Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Simple Machines by Tinybop

Simple Machines by Tinybop

Fall 2015 Mobile Apps
Ages: 6 - 8 yrs.
Developer: Tinybop
Download Price: $2.99
Platform: iPad

Simple Machines by Tinybop is designed to teach how six simple machines work; a lever, screws, wheels and axles, inclined planes, wedges, and pulleys. It is beautifully designed with clever, stylized illustrations. Experimentation with each of these machines gets different results. For example, a magnet on a pulley system hovers over a conveyer belt. Based on the size and the weight of the objects on the conveyer belt, players determine how many pulleys are required to lift the object into the air. Options, presented on the right side of the screen are pulley systems with from one to four pulleys in various configurations. Picking up the planet Saturn or a space shuttle requires a more sophisticated arrangement of pulleys than picking up a bird. In discovering another simple machine, a lever is used as a fulcrum to catapult a load or in this case a ball onto a castle in an attempt to knock it down. Adjusting the location of the fulcrum affects how far the load/ball is thrown into the air and where it lands. When the castle is completely knocked down, the dragon inside is revealed and the castle is built again. A sliding panel that moves from right to left provides additional information as well as making the artwork monochromatic so the instructions can be more easily read. From definitions to discussions questions, the inviting 24 page handbook is a must read.

Kristin Harris   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Kristin Reiber Harris is an artist, animator and educator who has created over 50 short form animations with a focus on educational media for young children. Her work has been broadcast on HBO Family and screened in numerous film festivals around the country. She is currently developing interactive media introducing young children to great works of art through stories. Kristin writes about her interests in kids, art and technology at

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