In cities across the world, skyscrapers tower around us and provide space in crowded places to live and work. But do you know how they are built and maintained? In Skyscrapers by Tinybop, discover what keeps these engineering marvels standing tall. The app -- the seventh in a series called the Explorer's Library -- includes gorgeous and easy-to-use interactive models.
The Science Behind Skyscrapers
Opening the app for the first time, you will see a skyscraper against a city skyline. You can start with that one building, or create a new skyscraper by tapping the plus button. Tapping on a skyscraper will allow you to learn more about its structure and inhabitants.
While zoomed in on a building, the bar on the left side allows you to switch between 6 different views of the skyscraper. Each view focuses on a building element: the skyline, form, structure, elevators and stairs, water, and electricity. Some views also have sub-views that allow you to zoom in on a specific part. For example, in the Structure view you can close up on the foundation and the soil.
The Parts of a Skyscraper
In the Skyline view, you can do several things: you can enter a building, add a new building to your skyline, drag buildings to rearrange your skyline, and remove a building by dragging it to the recycle bin. A detail to note is while rearranging the skyline, the foundation for each building also changes to adapt to the soil.
In the Forms view, you can customize your building's facade. You can change the colors, add spires or clock towers, and more. You can also move the slider at the bottom to "strip" the facade and drag new floors into your building.
In the Structures view, you can test to see how your building will fare against lighting storms, strong winds, and earthquakes. This experiment introduces you to a tuned mass damper, a device that's used to control the movement in skyscrapers. You can also zoom in on the foundation and experiment to see how different soil types affect a building's stability.
Because skyscrapers are very tall, people who live and work there need a transportation system to get to different floors. The Elevators view allows you to play with the building's elevators and move people up and down.
In addition to a reliable transportation system, people in skyscrapers also require water and electricity. In the Water view, you can tap water pipes to see how water travels throughout the building and even test to see what happens when a pipe breaks or gets clogged. You can also drag flames to start a fire and watch what happens.
Finally, the Electricity view allows you to see how power is supplied throughout the building. You can also enter the close-up view to discover how each resident's power consumption affects the entire building's electrical output.
Parents Need to Know
Skyscrapers has been designed to facilitate rule-free experimentation and exploration. If desired, kids can turn labels on from the Settings menu to learn the names of the things on screen. These labels are available in several languages, and their colors can be changed to suit your child's preference.
Parents and educators can download a detailed handbook filled with facts, interaction hints, and discussion questions to get the most out of the app. In the handbook for Skyscrapers, for example, you can learn how the first skyscrapers came to be and how they are built today. The handbook is available in several languages, such as English, Chinese, Spanish, and French.
Skyscrapers is a child-safe app. There are no in-app purchases, third-party adverts, or unsecured links to external sites. Because all the contents are included with the initial download, you don't need an Internet connection to use the app.
Things I Like
The Explorer's Library, which Skyscrapers is a part of, is an excellent series of apps. They always get you thinking about everyday things that are often taken for granted, and Skyscrapers is no exception. Prior to reviewing this app I never really thought much about how plumbing or electricity works in a skyscraper, so this was an enriching experience. Going into the app, it's hard not to appreciate all the work and planning that go into designing and building a place where people live, work, and play.
As always with Tinybop apps, there are plenty of little quirks that will amuse kids and grown-ups alike. For instance, when investigating how soil affects building stability, kids can drag dinosaurs, yachts, and other heavy items to adjust the weight of the building. Another silly detail is the realistic potty sounds that can be heard while exploring a building's plumbing system -- though not as impressive for parents, it is sure to send kids into fits of giggles.
Finally, another thing I love about the app is that the people who live and work in each skyscraper are diverse. There are men and women of different races and body shapes (though I have to wonder about the lack of babies and pets). You can also zoom in and interact with these tiny animated characters, which is a really nice detail.
(Update: As it turns out, the app has just received an update to include more fun details! Starting from v1.0.3, you can find dogs, aliens, and even robots wondering about. There are also a ghost and a bank robber running amok.)
The perfect app for curious kids, Skyscrapers by Tinybop lets them explore the ins and outs of a skyscraper. The app is highly interactive, and kids will enjoy tapping and dragging to build their own skyscraper and learn about its facade, structure, water and electrical system, and other features. Older kids can turn on labels to read the names of various building parts, and parents and educators can download a detailed handbook to get the most out of the app.
App was provided for our honest review.
Tinybop, Inc. is a Brooklyn-based studio of designers, engineers, and artists. They make toys for tomorrow.
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