Ah, spring! A time to look ahead to warmer days, plant seeds for the future, and still be stuck inside because it’s sometimes still pouring or snowing out. If your little ones are moping about indoors on a wet spring day, they can still use their green thumbs on these six gardening-themed educational apps to have some fun on a rainy afternoon.
Combining learning and entertainment with the feeling that you’re spending a bright, sun-filled day in the garden, these apps are the next best thing to the kids going outside and getting their hands dirty. And, bonus: You don’t have to clean up any mud.
MathGirl Number Garden
Although it's an older app without some of the bells and whistles we’ve now grown accustomed to,
MathGirl Number Garden is still a great mental math workout for kids elementary age and up. The app shows objects on the screen such flowers and gardening gloves, and players have just a few short seconds to count them.
The faster players correctly count, the more stars they earn to spend decorating a garden just the way they like it. And it’s not just kids who can benefit from this app — even grownups can get a brain boost (which we all need from time to time).
Next: Grow Your Garden HD
Kindergarten through third graders can sow the seeds of good arithmetic problem-solving with
Grow Your Garden. To make each flower in the garden grow, kids must add and subtract drops of water to make sure the plants get just the right amount. Too much and the plant withers, but little gardeners can easily try again as they develop valuable problem solving skills.
These basic arithmetic puzzles increase in difficulty over 30 levels of play, helping budding mathematicians grow along with their flowers.
Next: Gro Garden
Kids get a firsthand look at organic gardening from seed to table in
Gro Garden. The cast of friendly characters, including a genial compost heap and lively animal friends, all work together to teach little gardeners about each step of creating a sustainable organic garden.
Players start off digging in the dirt (which preschoolers will find almost as fascinating as the real thing), then plant and care for seeds before harvesting the crop. Their hard work pays off as they feed the colorful creatures and earn more plants and other rewards.
$2.99, iPhone/iPad, Android
Next: Grandma's Garden
Toddlers and preschoolers can dig into letters, numbers, shapes and colors alongside a zany grandma. Her kindhearted voice walks young players through garden-related activities like counting potatoes, watering the flowers by matching the correct shape, and matching vegetables.
With no penalty for wrong answers, and rewards like a silly dance from grandma or an educational video about real-life gardening, small kids will happily play and learn in
$1.99, iPhone/iPad, Android
Next: Dr. Panda's Veggie Garden
Preschoolers can make a garden grow row by row in
Dr. Panda’s Veggie Garden. As hungry customers arrive at the farm, players plant seeds for 12 different fruits and vegetables, and then make sure they have plenty of sunshine and water. Kids can even squash the bugs and scare away other pests that might try to nibble away their hard work.
$1.99, iPhone/iPad, Android
Next: Magic Garden with Letters and Numbers
Magic Garden with Letters and Numbers is a puzzle game simple enough for preschoolers and kindergartners. To water all of the flowers (or letters and numbers) in the green garden, players must turn the pieces of the maze just the right direction to get the water to flow.
Soothing music, good practice for learning logic, and 108 levels of can’t-stop-playing puzzles give this app lots of bang for the buck.
$1.99, iPhone/iPad, Android READ NEXT:
Rainy Day Fun: Parentmap's endless wealth of ideas for how to fill a rainy day (including more apps ideas)! Kids + Media: All our amazing app lists, plus ideas to shake up the media your kids engage in.