5 Ways To Use Your Smart Phone To Play Outdoors

"5 Ways To Use Your Smart Phone To Play Outdoors"

While technology often keeps us indoors and helps us raise plump kids throughout the year, there are a few ways we can use technology, and specifically our smart phones, to help us get our kids (and ourselves) outdoors while keeping them–and us–happy and healthy while letting them play.

Recently, I’ve discovered five cool apps that will not only help us all get out of the house, but get us active and playing as well.

So, charge up your battery and let’s go!

1. Got Kid Chaos?

App to try: Playgrounds! (KaBOOM!)

This free iPhone and Android playground finding app will help you find playgrounds in your neighborhood. This is a great app for families hunting for a new favourite playground, living in a new area, visiting family or friends, or simply looking for a play break during a road trip or outing. This app allows users to rate playgrounds or read playground ratings by other users, view photos, and even set up a playdate with others at the local park. And of course, you can add your own favourite playgrounds to the app.

2. Got Adventure Hounds?

App to try: Geocaching (C:geo app for the Android or Garmin OpenCaching for the iPhone are two of the best rated apps.)

Geocaching is an all-ages outdoor treasure hunt game that is available all over the world. You find hidden caches (containers with logbooks and sometimes trinkets to trade) using the app, your phone’s GPS and your free geocaching.com account. Almost 2 million caches have been hidden around the world and searching for ones in your local area is a great way to get outdoors and visit beautiful areas you might normally overlook. Plus, the challenge of the hunt is always a ton of fun for everyone.

3. Got Nature Nerds?

App to try: MyNature Animal Tracks

Ever wonder what animal left those tracks? Or maybe which animal just made that call? Wonder no more. When hiking or walking trails you can use this app to delight your brain with photos of animals, their tracks, range maps, vocalizations, and more.

4. Got Science Geeks?

App to try: Sky Map

Using this app, point your phone to the sky… and voila! You’ll know what you are looking at using this free app for Android and iPhones. This app displays stars, planets, moon phases, meteor showers, constellations and maybe even Santa when he flies across the night sky. It’s a great way to get kids interested in the night sky as well as get the family outdoors to enjoy that cool, crisp evening air.

5. Got History Buffs?

App to try: Historical Marker Database

If you’ve ever wondered what that old building was over there or maybe wished you had a little history info about the area you’re in, this app has got you covered. With this historical marker app you can make your day trips, road trips and outings educational by searching for nearby historical markers. Using your location, this app will find the nearest historical marker and share a tidbit of history. So not only are you getting outside, you are learning. And what could be better than that?

These five apps are a great way to use technology to lure yourself and your family outdoors this season. Why not give it a try? You just might find you’ve discovered a new hobby, get a little exercise, and reintroduce your kids to the great outdoors.

P.S. Got data on your tablet? Give these apps a try on it as well.

Jean Oram
She is a big kid at heart, mom and a writer with a manuscript of 1,001 free play ideas in need of some publisher lovin'. She blogs and shares some free play activities and ideas on her site It's All Kid's Play. She also likes to pin playful ideas, crafts, and cool experiments on Pinterest and tweet about play, jokes and other not-so-grown-up things.
Jean Oram

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