Starting with Soil

App review by
Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Media
Starting with Soil App Poster Image
Resource about organic food best for fluent readers.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about organic food and why it's healthy. Heavy focus on soil formation and the importance of using organic soil to grow plants. Interactive activities teach kids about the processes that form soil, the amount of time it takes for soil to form, the things that plants need to grow, and much more. Videos show how plants that bear fruits and vegetables grow and bloom.

Ease of Play

Instructions are clear and interactive elements are a snap to use.  

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

An easily accessible page takes users out of the app to sponsor sites.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Starting with Soil is an app that teaches kids about the importance of soil for growing plants that provide us with healthy foods. Kids can explore a variety of topics, including soil composition, plant growth, composting, organic food, soil organisms, and more. There's a lot of text to read, but the interactive screens help break it up. There are soothing background nature sounds, but none of the text is narrated, so kids need to be fluent readers if they want to explore the app independently. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

To begin STARTING WITH SOIL, kids choose from four content segments: The Origins of Organic Soil, Life Underground, Where and How Organic Food is Grown, and Composting and What Families Can Do. Kids tap on a segment and a list of topics displays. Then they simply tap and swipe through pages of content. Most pages have a graphic, and many of the graphics are interactive or animated.

Is it any good?

This content-packed resource is a great way to sparks kids' interest in organic foods, but only fluent readers will fully benefit from the experience. Information is presented in a kid-friendly manner, and there are plenty of opportunities for kids to interact by tapping or swiping. Colorful animations and videos bring the content to life. However, for a resource that requires a significant amount of reading, it's surprising that a voice-over option does not exist. Also, it would be nice if there were more activities available for kids to apply what they've learned. Despite these shortcomings, Starting with Soil is a unique resource, especially for kids who might not have access to seeing where their food comes from.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of making healthy food choices and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables every day. What does Starting with Soil teach you about where food comes from? What did you already know, what did you learn, and what do you still wonder?

  • Read the suggestions in the segment "Composting and What Families Can Do." If possible, start a compost pile or grow a small garden at home. Even growing a single plant and eating its fruits or vegetables can have a huge impact on kids.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Subjects: Science: plants
  • Skills: Health & Fitness: balanced diet
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: March 27, 2017
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 275.00 MB
  • Publisher: Whole Kids Foundation
  • Version: 1.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later
  • Last updated: September 10, 2017

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