Gardening: Indoors With Apps

We are growing seedlings inside to start for our garden.

 

Some time ago, I wrote about the science project I conducted with my children. We grew seedlings inside to start our garden. My children excitedly watched as the seeds sprouted. We used our iPad to take pictures, and I analyzed with my older son why one of the sprouts seemed to be leaning toward the window.

 

They received the book How a Seed Grows as a gift, and we have read it several times. We reviewed the pictures of the seeds later toHow a Seed Grows remember how the seed started and progressed. We also used the app Popplet to make an organizational chart about how seeds grow, which included drawings, our own pictures, and color-coding.

 

After reading How a Seed Grows, my children and I talked about how the story connected to our own experience and how the seed in the story was different from our seeds. Making connections to the story and distinguishing differences is a great thinking activity for reading together with your children.

 

Popplet

Popplet is an open-ended app in which you can create your own graphic organizer. Read KinderTown's review.

Popplet is an open-ended app in which you can create your own graphic organizer. It is a great tool for lots of different subject areas and simple enough for younger kids to use with guidance. I like how the app only offers the most simple and useful tools and doesn’t overwhelm kids with tons of options. We used the pictures we took in Popplet and added descriptions to form a visual representation of the process of how a seed grows. Popplet could be used for many different purposes, such as a pre-writing, re-creating a timeline from a book, describing a character from a book, or recording facts you’ve learned about a topic. Popplet is a fabulous learning tool!

Read KinderTown's blog post about gardening and apps.

Happy Little Farmer

This app is adorable and you will fall in love with it! Read KinderTown's review.

Welcome to your own personal fruit and vegetable farm! This app is adorable, and you will fall in love with it! Kids take on the role of the farmer and complete the tasks associated with growing food. The background music plays familiar nursery rhyme tunes. From the menu, children choose the garden, tractor, or monster area in which to play. Children are engaged in play but certainly learning about how food grows in an age-appropriate way. They can dig the holes for the seeds, plant the seeds, water the plants, harvest the vegetables, and even chase the unwanted bugs away. The app does not contain narration, so, parents, talk to your children about what is happening as they complete all the interactive areas. Children earn stickers along the way for extra motivation and are able to navigate the app independently.

 

The experiential learning will continue throughout the summer and fall as our seeds are transferred to our garden and we harvest the fruits of our labor in the fall.

 

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Apps and Activities for Science Learning this Spring

Have a fun spring with children exploring & discovering science with these fun educational apps and activities.

Have a fun spring with children exploring & discovering science with these fun educational apps and activities.

 

Science Apps for ages 3 to 5

 

Dr. Panda’s Veggie Garden

Dr. Panda’s Veggie Garden playfully gives kids the tools to be gardeners. There are 12 fruits and vegetables to grow. Over 30 activities such as plowing, digging, picking off insects and planting seeds are sequenced appropriately for growing each produce.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Dr. Panda Veggie Garden.

The app is more geared towards amusement and working through 1 and 2 step tasks than learning the sequence of growing fruits and vegetables. Each task is fun and easy for kids to work through, but there is not much free play in the games. There are links in the app so you might want to turn off the internet on your device when using this app.

 

Related Blog Post:
Gardening: Indoors With Apps

 

Hippo Seasons

Hippo Seasons responds to your child’s touch for discovering the four seasons. In each season kids tap, swipe, shake and blow to reveal and create with the thematic seasonal scenes. Winter has snow play, spring blends water and colorful flowers, summer an interactive lawn and fall is filled with leaves.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Hippo Seasons.

This free exploration app feels more like a toy than a traditional kids app. A very good app that uses no timers or directions, just your child’s imagination!

 

Related Blog Post:
Apps for Spring

 

Science Apps for Ages 5 and Up

 

Simple Machines by KIDS DISCOVER

Simple Machines by KIDS DISCOVER is a brilliantly designed app that keeps both kids and adults longing to learn more. This is a large app filled with animations, activities, vibrant images and more facts about simple machines than you probably remember learning when you were in school. Activities in the app include puzzles, a mind-bending spelling machine, ideas for simple machines you can make at home and a quiz to see how much you have learned.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Simple Machines by KIDS DISCOVER.

This app doesn’t have the text read aloud, but our curious kids didn’t seem to mind making all kinds of meaningful connections from the pictures when we weren’t able to read aloud.

 

Related Blog Post:
Maker-Inspired Apps

 

Color Uncovered

Color Uncovered is a completely engaging app with interactivity, vibrant images that pique your interest and ton of cool facts about color. Over 20 pages present fun facts about color. The whole family can settle in with this app, allowing the colors on the screen to trick the mind.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Color Uncovered.

There is informative text and explanations provided in the app. They are not written for young children and there is no speech option. An app to use alongside your child, with content that’s interesting for adults too!

 

Related Blog Post:
From Doodles, to Drawing, to Writing!

 

GazziliScience

GazziliScience introduces young kids to Science topics in engaging and kid-friendly play. In the app kids progress through 6 science learning areas that teach through discovery and narration. After completing each area go to the Gazzili fun page where you use prizes earned in the game to build a unique contraption.

 

Read KinderTown's review of GazziliScience.

You’ll notice a tweet button on each page, parents can go into the settings page and turn off going to Twitter (but the icon remains). In addition to removing the twitter button we hope the developers add more learning areas, as the app can be a quick play for some kids.

 

Related Blog Post:
4 Superb Science Apps for Kids

 

Explore the weather and seasons with your young child with the following activities. We crafted each activity to be easy to do with very little planning. Enjoy!

 

Activity 1: What Can the Wind Move?

The invisible mystery of wind makes for great play with young kids. When you are out on walk one day, point out how a flag is blowing or the tree is moving and simply ask you kids, “Why is that moving?” You might get the response, “Oh, Dad, that’s just the wind!” or something wild and unpredictable (like our kids often are).

 

For a quick to set up lesson about the wind, join in with your child to find small objects around the house to test in the wind. The question you’re trying to answer is, what can the wind move.

 

Set up a table in the yard or clear a space on a windowsill. Set out your collection of items to test in the wind. Make sure to jot down your predictions too! Then wait and watch. (You might want to set it up before bed and then see what the table looks like in the morning.)

 

Talk about why certain things on the table were blown by the wind. Why some objects did not move, some moved a little bit and others ended up halfway across the yard.

 

Activity 2: Where Can We Make Rainbows?

A favorite craft in my classroom was coffee filter rainbows. All you need to do is cut a coffee filter in half so you have a half-circle. Then add your colors using markers around the arch, like a rainbow. A few squirts from spray bottle filled with water helps the colors bleed into a bright beautiful rainbow.

 

While that activity by itself is really fun for kids, stretch it out to get kids really thinking of what happens when the water hits the filter and the colors bleed. Challenge your kids to think about where else you can make rainbows:

 

• Can you make a rainbow on cardboard?
• Can you make a rainbow on  tissue paper?
• What happens when you use chalk on the sidewalk?

 

Activity 3: Modeling the 4 seasons

As the seasons are changing from winter to spring, kids are able to really notice the differences and form understandings of the cycle of seasons. Use this time to create books and crafts about the four seasons. Here are a few of our favorite 4 seasons projects:

 

4 seasons foods: Divide a paper plate into 4 parts and label each part with one of the four seasons. Think about foods that look like each season. I used split peas for summer, 3 colored pasta for fall, mini marshmallows and pretzels for winter, and colorful jelly beans for spring. Glue the food into each quarter, describing and comparing what we see outside to the colors and shapes of the food.

4 seasons trees: Gather small sticks from around the yard. Glue them into tree forms on 4 pieces of paper. Label is paper as one season. Kids then add the details to and around the trees to reflect each season. Change up the project by adding: tissue paper, ribbons, paint stamps in the colors of the four seasons.

4 seasons “I like” book: Using four pieces of paper, talk with your child about what they like to do during each season. On the paper write the prompt “I like _____ in (season)”. Fill in the blank with what your child likes to do and add an illustration to each page.

 

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