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Get Children Into Science

Science can be a subject that many of us see as something for other people. Physics, Chemistry and Biology is something for the nerds, geeks and highly intelligent children at school and not for us or our children.

"Science is an incredibly important subject that many students never fully grasp. Knowledge of chemistry or other sciences is necessary to solve many real-world problems, but the way it's taught now often fails to capture students’ imaginations, discouraging experimentation and discovery."

That quote from the creators of Happy Atoms inspired this list of games. It's true not just about their game that unlocks the wonder of chemistry, but about many other games that often get children doing science without even realising it.

This can be the simple chemical puzzle-solving of a game like Sokobond. It can be the embodied understanding of gravity and momentum in real-time physics games like Portal. It can be the way different elements combine properties in games like Zelda Breath of the Wild. It can even be gaining a sense of scale of the universe in a game like Everything.

This list includes 71 games from the last 16 years, with 1,544 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to fall in love with science.


 

Spyder

Release Date: 21/03/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: Apple TV, Mac and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Spyder is a puzzle adventure where you play as Agent 8, a small 6-legged spider-robot that was designed by a British spy agency for attempting to stop an evil organization. You explore the world and can use your sticky legs to walk over any surface or...

Supraland

Release Date: 09/03/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Supraland is an adventure game that involves exploring, running, jumping, solving puzzles, and fighting monsters. You play a member of the Red Village and you must discover why the Blue Village has sabotaged your water supply. Your character is a...

Everything

Release Date: 21/03/2017, updated in 2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

Everything is an unusual game that simulates a world where you can become any object. It sounds strange and not much fun, but the enjoyment is in discovering how small or how big a thing you can become. From tiny atoms to whole planets and everything in...

The Long Dark

Release Date: 22/09/2014

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

The Long Dark is a thoughtful exploration-survival game where you have crash-landed in the icy Canadian wilderness after a global disaster and must find a way to survive. Through exploring, crafting and fighting you must look after your body...

Subnautica (Series)

Release Date: 11/04/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Subnautica is an open-world adventure where you explore the ocean on an alien planet after crashlanding. You collect resources and fight creatures to survive. This enables you to establish an underwater base, gain new craft and equipment and explore...

The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

Release Date: 03/03/2017

Platforms: Switch and Wii U

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild departs from the previous Zelda formula with the scale and depth of its world. You walk, fly, ride and climb your way through a landscape that varies in climate, terrain, inhabitants and vegetation. Weather and...

Opus Magnum

Release Date: 08/12/2017

Platforms: PC

Opus Magnum is a puzzle game about assembling machines to convert spherical chemicals into different compounds. Each challenge can be tackled by creating different machine configurations, and each is awarded points on how compact, quick and efficient...

Elite Dangerous

Release Date: 15/12/2015, updated in 2016

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Elite Dangerous is a new version of the classic 1980s space game Elite. Like the original it’s a space exploration, trading and combat game that provides a huge and rich universe rather than a specific story. You can trade goods, become a bounty...

Stormworks: Build and Rescue

Release Date: 28/02/2018

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Stormworks is an open world adventure where you design, build and pilot your own air sea rescue service. You create programmable vehicles using it's block-building system and pilot them into dangerous situations to rescue stricken vessels or...

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy

Release Date: 06/11/2017

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is a strange game about movement and momentum. You are tasked with climbing a mountain. However, your only means of locomotion is a hammer that can stick to objects and drag you forwards.

Astroneer

Release Date: 16/12/2016, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Astroneer is an open-world space adventure where you colonize planets by creating habitable structures, farming and mining resources. There is no specific story, although the challenges of each planet give rise to struggles of achievement to placate the...

Portal (Series)

Release Date: 10/10/2007, updated in 2011

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS3, Switch, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

You are in a science laboratory where you seem to be being tested. Watched by the artificial intelligence GLaDOS, you have a gun that can create a pair of magic portals on any surface: one is an entrance and the other is an exit. Through a series of...

No Man's Sky

Release Date: 10/08/2016, updated in 2022

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

No Man's Sky is a space simulation about exploring endless planets and galaxies. It invites you to take your spaceship to explore and colonise a universe rich with diverse planets, creatures and fauna. Facing so vast a space is daunting at first, but a...

Potion Craft

Release Date: 21/09/2021

Platforms: PC and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Potion Craft is a puzzle adventure game where you create potions in an ancient looking workshop to send you bottle around the map. You combine ingredients, fire and water to move your bottle along the map to the target location and brew a potion to help...

Hundred Days, Winemaking Simulator

Release Date: 13/05/2021

Platforms: Android, PC, Stadia, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Pieces: Cards

Hundred Days is a strategy game about making wine. You control every aspect of a new Winery, choose vines, learn how to grow them and when to harvest. You make decisions about the process with a simple interface that takes you through each day. It's a...

Endless Ocean

Release Date: 09/11/2007, updated in 2010

Platforms: Wii

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Endless Ocean (Endless Ocean: Blue World in the US) and its sequel Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep are versions of a diving adventure game where you explore the Manaurai Sea to identify different fish and recover artefacts. As experience is...

Surviving Mars

Release Date: 15/03/2018

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Surviving Mars is a colony simulation game based on the real geography of Mars. You build and maintain a liveable habitat while balancing resources and researching new ways to adapt to the hostile environment. You receive occasional rockets from Earth...

Beyond Blue

Release Date: 22/04/2020, updated in 2020

Platforms: Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS4, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Beyond Blue is an underwater exploration game where you play Mirai, a deep-sea explorer and scientist. You see, hear, and interact with the ocean and the creatures in it as you discover an untouched world.

Eco

Release Date: 06/02/2018

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Eco extends the resource-collecting and building of Minecraft by introducing environmental implications to your actions. Using resources like trees will erode the soil; mining might pollute the river; and each animal depends on another.

Terra Nil

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Terra Nil is a strategy game where you are using clean technology to bring back life to a barren world. It's a city building game where you aren't building a city at all, but a clean thriving ecology. It raises interesting themes of how humanity plays...

TerraTech

Release Date: 04/07/2018

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

TerraTech is a construction game where you create vehicles to explore the environment, find resources and craft upgrades. It includes a modular building element where your decisions affect the performance of what you make. Each building block has its...

Splitgate Arena Warfare

Release Date: 24/05/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Splitgate: Arena Warfare is a movement-focused shooting game. Building on classic quick-motion gun battles, Splitgate adds a gun that can create portals between any two locations. This combines the frantic close-quarters arena combat that was popular in...

Balance - Power Grid

Release Date: 05/08/2016

Platforms: Android, Mac and iOS

Balance - Power Grid is a puzzle game about power grids. You place cables, pylons and power generators to make sure there are no blackouts. Through a series of challenges you build power grids that are functional, and that produce the right amount of...

Factorio

Release Date: 14/08/2020, updated in 2022

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Factorio is a construction strategy game where you crash-land on an alien planet and must harvest resources to create industry to build a rocket to escape (or fall in love with running your factory and stay on longer).

In Other Waters

Release Date: 03/04/2020

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

This is an underwater exploration game where you play an Artificial Intelligence assistant to a stranded xenobiologist in a mysterious alien ocean. The world is not seen except through the instrumentation available to you. This creates a non-violent...

Kerbal Space Program

Release Date: 31/03/2016, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Kerbal Space Program is a space flight simulation game. You direct a space program, staffed and crewed by aliens. It looks like a cute game for kids, but under its comic exterior is a hugely complex and engaging space simulation.

Learning Factory

Release Date: 18/02/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Learning Factory is a strategy game where you automate an old factory. Unusually, this isn't to make money and conquer the world but a round about approach to understand cats. Peculiar backstory aside, the game tasks you with renovating the factory,...

QWOP

Release Date: 21/12/2010

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Web and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

QWOP is a sports game with a difference. You have to control each limb of your virtual athlete. This changes it from a challenge of hitting buttons to using the touch screen or keyboard to deftly coordinate movement to gain forward motion. It's really...

Wobbledogs

Release Date: 11/03/2022, updated in 2022

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Wobbledogs is a pet simulation where your dogs not only need care but are rapidly mutating different behaviour and appetites. You breed new dogs (from eggs), create and decorate a home for them, feed them and see how they evolve.

Gravity Rush

Release Date: 09/02/2012, updated in 2017

Platforms: PS Vita and PS4

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Gravity Rush is a running, jumping and exploration adventure game. You play as Kat, an amnesiac with the power to manipulate gravity. She uses this ability to help her community and uncover the mystery of her past.

Koral

Release Date: 16/05/2019

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Koral is a diving exploration game where you play the sea current. This sounds a little odd, playing a flow of energy, but works brilliantly.

Breakwaters

Release Date: 09/12/2021

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Breakwaters is an adventure set in an ever-changing oceanic world. Unlike other games, Breakwaters isn't satisfied with day-night and weather cycles, it stands out for the fluid mechanics of its water. You swim, sail, and fly to new islands using...

Dish Life: The Game

Release Date: 24/02/2020

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Dish Life: The Game is a puzzle narrative game where you play a stem cell researcher, managing a laboratory and growing stem cells.

Potion Permit

Release Date: 22/09/2022

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Potion Permit is an adventure game about a chemist working to help village inhabitants get better from various ailments. You explore the world for ingredients and craft medicine by completing puzzles and mini-games. It stands out for the tension it...

Wildfire

Release Date: 26/05/2020, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Wildfire is a running, jumping and hiding game where you hide from (and distract) enemies to get through levels and complete missions. You have specific powers to start fires, freeze water, and move earth that offer different ways to solve the puzzle of...

RocketPuzzle

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Rocket Puzzle is a tile-based puzzle set in space. You push and hold blocks so their attached rockets can fire them into the matching coloured space stations. It's a small but tricky game with a retro aesthetic.

Kitty Q

Release Date: 08/10/2021

Platforms: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Kitty Q A Quantum Adventure is an escape-room where you use outside-the-box thinking to solve puzzles in an odd world with quantum physics themes. It's unusual not only because the puzzles are approachable and visual appealing but because they each...

Little Mouse's Encyclopaedia

Release Date: 25/02/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch, Xbox and iOS

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

Little Mouse's Encyclopaedia is an adventure game where you play as a mouse exploring nature. On your way you encounter plants and animals along with encyclopaedia-style information about them. It's an interactive picture book where every interaction is...

Sokobond

Release Date: 27/08/2013, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Sokobond is a puzzle game where you create chemical molecules by manoeuvring atoms around the screen, avoiding obstacles. The game is streamlined to not need instructions and its minimalistic design enables ease of use. As you move through the levels...

Thinkrolls: Kings and Queens (Series)

Release Date: 16/11/2016, updated in 2021

Platforms: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Thinkrolls: Kings and Queens is a puzzle game where you roll your character around castles to collect keys, food and gems for the dragon that lives there. Complete a level to be awarded with customising pieces to decorate your ball as a king or queen....

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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