8 Fun Apps to Get the Whole Family Exploring the Outdoors
Being in a modern family can feel very isolating. When both parents and children are tapping, swiping, and staring at the screens of their devices, it’s easy to worry about the loss of quality time with family.
Maybe you remember spending all day playing outside as a kid, riding bikes and exploring nature. Perhaps you recall more trips to the park when you were growing up and you want to do those things with your family now.
The good news is tablets and smartphones can help to create family time that brings everyone together. Use these eight mobile apps to get your family spending time together outside in the fresh air.
1. Geocaching App Network
Geocaching is an outdoor hobby that brings together people all over the world. Use the Geocaching app to find hidden treasures or “caches” near you. When you find the cache, leave it where it is so others can find it in the future, update your logbook, and then go online to share your experience. Kids and adults alike love the satisfaction that comes from participating in this real-world global treasure hunt.
Let your kids hold the phone as you get closer and closer to the cache you’re tracking down. Sometimes, there are even toys and trinkets they can take when they also leave a small treasure behind.
Watch this video to learn more:
2. ARrrrrgh Augmented Reality
ARrrrrgh is a pirate-themed augmented reality game that allows kids (or big kids) to find treasure. Players follow the map, aided by a friendly parrot, to find their imaginary loot.
Augmented Reality technology superimposes images of treasure onto real locations, whether that’s your living room carpet or the forest floor. Players can then tap to collect the treasure and rack up in-game gold. This game is sure to spark plenty of pirate-themed jokes and allow everyone to have fun together.
3. Agents of Discovery
Agents of Discovery is a mission-based learning game perfect for families that enjoy taking road trips across the USA.
Many spectacular outdoor locations in North America, including monuments and National Parks, have missions available to play. Simply download the app and search for missions near you. Each mission contains challenges that players must complete in order to succeed. If you are feeling creative, you can even make your own missions for your own or other families to enjoy.
4. Night Sky
Night Sky is a stargazing app that could inspire the budding astronomers in your family to learn more about space. When users point their device at the night sky, they will see constellations and other useful information on the screen.
Enjoy a virtual tour of the solar system, find out where the International Space Station is right now, and learn to recognize the constellations visible in your part of the world. This app is sure to get the whole family feeling enthusiastic about stargazing. Pack a thermos of hot chocolate, some blankets, and plenty of warm clothes. Then, head out on a clear night to discover the wonders of the night sky.
5. Map of Life
Map of Life is a global field guide to the animals you spot on your family outings. Use the app to identify insects, birds, and mammals you see while out and about and find out more about each species.
Finally, you will be able to answer questions from your kids about what unusual bugs are called. You can even support conservation efforts in your area by recording your sightings in the app.
Like Map of Life, PlantSnap acts as a field guide to local biodiversity, but its focus is on plants rather than animals. This app’s comprehensive database can help you identify plants, flowers, and trees.
The app is extremely easy to use; all you need to do is snap a picture of the flower or plant you want to identify and the app will suggest species that could match. It’s the perfect way to find out what a particular plant is called so you can recognize it in the future or find it in your local garden center.
Bird enthusiasts will love the BirdsEye app, which can identify birds based on their appearance and plumage. The app will let you know which birds are most common in your area, and will even guide you to birding hotspots so you can maximize your chance of spotting them.
If you spot a rare breed, the BirdsEye app will let you know about it, and you can record your sighting to let others know that an interesting species of bird is living nearby. Download this app and start planning your next family birdwatching trip.
GooseChase is an app that makes organizing and running scavenger hunts easy. Create your own hunt using the app and then set your family the challenge of completing it within a specified time period. Players will have to check in at certain locations using the GPS on their devices, ensuring that they get out and about in the fresh air.
This app puts you in charge: you can give bonus points for cool photos and videos taken during the hunt, increasing the fun for everyone involved.
Watch this video to learn more:
Bringing Balance to Your Home
All eight of these apps can help your family spend time outdoors when the weather is right, but there are other ways technology creates more family time.
TechDen™ is an easy to use parenting tool designed to help families start discussions around screen time and create a balance between devices and offline interactions. It combines a useful mobile app with storage and charging stations for a unique solution designed to create harmony at home.