I’ve always been fascinated – but also slightly terrified – by skyscrapers. For any children who fall into the former category, Skyscrapers by Tinybop is an excellent app.
Tinybop is the company behind a series of marvelously crafted ‘Explorers Library’ apps that fuel kids’ curiosity about the world around them. They’ve included apps about plants, the human body, the weather, and other topics.
This seventh release is all about the big buildings that populate our city centers and financial districts, though. The app is available for iPhones and iPad.
“Discover how people build, live, and play in skyscrapers. Construct a skyline full of buildings! Go up and down, through every floor, and underground,” explains its app store listing.
“Spark a blackout, fix a pipe, or clog the toilets. Test your building’s engineering when dinosaurs invade, lightning strikes, or earthquakes. Find out what keeps skyscrapers standing tall and people happy in them all.”
As with previous Tinybop apps, the emphasis is on children exploring the app’s different sections at their own pace, rather than forcing them to move through in a set order. There’s definitely education here, but in an app that feels like a playful, creative experience rather than a textbook.
Much of the initial fun comes from making your own skyscraper by dragging new floors in and seeing how high it can go (up to 50 floors, since you ask).
Children can then explore the more detailed aspects of a high-rise building, from its foundations and sanitary system to how it copes with high winds, lightning, and earthquakes.
(On the latter front, the app has actually reassured some of this 38-year-old parent’s terror of skyscraper physics amid natural disasters!)
Something else I love about this: the people who live and work within the skyscrapers that your children build is diverse: a mixture of genders, races, and body shapes.
It’s also the kind of app that may inspire you and your children to wander around your nearest city looking up at real skyscrapers: another example of digital play fuelling real-world exploration.
As with other Tinybop apps, parents (and teachers) can download a PDF ‘handbook’ with more information and suggestions for talking points with children who’ve been using the app – a really good resource to make the most of its educational aspects.
Skyscrapers by Tinybop costs £2.29 for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store.