A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Algodoo is a 2-D physics sandbox. Kids can create and manipulate a variety of objects and mechanisms and change their properties using contextual menus. For example, in a given "scene," or file, Algodoo can model anything from a block of stone sliding down an icy ramp to a rocket car taking off in low gravity to a complex sorting machine or a computer that uses physical gates to compute solutions. It's also possible to make games in Algodoo. Algobox is a generally kid-friendly online community of users who share their projects. Mentors and teachers also can register to access and create physics lessons for Algodoo. Robust tutorials support beginners well, but users can get just about as complex as they want in two dimensions using the game's materials, properties, and math.
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What's it about?
In ALGODOO, kids play as engineers, inventors, and scientists exploring (and building with) the cause-and-effect relationships among energy, objects, and materials. Friction, gravity, light, magnetism: they're all here for kids to discover as they complete tutorials and create "scenes" -- or playable scenarios -- that demonstrate scientific principles via the players' created models and mechanisms. There can be a lot to keep track of for those looking for a challenge, but it's also fairly easy to get up and running with something like a laser and a prism to engage kids and get them thinking about how our world works.
Is it any good?
Algodoo is a great entry point for learning physics. Because it's a two-dimensional sandbox, it's a much more welcoming experience than something like the popular three-dimensional physics puzzler Garry's Mod. It's easy to see how objects attach to each other or interact with one another in two dimensions as compared to three. Thorough tutorials help kids master the basics, and the Algobox community features plenty of projects from which to draw inspiration for more advanced work. The "lessons" section offers tutorials that teach discrete, specific topics in physics. Algodoo is like a Scratch for physics; it starts where kids are but can spiral up in complexity as they learn.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can explore how kids can become digital creators with Algodoo.
Families can explore how real-world objects and energy sources -- such as prisms and flashlights -- interact with one another.
Families can explore local science museums and events to learn new ideas to test in Algodoo.
- Platforms: Mac, Windows
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions
Math: algebra, arithmetic, geometry
Science: engineering, measurement, physics
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: defining problems, hypothesis-testing, problem solving
Creativity: developing novel solutions, making new creations
Self-Direction: goal-setting, self-assessment, work to achieve goals
Emotional Development: developing resilience, persevering
Collaboration: meeting challenges together
Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
- Pricing structure: Paid, Free (Free on Mac and Windows. $4.99 on iPad.)
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Algoryx
- Release date: September 1, 2009
- Genre: Simulation
- Topics: Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: NR
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
Our editors recommend
For kids who love learning physics and making things
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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.