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Pettson's Inventions

Lower Age: 6
Upper Age: 8
Price: $2.99
Year Added: 2016
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Pettson’s Inventions is a quirky puzzle app with an appealing hand-drawn rustic style, available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play store. Each of the levels asks players to incorporate unusual, humorous objects into Rube Goldberg-like machines to complete some sort of task, from watering a flower bed to boosting a short fellow so he can reach his morning tea. The task can be practically anything, from assisting various animals to waking someone up. At the start of each level, several parts are already on screen, and the game provides a bank of items to use in the machine that children can drag and drop into the contraption. If an item “clicks” into place then it has been placed in an acceptable location. While most of the levels are fairly easy on their own, for added difficulty the player can turn on “fake items”, which will make items appear in the player’s bank that are not needed for that level. Children can choose to turn their invention on at any time, but the level will only be successfully completed if the goal is met. The game exposes children to several basic engineering thinking skills, such as how to develop a better understanding of designing solutions with an end goal in mind, how to take a client’s needs into account, and how to work within different constraints.


Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about: Define a problem, ask questions, generate ideas, apply science

Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift: A problem, criteria, constraints

Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift: Spatial reasoning, creative thinking, design, evidence-based reasoning, problem solving


Overall ratings:

  • Children Reviews
    • Rating: 4.8 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “I loved this game.” “
      • "It was challenging but really fun!”
  • Parents Reviews
    • Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “The price was reasonable and my children really enjoyed playing it. I like that they were having to problem solve and really think while playing this app.”
  • Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews

    • Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

    • Feedback:

      • Great for demonstrating the real limits of a Rube Goldberg machine, and teaching science concepts at the same time.”