Physics from Harold and the Purple Crayon

A relatively young Finnish computing science student (@PetriPurho)was inspired by the traditional tale of “Harold and the Purple Crayon” Rather than write the sequel, he created a fascinating web application: Crayon Physics Deluxe.


Presented on a wrinkled-paper background, players navigate a ball to strike intentionally placed stars. The catch is that every object, blocks, platforms, balls and rockets will all succumb to Newton’s friend, gravity!

The most exciting component of Crayon Physics is it’s seventy levels, many of which can be mastered by a pre-schooler! A tech teacher friend, Bill Witt, introduced this to me and I embarrassed myself in front of 20 fourth-graders. Of course the ball would roll right off the side of the platform since I neglected to draw color a ramp to re-direct it.

The free demo is full of levels and choices. The upgrade buys you new islands and access to a “playground” where you can share user-created challenges. An i-phone app was released one year and ten days ago. Michaela’s favorite game by Purho is World of Goo.

ads? No.

membership/cost? Demo is free. Deluxe is $20 (PayPal accepted). Download by Kloonigames necessary. Not for Mac yet.

navigation? Very precise. Excellent classroom tool for IWB.

5 thoughts on “Physics from Harold and the Purple Crayon

  1. @Emily…I too noted the value of showing gravity. The game is written so that gravity’s affect on objects is slowed down. Every time I tried to show my daughter what gravity does to objects, it was impossible to track the difference (unless I used a bowling ball and feather) which she always replied, “Well, the air is stopping the feather.”

    Love your blog posts in response to last week’s #EdChat

  2. What a bummer that it is not a Mac yet! I keep hoping that they will update with a mac version. In the mean time, there are some fun web-based alternatives for the Mac. Kids love to solve problems this way.

  3. OH thanks so much for this. I always have the prince do 30 minutes of education video games on the PC prior to any “video game of choice”. Last year we used math blasters because we had moved up from reader rabbit fun.. This will work great and he will love it.

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