Young children seem to be natural environmentalists: Since my daughter has been old enough to walk, she’s been picking up litter on the playground, often spending more time tossing out trash than playing. Earth Day is a perfect time to encourage children’s environmental awareness (and to gently explain that no, Earth Day is not really the Earth’s birthday).

At almost four and 15 months, gardening is one of our kids’ favorite environmentally-friendly activities. With a small and shady yard we’re mostly limited to what we can grow in pots, but last year my daughter commandeered one of our front yard flowerbeds for her carrot patch and she’s planting this year’s crop later today.

Recycling is another easy way to get kids involved, and recycler is indeed one of the most coveted daily jobs in my daughter’s preschool class. Carrying the blue bin down the hall to the office is a very tangible way for little ones to feel like they are making a difference, and enlisting kids’ help recycling at home is a natural way to reinforce the message.

Ranger Rick Jr. Appventures (for the iPad) offers another way to encourage environmental awareness with fun, educational – and ad-free! – content aimed at kids ages 4-7. With interactive animal games, videos, stories, puzzles, photos, jokes and more, this app brings the world of Ranger Rick to life.

Among the app’s highlights:

Photo Safari – a game that asks children to take photos of all the lions in Lars’ pride. (The real challenge is that kids need to get up and move—with their iPads—to find them all!)

Animal Piano – an activity that lets children make music and play songs, using the sounds made by lions, elephants, and baboons.

Animal Builder – a drawing game that has children mix and match body parts to create both realistic and silly animals.



My app tester doesn’t turn four for a few more weeks, but she loved Ranger Rick Jr. Appventures, particularly the Animal Piano and the jigsaw puzzle game. I was pleased to see that this is an app that she can grow into – the puzzle can be done in nine, 16, or 25 pieces, depending on your puzzler’s skill level.

Want to bring Ranger Rick Jr. Appventures home for your little nature lover? The DC Moms has three free codes for this fantastic app (worth $4.99 each) to give away. Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a code for this app for review purposes, but the opinions above are all mine (and my daughter’s).


Allison writes about life at home in the Maryland suburbs at Home and Never Alone.