Thursday, April 16, 2009

Crayon Physics

The first physics-based game I will share with you is a delightful example of the educational games I want my grandkids to play. It’s called Crayon Physics. Visit http://www.crayonphysics.com/ and download a free demo of the game. Play the demo with your kids and then decide whether or not to buy the Deluxe version.



The playing field in Crayon Physics is a 2-dimensional vertical plane with gravity active. Objects fall and structures tumble if not supported. Wheels rotate around axles and levers lift loads. The goal in every puzzle/problem is the same, pass over a yellow star with a small circle. Each problem has many solutions and can be played over and over.

In this pic, Joshua is working through the first problem in the demo. The demo contains a short and simple tutorial.



In this pic, Jordann is testing her solution to a problem met towards the end of the demo.



Here is a short video of Jordann's solution to the problem. Notice that the long arm pivots around the small circle.




As grandad, my role is to support the kids as they play. I typically leave the room or sit back quietly and watch. I let them wrestle with every problem but if I think the frustration level is getting too high, I look at their solution and try to offer a suggestion or hint that doesn't solve the problem but let's them continue on to a solution. An important problem-solving skill is to drop a tough problem for a time and let it incubate in the mind. Therefore, if they really hit a brick wall, I have them stop playing and let them return to it at a later time.

In a later post I will feature Samorost I and Chapter 1 of Samorost II, two free problem-solving games with delightful, storybook graphics and imaginative puzzles. The grandkids solved both, with a bit of help from grandad, on a weekend visit.

3 comments:

  1. What a great way to introduce the concept of physics in such a non- threatening environment. I have not been able to try this yet but when my son is a little older we will definitely play this game.

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  2. i have tried this, and it's awesome! thanks for the link, what a great learning tool, fun and creative.

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