Fun and learning at the MSU 4-H Children’s Virtual Garden

The MSU Children’s Virtual Garden web site assists parents in providing fun, and learning, in a safe environment.

Parents want to keep their children safe on the computer with appropriate web sites that can be trusted. According to Michigan State University Extension, there is an award winning children’s website that will be a family favorite for both fun and education. Children of all ages can explore the MSU 4-H Children’s Garden through their virtual tour. You can jump, spin and hop around the garden!

On the virtual tour there are panoramic photos of the theme gardens, interactive learning games, links to American Sign Language words, garden videos, “enhanced” garden features and a “Question of the Week.” Through a series of photos and questions, kids can think about a plant’s problem and solution. Then they can e-mail their answer to Dr. Norm, the virtual garden curator.

For help in understanding how to navigate the site just click on the question mark symbol. There is explanation for the panoramic view and a map of symbols with definitions. Parents and teachers can click on the red apple symbol to find helpful information about the scene. Keep your volume turned up for the buzzing bee and train whistle!

The website has a lot to offer for engaging children in a learning process by using their imagination. There are “Garden Agents” that have messages about the garden and things to look for in the scenes.

The activities are targeted for differing age ranges, beginning with two years old through adult age. Parents will enjoy being on the web site too and it’s a great way to connect with your child. We don’t know who has more fun on this website, kids or adults! The “Bug Talk Game” sends kids around looking for bugs in the garden. I laugh out loud every time I hear the Japanese Beetle, Aphid, Lacewing, Ladybug and Whitefly talking. And that’s the point; it’s fun while learning about good bugs and bad bugs in the garden.

The virtual garden web site assists parents in providing fun and learning in a safe environment. For more information, the American Academy of Pediatrics offers advice that helps parents understand how to keep their child safe on the internet.

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