Awesome Apps for Outdoor Fun!

Parents these days have so much to worry about. Is there gluten in our shampoo? How do I know if my son’s been around too many Wi-Fi rays? What brand of gummy vitamins will get my child into Harvard? Figuring out how to get your kids a wee bit more Vitamin D and into the outdoors shouldn't be one of them. So, let us help make things easy for you because, you’re not going to believe this, but… we think technology will help. Read on!

We know a good dose of fresh air is good for everyone. Being outside is refreshing, and good for our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. We can soak up Vitamin D, and come together as a family for some good ol’ fashioned fun. And did you know, being outside, even in the colder winter months, can benefit our cognitive health? Researchers at the University of Michigan found that “memory performance and attention spans improved by twenty percent after people spent just an hour interacting with nature.” As if you needed more convincing to get your kids outside …

If you’re like most parents, you struggle with the tension between outside play and technology. Kids just aren’t as excited to play on the monkey bars as they are to scroll through the internet or reach the next level in their video game. But technology and outside play don’t have to be mutually exclusive, as you might know from this recent gaming phenomenon. So, here are three amazing apps that’ll help get your kids outside.

  • Geocaching: This one’s been around for a while, but if you’ve never done it, now’s the time! It’s a scavenger hunt for real items hidden in nature. It’s a GREAT way to teach navigation skills and encourage a thirst for exploration. 
  • Project Noah: This app encourages kids to discover and identify different wildlife. You can even snap a picture of a leaf and get help identifying it! When it comes to identifying poison ivy and other undesirables, Project Noah is a great addition to your app tool chest.
  • SkyView® Free – Explore the Universe: This app is especially cool if you live in an urban environment where you can’t see many stars at night. During any time of day, simply point your phone towards the sky to see stars and constellations. WAY neat! It also acts as a compass. If your kids (or you) are directionally-challenged, this will help.
  • There are a ton more ideas out there. Check out these articles from USAToday and the National Wildlife Federation.
And don’t forget – if you have the GPS feature on your children’s phones activated, you’ll be able to keep a close eye on them wherever they’re at. Or, that just might convince them to ditch the phone and play outside all on their own. Either way, it’s a win!