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Water Bears

Water Bears



50 water pipes puzzles dripping with logic and spatial reasoning challenges.
The Bottom Line
Kids will bubble through this excellent set of water pipe puzzles to learn logic, color mixing, and systems thinking.

Logic Puzzles Bubble Over with Cuteness

The Water Bears' app stars little dehydrated creatures who need your kids' help in building pipe systems that can deliver water. These water bears come in different colors, make adorable sounds, and will only drink water that matches their color. Each 3D puzzle starts with at least one water bear, a water source inside a castle-like stone structure, and a selection of pipes. Puzzle-solvers must construct an efficient system of pipes that bring the correct colored water to each water bear.

How to Play with Water

The 50 puzzles start off easy, with players constructing pipes to enable colored water to reach its matching colored water baby. But the beauty of these puzzles is that they get progressively harder. Players learn to combine primary colors to make secondary shades and to split secondary colors to return them to their primary source. They will also create systems that avoid obstacles, split water in several different directions, and come up with solutions that maximize limited pipe resources.

App Analysis

Water Bears is unique in how it teaches kids systems-management. Children think they are just playing with water and pipes to help the adorable little water bears. But as they solve the puzzles, they build on their learning of how to create efficient water pipe systems. They will test, debug, and learn to make their water systems more efficient.

The key to a good puzzle game is the progression of difficulty. Water Bears handles this brilliantly. The puzzles get harder in many ways, including having to build around physical obstacles, limiting the number of pieces, introducing pieces that require more sophisticated thinking (such as filters that take one color out of a secondary color), and adding more water bears and more colored water sources within a puzzle.

While there are no hints, players don't need them. These puzzles are beautifully constructed to encourage experimentation. Kids can turn these 3D puzzles 360 degrees; they can zoom in; and they have endless "undos" (called "recycling" in this app).

The puzzles are divided into four puzzle packs that gradually unlock as you play. Within each puzzle pack, kids can also unlock separate "Challenge Puzzles," which up the ante in difficulty.

The joyful animations of the water bears when you quench their thirst provides great motivation to keep solving puzzles. The gentle, upbeat music adds to the pleasure of working inside this app.

Best For

Water Bears makes puzzling fun for a wide range of kids. Both girls and boys will be attracted to this concept. Puzzle-solvers as young as ages 4-5 will enjoy Puzzle Pack 1. But the other Puzzle Packs require more sophisticated thinking. The sweet spot for Water Bears is for kids ages 8-14.

For other great logic apps for kids, check out our Best Pick recommended list Apps to Promote Logical Thinking.

A Separate Teacher's Version

Teachers: There is a separate version called Water Bears EDU that offers classroom management and analytics.

This kids' app review of Water Bears was written by Jinny Gudmundsen.

All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.

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Water Bears
Released: 6/15/2015
Company: Schell Games
Price: 2.99
Platforms: Android
iPod Touch
Available: Apple App Store
Google Play

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