Thinkrolls Play & Code STEM

Rating Thinkrolls Play & Code STEM - 5 out of 5 - Best Rating 5.0

  • iPad, iPhone
  • Free
  • age 3+
Downloadfor iOS

About Thinkrolls Play & Code STEM

Thinkrolls Play & Code STEM is a play-based app for learning early STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills. Kids practice many related skills in the app such as problem-solving, logic, sequencing and using different strategies to overcome challenges.

Thinkrolls Play & Code STEM suits kids from 3 to 8 and is available only on iOS. Parents have the option of a monthly or annual subscription after a seven-day free trial. Alternatively, they and schools can buy the app for a one-off cost. If your subscription lapses, you can still access a limited set of the app's features. This review of Thinkrolls Play & Code STEM uses the full premium version.

Thinkrolls Play & Code STEM Review

What is Thinkrolls Play & Code STEM app?

Thinkrolls is a multi-award winning app with accolades that include Apple’s Editors’ Choice, Mom’s Choice Gold Award, Editor’s Choice Children’s Technology Review, 5/5 stars - Common Sense Media, and now, an Educational App Store five-star review.

Young kids can choose different sections in Thinkrolls, depending on what they want to do.

Home Sweet Home: Players customise the controllable character for the other levels.

Arcade Puzzles: Has some challenges with elements of arcade-style maze games mixed with reasoning and logic problems.

Code Your Own: Kids use a graphical level builder to create puzzles for others to complete

Community Puzzles: A curated selection of puzzles created by other users of the app

Brain Games: A variety of different puzzle styles to stretch kids' thinking skills.

Logic Lab: Use logic and thinking skills to traverse a grid and get the key to the exit.

Pirates Code: A drag-and-drop series of treasure-map-themed puzzles that introduces coding concepts

When it comes to coding, Thinkrolls focuses more on concepts than specific coding skills, which will suit young learners especially. Learning to code combines a lot of understanding of how the building blocks of a computer program interact and memorising how to write the commands.

The activities and puzzles in Thinkrolls encourage kids to solve problems using approaches and techniques that would be familiar to a coder, but they don't involve writing a program.

Don't let this put you off. 

Coding is a skill that takes time and dedication to build, and going too fast can be demotivating. Thinkroll's approach helps kids build the foundations without hitting obstacles while they are too young to overcome them easily.

Thinkrolls only needs to connect to the internet when you download it for the first time or to apply an update. Kids can use it without worrying about a connection, but you should check for updates occasionally to make the most of new features or use a seasonal we love about Thinkrolls app.

When apps say they gamify the learning content, it can mean many things. For some, it means they have used child-friendly graphics to dress up an otherwise staid experience. For others, it means they employ many aspects of what makes games appealing to kids.

Thinkrolls is firmly in the latter camp. It has the appealing look and feel of an entertainment app and activities with a game's progression and structure. A less commonly seen aspect of gamification is level creation.I some entertainment apps, players learn to complete levels and can then use the built-in tools to build levels of their own design to share with and challenge others. Thinkrolls does this very well and sets up an effective educational loop, as creating meaningful puzzles requires a clear understanding of the strategies open to the solver. This process entails learning to solve built-in puzzles, which will introduce young kids to the early concepts of coding and build problem-solving skills.

Thinkrolls also provides plenty of variety. Just as some games try to appear more than they are by re-skinning existing levels, so do some gamified apps. This is not the case for Thinkrolls. The sections listed above all provide a distinct play style that occupies a range of gameplay from arcade-style platform fun to more puzzle-game-style challenges. They all exercise the player's logic skills, though.

What skills does it teach?

Thinkrolls includes the acronym STEM in its full title, indicating that it addresses science, technology, engineering, and math in its activities. Over 1,000 activities in the full version of this app give kids chances to think about and experiment with math, science, coding, and problem-solving at a level suitable to the app's target age range.

What age is it appropriate for?

The creators of Thinkrolls have built it with kids aged three to eight in mind. As with all apps that address an age range, those lower down the scale have the potential to get the most from the app as they can develop with its support over a longer time.

Is Thinkrolls app easy to use?

Thinkrolls supports learners to the level of their choice. For example, when creating puzzles, kids can start with a blank canvas or a template.As is fitting for an app used by kids who will still be developing their literacy skills, Thinkrolls uses verbal instructions and hints to help kids. The different activities introduce new elements in well-crafted ways to introduce kids to each item's purpose and the strategies that might employ them.

Where appropriate, kids can choose a difficulty level to match the challenge they feel able to complete. Parents should encourage kids not to get ahead of themselves with these. Older players can likely play through easy levels quickly enough, but younger players jumping straight to higher difficulty levels might become demotivated.

How will students benefit?

We reviewed Thinkrolls a little after Halloween, which was reflected in the app's themed content. This type of update typically indicates that the app will keep kids engaged and interested in the app by reflecting the current season. We look forward to seeing this as a Christmas or Easter-themed educational app.

Seasonal content also indicates an app under constant development and support. This reassurance is important for kids' apps as you don't want them to get used to an app to the point where they think about the challenge rather than the controls and find the app is discontinued or becomes unsupported.

Solving puzzles is a great way to build a kid's confidence. There is a real sense of achievement to be had from being stuck and then overcoming the obstacle. The gradually climbing difficulty level of the activities in Thinkrolls should ensure that kids experience this confidence boost regularly.

Other apps and their time at school will address subject-specific skills, but Thinkrolls deals with kids' more general-purpose and harder-to-define skillsets. Having the confidence to attempt difficult problems will help kids in many areas. Understanding how to use trial and error shows kids that sometimes it is worth pausing and trying again from a different angle. Your kids might not sit an exam in what Thinkrolls covers, but it will help them underpin their academic growth. will parents benefit?

An unfortunate tension has built as mobile devices have grown in popularity: Kids want to play on them, and parents want their kids to spend their time constructively. However, not all screen time is equal.

An arcade-style game might be fun but doesn't offer much for kids' development. A math app is educational but not necessarily what kids want to play. 

Thinkrolls occupies a well-judged middle ground where its style is similar to entertainment titles, and its challenges, while beneficial, aren't so overtly linked to school work as are typical ed apps.

Parents who provide Thinkrolls for their kids have recourse to a middle ground between what they and their kids want from an app.

How will teachers benefit?

A dedicated school app is available that works almost entirely the same as the home version featured in this app review. 

One key difference is that the app is available for a single price with no subscription or in-app purchases. This is great for schools as the simplicity of a single purchase is easier for schools to administer across devices, and the fixed price doesn't place ongoing demands on the school budget.

The second difference is that it does not allow puzzles to be shared with the wider app community. This will avoid conflicts with school privacy, and child protection policies, making it a welcome adaptation from the home version. 

What can Thinkrolls app improve on?

A little more parental control could help ensure kids stick to appropriate difficulty levels. Some kids will want to jump straight to hard, but this may not be a good place for them, and they'll feel the step down as a failure. Parents who think this might apply to their child will want to switch off unnecessary difficulty levels until they feel their child is ready for them. It would be helpful to have this option.

How much does Thinkrolls app cost?

This review mostly focuses on the home version of Thinkrolls which is free to download. New users have a seven-day free trial to use all of the app's features. A monthly or yearly subscription maintains full access to the app's features; however, if you let the subscription or trial lapse, a limited version of the app is still playable.

A monthly or yearly subscription is available, with the latter providing the best long-term value, especially as it had a significant discount at the time of this review.

Subscribers to the app can use it on multiple devices, either through Family Sharing on devices with the same Apple ID or through an app account.

A version of Thinkrolls that will suit schools better than a subscription is available. Follow the link in this review, and then select apps by the same developer to find a version available for a one-off price.

Is Thinkrolls app safe to use?

Thinkrolls states that it never displays advertisements in the app, whether you subscribe, buy a single full purchase, or use the cut-down free version of the app available after the trial ends.

Kids can share puzzles they create in the app, which could have led to potentially inappropriate content if the app's developers hadn't committed to moderating each submission, which they have done. All of the content viewed in this app was suitable for young learners.

The parental lock in this app asks the user to enter their birth year. The lock protects settings for music, player hints, whether puzzle sharing is permitted, and additional app information.

The app's developers state that the app is compliant with GDPR and COPPA.

Overall rating of the app.

Thinkrolls is a beautifully designed and produced app that kids will find fun and parents will feel is more constructive than typical games. It is part of an established suite of apps by the developer providing assurance that it will continue to receive support.

Kids will find this app fun and stimulating; parents will feel the time spent on it is constructively used. For these reasons, we have awarded Thinkrolls five stars.

App Details

Teacher Ratings


iPad, iPhone





Cognitive Development
Critical Thinking
Thinking & Reasoning


In-App Purchases - Yes

In-App Advertising - No



Download Thinkrolls Play & Code STEM

You can download Thinkrolls Play & Code STEM on your iOS devices from the Apple App Store.

Downloadfor iOS

Screenshots for Thinkrolls Play & Code STEM

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