Trace – creative problem solving game

This is one of those wonderfully simple apps that keeps you coming back.  It’s not complicated visually, but the essence of the game is very rich.  You need to move your little stick figure across the screen, avoiding various dangers along the way, to the goal circle.  To help them, you can “draw” more floor, ala, Howard’s magic crayon.

But the learnability is what is great here.  Your child can start off watching you, advising you, brainstorming with you…for about 5 minutes until they want to drive.  There are subtle laws of the Trace world that they will learn to understand through trial and error.  Remember how much fun your child had playing with cups of water, pouring the water from one container to another?  They learned a lot about physical properties that way – by creating their own experiments.  The same happens here in the Trace world.

Additional benefits – some of the obstacles are words on the screen.  Danger doesn’t come from just thorns or spinning triangles, but also from several copies of the word “danger” arranged into a maze that your stick figure must carefully navigate.  One thing I enjoy about games like these is how they give gentle reminders to our children about the importance of reading (the better you can read, the better you’ll play these games).  Every little bit of extra support that the children receive around reading has a lasting benefit to their internal motivation.

cost: FREE!

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