Mangroovin’ and Digging It

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With retro naming, Plum Landing recently launched two deeper dives into our enviro-sci curriculum with a brace of new HTML5 games. MANGROOVIN’ is set in the mangroves of Belize and places kids in the role of a baby grouper fish, finding safe haven in the mangrove roots from sharks and diving herons. In CAN YOU DIG IT?, set in the Australian desert, a bilby searches at night for food while avoiding predators like dingos, foxes, and swooping eagles.

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Thanks to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for funding and to the Plum team for its work.

Badges to Get Families Outside

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Plum Landing’s brand new Outdoor Adventures feature just launched. It offers kids a choice of 12 outdoor missions which they draw and describe for publication on the site.

Every submission wins a custom digital badge for its creator and each logged-in user can save their image and their badges.

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The site launched a couple of days ago and already has had nearly 2,000 submissions.

The drawings are completed with the newly updated version of out HTML5 drawing tool.

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The badging team includes Melissa, Bill, Tara, Dan, Kit, Stefan, Sylvia and Marisa.

Parent’s Choice Silver for Plum’s App

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Review:

Plum’s Photo Hunt is a PBS Kids app that challenges children to get outside and observe the world around them. A series of “Photo Missions” send children out with a camera-equipped mobile device to look for life under rocks, insects and spiders, signs of a change of seasons, something dry, water, or a wide range of other things to experience in nature. For more fun, kids can add characters from Plum Landing to their photos, and when they take a special picture they can send it to Plum from the app for inclusion on the Plum Landing website. The app is intuitive to use and provides the inspiration many of us (kids and adults alike!) may need to start exploring.

Plum’s Photo Hunt encourages creativity, inviting children to see things they never thought to look for before. The developers have taken pains to protect privacy; parents will still need to offer oversight to make sure that their children submit nothing inappropriate, but PBS promises that anything they shouldn’t see (children’s faces, addresses, identifying information, etc.) will be deleted on receipt. The website accompanying the app can offer reassurance on this front, as a gallery of hundreds of photos from children bears out this promise — it is full only of other kids’ successes and motivation for more adventures.

4-Star Review for Plum’s Photo App

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Great review from Common Sense Media who road-tested our app, checked on our safety & privacy work and followed through all the way to seeing their photos on our site.

From their review:

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.