Plants by Tinybop

Common Sense Media says

Kids explore biomes at their own pace in colorful app.






What parents need to know

Ease of play

The app lacks an instruction screen, so kids will need some time to play around and figure out all the interactive features.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

An ad for another app appears in the parent dashboard. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

The developer's privacy policy states that the app doesn't collect personally identifiable information. Adults are asked to provide an email address for news and updates, but it's not required. The user account information is stored on the device and is not sent to the developer.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Plants by Tinybop is an interactive diorama that takes kids on a virtual journey through two biomes. Kids can explore each biome and its plant and animal life by tapping on or dragging interactive features. Kids can look at plant parts, watch seasons change, observe animal behaviors, and more. Learning is very open-ended, so kids will need to be motivated enough to explore freely on their own. There is a free handbook available on the developer's website, which includes helpful information about the app's features and discussion questions to share with kids. 

What kids can learn



  • animals
  • ecosystems
  • plants


Thinking & Reasoning

  • asking questions
  • memorization

Engagement, Approach, Support


The biomes are engaging and give kids a lot of opportunities for interaction. More instructions could help kids who struggle with open-ended exploration.    

Learning Approach

There aren't any formal games or activities. Learning is based on free exploration. Plant and animal labels help kids build basic vocabulary. 


Adults can enter and track users on the dashboard. The free, downloadable handbook is a great resource for discussion questions and more detailed information about the biomes. 

What kids can learn



  • animals
  • ecosystems
  • plants


Thinking & Reasoning

  • asking questions
  • memorization

Kids can learn about plants, animals, seasons, and general weather conditions of the desert and the temperate forest biomes. When kids tap on a plant, they can learn its name and explore some of its characteristics. For example, when kids tap on the alfalfa plant in the desert biome, the name of the plant appears on the screen above a seed buried in soil. Kids can tap on a cloud to make it rain and watch as the seed grows into an adult alfalfa plant. Kids can spin a dial to observe what happens from sunrise to sunset and how the biomes change with the seasons. This engaging, interactive resource on biomes encourages open-ended exploration, but kids won't learn a lot of details about plants.

This Learning Rating review was written by Debbie Gorrell

What's it about?

PLANTS BY TINYBOP​ is an open-ended learning tool that encourages kids to explore biomes at their own pace. On the home screen, kids tap the user icon to get started. (Adults must set up user accounts in the dashboard.) Kids can choose either the desert or the temperate forest. In each biome, kids tap and drag to explore plants and animals in their natural habitats. They also can plant seeds, make it rain, and spin a dial to observe daily cycles. Kids can drag a slider across the bottom of the screen to observe life beneath the soil. Colorful graphics and fun sound effects enhance the experience and make it engaging for kids of all ages.

Is it any good?


Plants by Tinybop is a fun way for kids to explore different biomes. It's highly interactive and has realistic yet age-appropriate illustrations. Kids will enjoy tapping and dragging to learn about plants, animals, and other features of the biomes. However, there's not much structure or formal learning progression, so some kids might feel a bit lost and unsure of what to do. Providing guidance with the help of the handbook will help with this issue, but it would be nice if the handbook were accessible directly through the app. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the biome in which they live. What are its characteristics?

  • Use the handbook's discussion questions to guide learning as kids explore each biome. 

  • Have kids create a diorama of one of the biomes they learned about. 

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:May 22, 2014
Topics:Science and nature
Size:120.00 MB
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.1.1 or later

This review of Plants by Tinybop was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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