App: Plants vs Zombies

Plants vs Zombies is a very fun strategy-based game where you have to fill your garden with zombie-eating plants to protect your house from marauding hordes of undead. It’s a game that, at first, might not seem like it’s very educational, and it’s not if you just leave your child to play it on their own, but if you sit and play it with them, you’ll find it’s a great game for helping them to learn how to develop strategies to solve problems, to plan ahead, to budget and to delay gratification (a very important core life skill), all while having a lot of fun. Playing computer games with your child is also a great way to spend quality time with them while doing something they enjoy, to learn more about how they see the world, and how their brain works (by watching what strategies they come up with to solve specific problems), and to build a meaningful connection with them.

Plants vs Zombies Screen Shot 1

Basic App Information: Operating System: Android, Apple IOS; Date of Most Recent Release: May 2016 (Android); Price: Free (but there are in-app purchases for optional extras, however, these are by no means required to play the game or enjoy it); In Game Adverts: No. To download this app for Android devices, click here. To download this app for Apple IOS devices, click here.

What Age Of Child Is It Aimed At? Plants vs Zombies is suitable for most children over the age of five, and it’s still fun to play as an adult.

What Does The App Involve? The app involves filling your garden with undead-killing plants to defend your house against a pack of marauding zombies. Each plant has its own special way of killing the pesky flesh-munchers, and so has each has their own strengths and weaknesses against different types of zombies. The plants, however, are not free, and they need to be ‘purchased’ by collecting suns that either fall from the sky or are produced by sunflowers. This means that you have to plant and protect a crop of sunflowers in order by ‘buy’ the plants you need to keep your house zombie-free. At the start of each level, you get to choose which plants you’re going to play with, with new ones being added on completion of each level. A level is finished either when all the zombies are dead, or one of them has made it into your house and has eaten your brains. It all sounds a bit gruesome, but the cartoon nature of it all ensures that it’s not.

Plants vs Zombies Screen Shot 1

The aim of Plants vs Zombies is quite simple: select plants with different abilities in and grow them in different parts of your garden to stop the zombies reaching your house and eating your brains. It sounds basic, but it’s a surprisingly strategic game, especially at the higher levels, that requires some complex problem-solving, strategy-building and planning ahead to successfully complete.

What I Like About This App: This app is a lot of fun to play, but you can only successfully complete each level if you plan ahead, develop a good strategy to solve the problems presented by each level, and then implement it correctly. Each level is sufficiently challenging that it will usually take at least a couple of goes to work out a strategy to complete it successfully. In addition, there isn’t one strategy to complete each level, and instead there are many different ways, depending on exactly which plants you select to play with. This means that it encourages your child to come up with their own solution rather than simply honing in on one which has been selected in advance by the app’s creators.

As you move through the different levels, the strategies which you need to complete each level become more complex and difficult to implement successfully. In particular, a good deal of forward-thinking and planning is needed to ensure that you select just the right combination of plants to complete each specific level. In addition, since you can only purchase the plants you need to kill the zombies by saving up suns, you need to ensure that you have both the right number of sunflowers to generate enough suns, but that you don’t spend them carelessly, which is a great way to introduce your child to the basics of saving and earning money. Similarly, once you’ve purchased a particular plant, you’ll find you cannot purchase another one for a pre-specified period of time that varies from plant to plant. This means that you have to resist purchasing specific plants until just the right time, and a purchase of a key plant at the wrong time can leave you vulnerable to being over-run by zombies. This is a great way of demonstrating the need for delayed gratification to your child, and encouraging them to develop it as a core skill.

However, remember that your child will have a better chance of learning these life skills if you play the game with them, but this doesn’t mean taking over and ordering them around, but letting them make their decisions (even if you know that they’re inappropriate), and highlighting when they come up with good strategies, where they’ve made good decisions, and why, and helping them understand when a poor decision lead them to failing to complete a specific level.

What Core Life Skills Will It Help Develop? This app will help develop problem-solving and strategy-building skills, basic budgeting skills and delayed gratification skills. If you play this app alongside your child, them it will also help to develop the bond between you and encourage them to communicate with you, and in the long-term, this is extremely beneficial to their well-being and future happiness.

Plants vs Zombies Screen Shot 3

In order to be able to ‘purchase’ plants, you need to collect suns to build up your financial reserves and then budget properly to ensure you have the money to buy the best plants at the right times. If you get your budgeting wrong, you may find you don’t have the funds to purchase a plant you want when you really need it to defend yourself, and you’ll be over-run by marauding zombies!

Other Similar Apps: These type of open-ended strategy-based apps are relatively common, and if your child doesn’t like Plants vs Zombies, then there are plenty of other similar apps to choose from. Really, the key to making the most of these apps is to play them alongside your child to help them develop the core life skills which are needed to complete them successfully.

Links To Download This App

Android (Google Play): You can download Plants vs Zombies for android devices from Google Play by clicking here.

Apple IOS (iTunes): You can download Plants vs Zombies for App IOS devices from iTunes by clicking here.

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About The Author: This post was written by Colin Drysdale, the creator of How To Raise A Happy Genius.

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