Nic & Nor’s Wonder Farm and its companion app the Plants Journal is a treasure for spring and summertime time play. It was created by First 8 Studios at WGBH whose commitment to early education is exemplary. They know from decades of producing children’s educational media, just how exactly to engage and teach children. by manipulating and observing the sequence of environmental conditions on virtual plants. Kids went at this app with gusto and played it again and again just to watch the outcome of mixing up the variables of sun, rain, and animals nibbling in the garden. There are 5 areas of play including making a healthy salad from some of the items grown. Directions are clear and pacing of the content is presented in such a way that kids can actively process the consequences of their actions then adapt conditions for a more successful harvest. The app has a link to First 8 Studios that is full of content to get the most from their apps under a parental gate. It is well worth a look-see.

Inside Wonder Farm

On opening choose 1 of 4 plants to grow or go in the kitchen to build a salad. There are tomatoes, cabbage, beans, or carrots just waiting to be sowed. Each module provides exploring a new variable to ensure retention of the material. Correct vocabulary is provided for everything from parts of a plant to the impact of the chosen conditions. Directly manipulating 2-3 variables helps kids to virtually get their hands dirty and discover not only scientific methodology but also begin to ask questions and anticipate or predict outcomes. Each seedling undergoes intense scrutiny within a rotation of 6 sequenced actions. It’s heartbreaking to see if you allow 6 bunnies to visit your carrot garden, that they will eat it all! Successful harvests are then measured for prosperity and recording. In the kitchen, kids prepare a salad for Nora. She eats it with delight, and the genius behind this is that she is modeling healthy habits AND appreciating what you’ve grown. The companion app – Nic and Nor’s Plants Journal is a nifty way to record growing plants in real life on a daily basis. In addition, it also teaches kids to take data and be able to use that data for future plantings. Playing with Bluebee makes the lessons fun, and someone to “Bear” witness in your green thumb in action!

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