Our children’s contribution to our back garden mainly consists of booting footballs into plants, usually accidentally. If only we could get them interested in constructive gardening rather than destructive penalty miskicking…
Perhaps Montessori Nature will help on that front. It’s the latest app from one of our favourite children’s developers, Edoki Academy, released for iPhone and iPad.
“Nowadays, it is easy for children to become disconnected from nature in our bustling city landscapes. What if technology could help cultivate an engagement with nature that inspires curiosity, a love for its marvels, and in effect re-introduce our kids to the natural world?” explains its app store listing.
That means a carefully-crafted game where children plant, look after, harvest then sell crops, from fruit’n’veg to flowers. But that includes plenty of other tasks, like managing the weather and seasons, as well as learning about the life cycles of the various plants.
There are bees to pollinate the flowers, and “pesky pests like rodents and ravens” to fend off. Children can also expand their garden and buy some accessories, from lamps to watering robots.
This is all paid for with “nature coins”, a virtual currency that Edoki is keen to stress isn’t paid for with real money via in-app purchases. Instead, children will earn their nature coins by playing the game: encouraging patience and saving rather than hassling the app store account holder (i.e. you!)
Montessori Nature also has a collaborative mode for up to 40 players at once: not something the average household will be needing, but a feature that could be very useful for schools that are using the app with their pupils.
As with many of our favourite apps this year, there is potential for the on-screen action to encourage children to do something in the real world: get out into the garden and try planting things for real. Instead of just planting long shots into the rhubarb patch!
Montessori Nature costs £1.99 for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s app store, with an Android version and website on the way soon too.