I know I’m not the only one who feels a little less guilty about the extra screen time for my kids when they use an app that helps them learn. Having a folder of problem solving games apps for kids allows them to exercise their minds and stretch their imaginations instead of just zoning out like they do watching endless unboxing videos. (Although, I admit, these videos are oddly fascinating.)
Educational apps for kids aren’t necessarily hard to find, and your kids probably already have a few that they like. However, these games will help children learn specific problem-solving skills in various forms to keep their minds sharp and give them the chance to learn new things. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends kids use apps that “require more than ‘push and swipe,'” which these 15 problem-solving
game apps certainly do.
Strategy and planning are key to solving any problem, so it’s no surprise that all of these games help bring these concepts to life for kids in a fun and engaging way. STEM-forward games use physics and engineering to help kids create and invent to solve mechanical and structural problems, while traditional puzzle games let kids use their strategic skills to put together number puzzles.
The problem-solving power of puzzles cannot be overstated, and apps like Tozzle bring practicing this skill set right to the fingertips of your digital-loving toddler. Instead of tripping over a pile of puzzles in your child’s floor and risking losing critical pieces, let them explore the 40+ puzzles available on Tozzle. Designed for children from toddler to early primary, Tozzle’s puzzles range in complexity, so there really is something for every child.
Cut the rope
My own kids love to
play this game. The goal of Cut The Rope game is to feed a cute little monster named Om Nom as many candies as possible. The trick is that to feed it, you need to strategically cut a string the candy is hanging from so that it falls into Om Nom’s mouth, avoiding obstacles along the way. It’s actually harder than it looks and requires a bit of critical thinking. Best suited for ages 4 and up, I’ve played this one myself a time or two, and it’s entertaining and engaging for adults too.
What do you get when you combine water physics with puzzles? The Busy Water problem solving
app. Kids can use their critical thinking skills to use pipes, wheels, blocks and paddles to help Archie the fish find his way out of the open water and back into his tank. Aimed at children ages 6-10, this app will help engage children’s creativity, as well as develop their cognitive skills and reasoning skills.
Laugh and Learn Shapes and Colors
Even babies and toddlers can learn through simplistic problem-solving apps. Designed for babies 6 months and up, this app from Fisher Price features an infant- and toddler-friendly design with bright colors and easy-to-sort shapes. Two levels of play let babies and toddlers learn by tapping or tilting the screen to move the shapes and hear their names.
Mysterious City of Mathematics
Older kids who could use a refresh on their math skills can do just that while enjoying the Mystery Math Town problem-solving app. The app engages kids on a mission to help a friendly ghost rescue hidden fireflies in Mystery Math Town by using math skills like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to unlock passages and enter puzzles. rooms. The app is customizable to meet your child’s specific math needs, but recommended for ages 7 and up.
As an adult, I can say with confidence that sometimes money can cause big problems that need to be addressed. Let your kids learn how to ease money troubles before they get their hands on the real thing with the Savings Spree app. Kids ages 7 and up can practice solving money-related problems by engaging in this game’s game show-style format, choosing when to spend, save, invest, or give away their play money.
For kids who like to experiment and invent new things, the Inventioneers app lets them do it digitally. Kids 4 and up can build with over 50 objects and tools that use physics and engineering to create problem-solving inventions from the three fun Inventioneers characters working in the app.
Where is my water?
This Disney app lets your kids practice their problem-solving skills while bringing attention to the global problem of access to clean water. In Where’s My Water? players must cut through dirt and manipulate pipes to deliver clean water through a sewer system to Swampy the Alligator. Additional scenarios to solve involve creating steam to power another alligator’s musical instrument and clearing algae from a picky alligator’s plate.
Winky Think Logic Puzzles
The logic puzzles included in the Winky Think app start off easy, but get harder and harder as the levels progress. From matching shapes and colors to twisting and switching objects to maneuvering through puzzles, each game encourages players to use reasoning skills as they progress in each level. The app’s lower levels are best suited for kids around 5 years old, but older kids and teens can work through the lower levels quickly and be challenged through 180 levels.
The Shiny Picnic app provides an engaging and fun game for toddlers and preschoolers to practice their problem-solving skills. Kids can sort and match objects like fruits and vegetables by color, following the game’s fun animal characters as they help the team prepare and organize picnics.
‘The Cat in the Hat’ Builds That
If your children like
The cat in the hat, this PBS Kids app will help them hone their problem-solving skills alongside their favorite fiery feline. Children can design their own creations to help solve dilemmas using physics and science concepts. Preschoolers will love this fun, easy-to-explore app set in a backyard where The cat in the hat and his friends build treehouses, playgrounds and more.
When you combine STEM concepts with traditional logic games, you get a game kids can really get lost in while learning about engineering, physics, and mechanics. Kids ages 3-8 can help the adorable monster creatures in the Thinkrolls app navigate their way through obstacle courses by manipulating objects to clear paths and trying different methods to complete the game.
Cyberchase 3D builder
This app from PBS Kids uses geometry and three-dimensional shapes to help take traditional puzzle games to the next level. Kids ages 6 and up are tasked with using shapes to rebuild the city of Botropolis after it’s accidentally zapped by Delete and Buzz from the classic game Cyberchase.
The Zoombinis app is a recreation of the classic 90s
video game Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, which features tiny blue creatures trying to get home. In this app, kids will solve logic puzzles that engage analytical skills, pattern making and more in each level to unlock each additional level until the Zoombinis complete their journey and find themselves at home .
Tower of Tami
The Tami’s Tower app lets kids use their problem-solving skills to build towers that help Tami the tiger reach fruit to eat. Created by the Smithsonian Institute, the game takes basic engineering difficulties and lets kids stretch their minds to create solutions to those problems by stacking and manipulating objects.