Common Sense


Great Games for Physics

Virtual spaces are a great way to help kids grasp topics like motion, gravity, sound, light, magnetism, and more. With these terrific physics picks, young students will be able to build, toss, push, or even catapult objects big and small to see where and how they move. Older students will be able to develop, test, and iterate challenges based on angular momentum, kinetic energy, and other complex physics concepts.

Continue reading

Top Picks


PrintPrint | Save as PDF

Nico & Nor Coconut Star

Early education force and motion app ramps up student learning

Bottom line: Coconut Star, along with its companion app, are great additions to any pre-K–1 physical science unit.

Nico & Nor Shadow Play

Shine a light on concepts around shadows with fun app

Bottom line: A good supplement for any early learning light and shadow unit.


Fun physics platformer teaches, engages young elementary students

Bottom line: Highly engaging game packs in physics learning and puzzling fun.

Crazy Gears

Highly applicable STEM-themed free play; easy appeal for wide audience

Bottom line: A clear, simple, and fun introduction to science and engineering topics that may otherwise feel unapproachable for some kids.

Simple Machines by Tinybop

Excellent elementary NGSS engineering practices embedded in fun games

Bottom line: Fun gameplay lets kids explore important physics concepts in a solid standards-aligned context.

Busy Water

Solve, create, and share puzzles that gush with STEM learning

Bottom line: This challenging yet kid-friendly set of logic puzzles wonderfully allows kids to solve problems and experiment with light science concepts.

Inventioneers Full Version

Budding engineers create design solutions with fun physics puzzler

Bottom line: A fun, engaging way to boost critical-thinking and problem-solving skills while learning about important science and engineering practices.

Crayon Physics Deluxe

Influential physics game is still a draw

Bottom line: Instantly engaging and super accessible to learners of many ages and abilities, Crayon Physics Deluxe fuses conceptual science learning with a brand of playful problem solving that demands creativity.

Contraption Maker

Solve problems, puzzles, brain teasers while creating wacky machines

Bottom line: Hands-on problem-solving leads to great fun and independent learning with the right curricular wraparound to connect what kids are doing with what they need to know.

Simple Machines

Solid physics concepts set up by superbly stylized game

Bottom line: A fantastic, fun-filled jumping-off point for a lesson on simple machines that students are sure to enjoy.

Rube Works: The Official Rube Goldberg Invention Game

Apply principles of force and motion to build fun, wacky machines

Bottom line: Lighthearted puzzles boost critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

Sound Rebound

Make musical contraptions with playful sound and physics sandbox

Bottom line: This engaging and open-ended sandbox app has limited functionality but will engross students for extended periods.

World of Goo

Stellar physics builder with wiggly, animated goo balls

Bottom line: A fascinating fantasy world and constant puzzle challenge pull kids into learning about building structures and geometry.


Sandbox tool enables engaged, conceptual physics inquiry

Bottom line: A robust, free pedagogical tool that's like a digital workbench where kids build and apply conceptual science knowledge.

Motion Force

Thrilling projectile puzzle game features solid physics principles

Bottom line: This fun, gentle introduction to projectile motion will stick with students.

Monster Physics

Awesome puzzler lets kids build, test, modify, and retest

Bottom line: Monster Physics uses colorful graphics and fun missions to teach kids about physics through exploration and experimentation.


Science-based shipbuilding mission sim is valuable but shows its age

Bottom line: A serviceable simulation for teacher-led physics or engineering lessons, or for students to get a feel for how different types of ships are designed and handle on the open seas.

The Fluid Ether

Engaging physics game has learning potential but requires context

Bottom line: An engaging exploration of fluid dynamics that would benefit from more context, embedded instruction, and vocabulary that's more accessible.

Universe Sandbox

Superb sandbox for astrophysics experimentation

Bottom line: An impressive -- and complex -- tool that encourages a playful, systems thinking-oriented exploration of the universe and astrophysics.

Portal 2 Puzzle Maker

Mind-bending level editor for beloved physics game

Bottom line: For STEAM educators with the right tech and know-how, it'd be puzzling not to use this tool.

Garry's Mod

Complex physics sandbox is daunting but rich

Bottom line: This physics sandbox ramps up the complexity but not the usability, leaving it up to the right teachers and students to unlock its benefits.

Kerbal Space Program

Design and launch a rocket into space in realistic astrophysics sim

Bottom line: This accurate rocket sim encourages trial-and-error learning and makes for great (and often explosive) physics and engineering experiments.

Get tips for using these tools in the classroom

See related resources