Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Fall 2015 Website

Plum Landing offers environmental education and activities geared toward children aged six to nine. Video episodes follow the animated adventures of Plum and the Earthlings (a collection of children), who land in various places on Earth to solve missions, learning along the way about habitats like mangrove swamps and deserts. Live-action clips show families doing activities such as building rain barrels, measuring rainfall, and planting trees. Linked games dramatize hazards such as how invasive species can drive out native wildlife, and a section for photos highlights nature photos taken by children. Tabs for parents and educators include lesson plans for hands-on activities; for example, children might learn about the water cycle by painting on tarmac with water and then watching evaporation rates.

These hands-on activities are by far the best resource offered by the site. They are sensibly organized, identifying for educators which activities can stand alone and which can be part of a series for a larger unit; and their accompanying materials include helpful ideas for leading discussions about the science concepts involved in the activities. The animated videos are somewhat informative, but not particularly compelling, and the live-action family videos, which are more interesting, are buried in the parents' section rather than easily findable on the main video page. The games do require that children have already watched the associated videos, as they reinforce rather than introduce information. For camp counselors, after-school directors, elementary science teachers, or homeschooling parents, however, the Plum Landing site offers enough helpful and creative activity ideas to be worth bookmarking in the browser.

Naomi Lesley   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Naomi Lesley taught middle and high school English for six years. She is currently in a doctoral program at the George Washington University, focusing on American young adult literature.

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