Call it STEM education if you want, and limit your kid’s screen time if you must, but know this: you lived through the birth, evolution, and golden era of video games, so it’s now your job to pass along the joy of gaming to the next generation. If you don’t know where to start — because caring for said generation has sucked up all your gaming time — then know this: the guy who programmed your favorite game probably has his kid playing something from Tinybop, who just so happen to have a brand new game out: Weather.
Weather is the ninth app from the highly praised studio run by a guy who asks prospective employees to name their favorite children’s book in interviews. It’s the sixth in the Explorer’s Library series, and like Simple Machines and Homes, the app explains big ideas about the natural world by letting kids ages 4+ drag and drop different elements onto the screen and watch how they respond to each other and their environment. Each element responds to the next following scientific principles, but those reactions play out in responsive animations that are entertaining, beautifully designed, and engaging for kids. Perhaps most importantly, they help answer all your kid’s most “Why?”-worthy weather questions without you having to be a walking natural history museum.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZagpH7-aWps expand=1]
Essentially, in Weather, your kid gets to play god and mete out fistfuls of justice on the unsuspecting app citizens below. Specifically, that means drawing clouds and jumping inside them to see how they change at different altitudes; creating extreme weather and seeing its effects on the environment; dissecting the invisible elements that create heat, water, and air; and learning how temperature impacts precipitation, pets, and people. You’d probably prefer to teach your kids about the weather this way than the Norwegian way, even if it requires more screen time.
Weather: $2.99 (iOS)