions using the objects -- balls, bolts, chains, connectors, conveyer belts, fans, wheels, ropes, scissors, switches, and more. Several inventions are already loaded onto the app, and kids can alter those inventions or study them for inspiration.

Is it any good?


TinkerBox is an impressive tool for kids interested in engineering. The physics of the higher levels can get quite challenging, incorporating space gravity. The number of objects available for building is impressive, too. The training level demonstrates with lines and arrows to prepare kids for the challenges to come. The app is available on both iPhone and iPad, though inventing is more challenging on the smaller screen of the iPhone.

The industrial appearance of the lab may turn off some kids who are used to the more colorful appearance of apps like Amazing Alex. Still, this fun, free app is an excellent choice for encouraging kids to think, create, and explore.

Families can talk about...

  • Encourage kids to create their own Rube Goldberg machines with objects around the house that can serve as slopes, levers, buttons, and pulleys.

  • Make sure kids know that some great inventions are just alterations to existing inventions and let them know they can load and alter some of the demos included in the app.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Subjects:Science: engineering, physics
Skills:Creativity: developing novel solutions, making new creations
Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles, strategy
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:September 25, 2012
Category:Educational Games
Topics:High school
Size:96.80 MB
Publisher:Autodesk Inc.
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.2 or later

This review of TinkerBox was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Fun, imaginative gameplay based on real science.
  • Incredible construction toy for open-ended play.
  • Gorgeous graphics in a tough physics challenger.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byMomOf2inVT June 14, 2014

In the top tier for learning apps

I was looking for science, physics and math apps for my little girls. This one seemed a bit old for ages 5 and 7. However our experience seems to suggest that the app works well with younger ages. It is the top app they choose, at about 80% of the time. I have to limit their time on it. They are engrossed. While real materials trump virtual every time, this gives a nice early exposure to physics and engineering and peaks interest. My girls feel like inventors and scientists. They make connections to robots. They love this app.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Family Media Agreement