PBS Kids: Plum Landing

Common Sense Media says

Explore nature with cute alien Plum on info-packed PBS site.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Games congratulate kids with positive messages like, "Great job" and "Terrific photo!"

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The site links to an online store that sells PBS show merchandise. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Kids can submit images to the site through a free app, online form, or by creating a drawing in the Nature Sketchpad game. Photos may be posted to Plum Landing's Facebook page or Tumblr blog, but the submission methods are generally safe -- kids only have to provide a first name or nickname and age -- and the app tells them not to submit photos with people in them.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this science education site starring a plum-shaped alien and her human friends provides videos, games, and activity suggestions that parents and kids can do together to learn about nature and ecosystems. Kids don't have to register to play the site's nine games, unless they want to save the points they earn, which can be used to collect digital plant and animal profile picture stickers. Registration involves entering a username, keying in a randomly generated password, and picking a picture-based secret code.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading
  • using supporting evidence

Science

  • animals
  • ecosystems
  • plants

Arts

  • drawing
  • photography

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • part-whole relationships

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Kids can upload photos, and characters present facts and challenges. However, there are basically three identical types of games, tailored to each environment. Likewise, kids can watch a fair amount of videos -- but won't find an endless selection.

Learning Approach

Scientific concepts are presented in a clear, interesting way, and characters express admirable excitement about nature. Games feature detailed instructions and facts; activities seem to cram in as much learning as possible.

Support

Parents can view a few science activity ideas in English and Spanish; but there aren't too many. Educator activities and resources, which tie in to the Next Generation Science Standards developed by teachers from 26 states, are also available. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading
  • using supporting evidence

Science

  • animals
  • ecosystems
  • plants

Arts

  • drawing
  • photography

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • part-whole relationships

Kids can learn about science, nature, and the environment. The site content focuses on exploration and will help kids understand ecosystems and sustainability, including food chains and how plants and animals exist in their natural habitat. Characters' travels also provide some geography information. Because kids can send photos and drawings to the site, they may also get some artistic experience and be able to express themselves. Kids won't find unlimited things to watch or do -- they may burn through the site content after a few viewings -- but Plum Landing deserves kudos for the level of detail it offers, particularly in site games.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Brereton

What's it about?

Plum Landing, based on the PBS Kids show, features Plum, from Planet Blorb, whose spaceship has crashed on earth. Plum's unbridled enthusiasm for nature is clear in site activities, which transport users to exotic locales. Kids can play games that involve identifying plants and animals and helping them grow in their natural environment; view animated and live-action videos, and get science-based activity ideas. Site content is geared toward 6- to 9-year-olds; the site also features science-related curriculum for after-school programs.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

PLUM LANDING, like several other PBS Kids sites, features videos, show information, and a few games. The content isn't too diverse -- in games, kids snap photos of animals and plants, maintain an ecosystem, or draw, and some contain repetitive elements; videos center on several general locales, including the desert, jungle, and mountains. 

However, the site does a good job of conveying a significant amount of scientific information. Most video clips are a kid-friendly length -- typically less than five minutes -- and demonstrate theories well. Live-action segments, for example, involve environmental adventures like kids creating models that show how desert plans retain water and cleaning up trash to protect natural waterways. Some videos also illustrate concepts with kids' drawings. 

Games offer detailed instructions, an impressive number of levels, and frequent animal and ecosystem facts. The narrator repeatedly pauses to explain potentially unfamiliar terms, and kids can repeat rounds, if they'd like to improve their performance. The amount of info and continued emphasis on kids learning-- not just seeing -- new facts about nature elevates Plum Landing beyond just a TV show's companion website.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can discuss sending photos to a website or posting them online. Plum Landing won't publish pictures with people in them. What privacy concerns might be involved with a site posting images of you or other people who happen to be nearby?

  • Users only have to submit a first name or nickname and age when they send an image. What other kinds of information -- like your e-mail address -- should kids be wary of sending when submitting something to a site for publication?

  •  

  • The site does a great job of explaining and illustrating how animal and plant ecosystems work. But how do we fit in the picture? Ask your child to identify three ways humans influence the food chain and environment.

  •  

Website details

Genre:Educational
Topics:Adventures, Science and nature, Space and aliens, Wild animals
Pricing structure:Free

This review of PBS Kids: Plum Landing 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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Quality

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, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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