Plum's Photo Hunt

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Plum's Photo Hunt App Poster Image
Fun nature missions get kids outside; safe sharing options.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn to observe nature and appreciate its beauty as they follow the missions and snap their photos. Some missions are obvious and have kids look for a leaf. Others get them making connections -- like finding an animal habitat. Still others really get them looking closely and critically -- like finding patterns. Kids will get comfortable using technology alongside nature, and they'll get to try their hand at social media, too, by sharing their photos on the safe PBS KIDS site. Plum's Photo Hunt is a fun and safe way for young nature lovers to explore.

Ease of Play

The step-by-step process guides kids to ask a parent's permission to go outside, tells them what to take a picture of, and lets them approve the photo before safely posting it on Plum's website.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Plum's Photo Hunt sends kids outside with their device to complete photo missions. Kids take pictures of assigned topics, can add characters to their pictures, and can send their photos to Plum to be posted on the PBS Kids Plum Landing website. Care has been taken to ensure kids have fun but stay safe on their photo hunts. The app instructs kids to ask a parent's permission before going outside to start their photo hunt, and cautions them not to send photos with people in them. Kids enter a nickname or first name and age and a few words about their photo when submitting. Moderators check pictures before posting to make sure no people are included. Kids are told to check back in a week to find their photo, but pictures seem to show up much more quickly and are published on the Plum Landing section of the PBS Kids site.

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What's it about?

PLUM'S PHOTO HUNT sends kids outside on photo missions to capture pictures of the nature around them. Kids can skip assignments that don't interest them and then hit "Okay" when they're ready to accept an assignment. They'll snap the picture and save it or redo it. They can also take a photo bomb picture with different Plum Landing characters. Kids can share the photos they've taken on the PBS Kids Plum Landing website very easily by entering a nickname and their age. Photos appear on the site within a few hours to a week.

Is it any good?

Plum and the other Plum Landing characters may not be familiar to kids who haven't played their games on the PBS Kids website, but that won't hinder the fun. Photo assignments include specific items likes leaves, birds, or rocks; some that are more open to interpretation like funny things outdoors and change of seasons; and some that get kids thinking critically like foods, patterns, and animal habitats. Each step is explained verbally to kids and is easy to follow. Kids can undo and redo photos if they want, and the app offers safety reminders like checking with parents before going outside and not including people in the images they submit to the website. Kids will have fun capturing the photos, and seeing their work online is pretty thrilling, too. Before photos are published, safety protocols ensure they don't include images of people. The note upon submissions says to check in a week to see the photo, but test posts showed up within a few hours -- which is a timeframe more in sync with keeping kids' excitement and interest up.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Use Plum's Photo Hunt on a hike to capture interesting finds, or take it on a walk to the mailbox to turn an ordinary event into educational fun.

  • Ask kids about the photos they've captured. Why did they choose to capture that image and how does it relate to the assigned mission?

  • Talk with kids about choosing a nickname to use online that is safe and respectful. Share some online etiquette tips with kids to help them become good digital citizens.

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