A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that older kids will love spending time in City of Materials, but there's a lot of reading required to gather evidence, which may frustrate younger kids or less advanced readers. Also, kids can play City of Materials anytime, but they'll need to create a user ID and provide an email to save their progress and play continuous games.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Kids learn about materials science by playing games, doing at-home experiments, and exploring other interactive tools. Kids can tour the CITY OF MATERIALS and choose to investigate crimes by working at the Austen Detective Agency or the Griffith CSI Lab. Within the city, they can also visit the Science Center, a museum with rotating exhibits, talk to locals, or do a little shopping. Outside the City itself, there are more ways to interact with the world of materials science, including Materials Radio and the Colleges and Careers tab.
Is it any good?
There are so many layers of play and ways for kids to learn about science here. The City of Materials game world isn't huge, but it's easy to navigate and find activities to suit your kids' interests. Don't worry about City of Materials exposing kids to upsetting or gory crimes; they include a dognapping, a pair of mysteriously broken glasses, and a local laboratory sabotage. The focus here is on how materials and science can be used as evidence as well as the forensic skills needed to investigate and solve crimes. The site is chock-full of fun tidbits and doesn't miss any opportunities to share science info; even the game loading screens offer interesting factoids while kids are waiting. Kids get direction and keep track of things on their own in-game smartphone, which they'll love. These little details make City of Materials a truly engaging science resource. Who knew materials could be so fun?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what the heck materials are; everything around us is composed of materials considered metals, ceramics, polymers, or composites. Kids can have fun identifying and discussing the items in their world: spoons, bicycles, rocks, cameras, books, and more.
Families can talk with their kids about crime and the people who devote their lives to solving it, which, as City of Materials teaches, definitely includes scientists.
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