Montessori Nature

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Montessori Nature App Poster Image
Grow a garden in this bountiful, multiplayer experience.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about all the work that goes into growing a garden. They'll explore weather, water, seeds, pollination, soil tending, pest control, harvesting, and more. With info cards about each seed, kids also can learn important details about their potential crops. As kids earn coins, they'll practice making spending decisions and see what their purchases do for the success of their garden.

Ease of Play

With little instruction, it may be a little confusing for kids at first. Once they get the hang of it, though, kids should have no problem navigating and experimenting with all aspects of the app.

Violence & Scariness

Kids tap the garden pests (ravens and gophers) three times to get rid of them. There's a slapping sound with each tap, and finally stars circle over the pests' heads as though kids have knocked the animals silly.

Sexy Stuff

There's a small icon on the home page that, when the parental gate is unlocked, takes users to the developer's website to see additional apps.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Montessori Nature mimics a bustling garden where kids can plant, grow, harvest, and sell crops. Despite featuring the name of the famous educator prominently in its title, the game is only loosely related, in that Maria Montessori thought it was important for kids to experience and explore the natural world. It may feel a little slow going or confusing at first, but there's lots going on in this app. As the garden grows, kids will find they have lots to look after and they can easily get drawn into tending their gardens. Parents can sign in with their account information and create multiple user accounts; all of this content is transferrable among different apps from the same developer. There's even a multiplayer mode where kids can work on the same garden as a team. From the website or the app, parents can access a guide that explains the game and includes directions for an offscreen planting activity. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

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What's it about?

Build a garden from the ground up with MONTESSORI NATURE. Kids tend to dirt plots, plant seeds, and water and pick weeds as their gardens grow. When the plants, fruit, or vegetables are ready, harvest them and sell them in the store or make them into jams and sauces. Along the way, watch for weather and season changes, hope for rain, chase away pests, encourage bee activity, and shop for garden enhancements.

Is it any good?

Though a screen can't give kids all the pleasures of the real natural world, this game does a good job of simulating the different factors at play in successful gardening. Montessori Garden is slow going at first, and the minimal how-to instruction may not be enough. But kids will likely feel rewarded if they stick with it. As they earn more coins, build more gardening plots, and go through the different seasons, there's potential for all sorts of things to happen. Kids can get knee-deep in tending their gardens, or they can get the whole family involved by using the multiplayer option to approach it as a team. With kids concentrating on just keeping everything going, it's not entirely clear how all the moving parts -- seasons, the day/night cycle, weather patterns, pests, bees and pollination -- come together and affect crop growth. That's somewhat of a missed learning opportunity. And there's little help for kids to understand the different elements, such as what exactly are those things in the garden store and what do they do? Don't skip the parents' guide, which has some great information on gameplay as well as gardening. Overall, it's an engaging game and can be a source of inspiration to explore and learn about the natural world.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the steps in the growing process represented in Montessori Nature. Why do plants need water? Why is it important to weed or keep pests away? What are the bees doing to help your garden? How are the plants affected by the weather or season changes?

  • Talk to kids about their purchase choices. Why might they decide to spend their garden coins on an automatic sprinkler rather than a spare water jug? What kinds of technology might help their garden flourish?

  • Go out to the backyard, or put a pot on a windowsill and plant a real plant! Choose a flower of your kids' favorite color. Or grow something yummy to eat: The parents' guide suggests basil as a good introductory plant.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science and the outdoors

Themes & Topics

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