Get those green thumbs ready with Gro Garden (US$2.99, universal), an educational app that helps budding explorers discover organic gardening in a creative and competitive way. Did you ever trick your kids into eating their veggies by sneaking the ingredients into some yummy home-baked cookies and brownies?
Gro Garden will secretly teach your kids how planting seeds and tending a virtual garden grows the food we feed our friends. Watch them clean up the scraps which get turned into compost. They won't even suspect that new chores have been added to their lists!
Gro Garden requires iOS 4.0 or later running on iPhone 3GS and newer. This app is optimized for iPhone 5. The App Store lists Gro Garden as being 112 MB in size, however, after installing it on iPad and checking General Usage in Settings, the size was over 650 MB so know that it can hog some serious disk space.
This app was designed for children aged six through eight, but testing revealed even a four-year-old really digs it!
Gro Garden is a great way to learn about sustainable farming and organic gardening. You won't see any chemical sprays, just good old-fashioned bug blasting here. Environmental issues are demonstrated in a simple and entertaining way using interactive animation.
The possibilities are numerous so game play can be quite competitive when you can no longer escape the need to plant just one more onion to bolster your collection! Oh look, potatoes! Get back here little rain cloud!
Gro Garden is unaffected by language barriers because it's a "learn-as-you-play" game with no written instructions. The characters are cute and kids will pick and feed their favorites, but don't worry, no critters go hungry here. There is no third-party advertising or in-app purchases to distract from learning and kids will ask to play it over and over.
Feeding our little friends the home-grown, nutritious veggies is a great lesson in eating whole foods, but the incentive for doing so leads to rewards in the form of fattening, processed cupcakes that the little characters become excited over and gobble up. This seems a bit contradictory if one of the educational goals is promoting unprocessed foods.
Gro Garden will grow on you and make you think twice about tossing your scraps in the trash. Soon there will be a hungry Connie Compost in your back yard, just waiting to be fed! Be sure to check out Gro Play's range of eco-educational apps including Gro Recycling.