Each summer, my kids love to monitor the growth of our backyard garden and keep an eye out for rabbits and deer. This year, we’re also watching flora and fauna on the Plants app — the latest release from TinyBop, maker of the Human Body app that we raved about last fall.

With gorgeous illustrations from French illustrator Marie Caudry, roaming badgers and jerboas, and subtle, natural sounds like birds singing and breezes blowing, it’s lovely just to observe the desert and forest scenes — especially as night falls and the sun rises. As time passes, the phases of the moon and the seasons change too.

You can also get interactive with the various plants and help them grow by making the clouds rain on the alfalfa, the sun shine on the date palm, or the bloodroot bloom so that the bee can help pollinate. Slide the vertical bar across the screen to look at what’s happening underground. Pinch zoom to enlarge the finer details, and slide your finger around the screen to see where that deer has wandered off to now. Doesn’t that sound like perfection?


Forest biome on Plants app | Cool Mom Tech

Date Palm detail on Plants app | Cool Mom Tech

While it’s not an educational app in a traditional sense with cell diagrams or wordy discussion of life cycles , the Plants app allows kids to explore on their own which may be even more effective. Plus, it’s absolutely charming for both kids and adults.

Bonus: in Plants, no late-June hail storms will ravage my tomatoes.

Download the Plants app for iOS on the App Store. It’s $1.99, which includes the next two biomes — tundra and grasslands — when they’re released.