While technology often keeps us indoors and helps us raise fat kids year-round, there are ways we can use technology, and especially our smartphones, to help us carry our kids (and ourselves) outside while keeping them–and us– happy and healthy while letting them play.
Recently, I found five cool apps that will not only help us get out of the house, but also keep us active and playing.
So, charge your batteries and let’s go!
1. Experiencing Child Mess?
Apps to try: Playgrounds! (KaBOOM!)
This free iPhone and Android theme park search app will help you find playgrounds in your neighborhood. This is a great app for families hunting for their new favorite playground, living in a new area, visiting family or friends, or simply looking for a play break during a trip or outing. The app allows users to rate parks or read park ratings by other users, view photos, and even set play dates with other people at local parks. And of course, you can add your favorite playgrounds to the app.
2. Got Adventure Hounds?
Apps to try: Geocaching (C:geo apps for Android or Garmin OpenCaching for iPhone are two of the best-rated apps.)
Geocaching is an all-ages outdoor treasure hunt game available worldwide. You find hidden caches (containers with notebooks and sometimes trinkets to trade) using apps, your phone’s GPS, and freebies geocaching.com account. Nearly 2 million caches have been hidden around the world and searching for them in your local area is a great way to get out of the house and visit beautiful areas you’d normally ignore. Plus, hunting challenges are always fun for everyone.
3. Got a Nature Nerd?
Apps to try: MyNature Animal Tracks
Ever wondered what animal left those tracks? Or maybe what animal just called? Wonder no more. While hiking or walking, you can use this app to delight your brain with photos of animals, their tracks, range maps, vocalizations and much more.
4. Have a Science Geek?
Apps to try: Sky Map
Using this app, point your phone at the sky… and voila! You’ll know what you’re looking at using this free app for Android and iPhone. The app displays stars, planets, moon phases, meteor showers, constellations and maybe even Santa Claus as he flies through the night sky. It’s a great way to get kids interested in the night sky as well as get families outdoors enjoying the cool, fresh night air.
5. Got a History Buff?
App to try: Historical Bookmarks Database
If you’ve ever wondered what old buildings were there or maybe wish you had a bit of historical info about the area you’re in, this app has got you covered. With this historical marker app, you can take educational day trips, road trips, and excursions by searching for the nearest historical marker. Using your location, the app will find nearby historical markers and share interesting historical news. So you’re not just out there, you’re also learning. And what could be better than that?
These five apps are a great way to use technology to enthrall yourself and your family in the great outdoors this season. Why not try it? You may find that you’ve found a new hobby, gotten a little exercise, and reintroduced your kids to the great outdoors.
PS Have data on your tablet? Give this app a try too.