Summer Nature Apps for Kids
By Tracey Dowdy
School may be out for summer vacation, but that doesn’t mean learning needs to stop. These apps combine the best of technology with real-world adventures and are guaranteed to get your kids excited about the great outdoors!
The Little Bug
The Little Bug is an interactive storybook that takes kids on an adventure in their own backyard. Its user-friendly interface is designed with kids in mind so they can jump ahead to favorite scenes, read to themselves or listen to narration. The story includes 100 interactive touch-points, a Discussion Guide in the parent’s section and downloadable activities at thelittlebugapp.com. ($2.99 – iOS/Android – Ages 3+)
Star Walk for Kids: Learning Astronomy and Space
Star Walk for Kids is the perfect way to introduce kids to astronomy. Its design is simple and very user-friendly, with no time limits or structure so kids can explore at their own pace. Using videos and cartoon animation, Star Walk teaches kids to recognize constellations, planets and even introduces them to basic astrophysics. Perhaps best of all, by using your phone’s GPS, kids can point their device at the sky to learn what constellations are directly above them. ($2.99 – iOS/Android – Ages 3+)
Ocean Forests combines a book, an unstructured exploration video, and an interactive game to enable kids to explore an underwater ecosystem. The book offers three options: read it yourself, read by a narrator, or record yourself reading. Words can be tapped for definitions. In the exploration section, users “swim” through a kelp forest and watch as sea creatures swim by. Swiping left or right allows kids to look around and pinching zooms in or out and tapping the flashlight icon highlights plants and animals that can be tapped for more information. There are two games – one multiple choice and the other a card matching game. (Free – iOS/Android – Ages 5+)
Audubon Bird Guide: North America
The Audubon Bird Guide is a comprehensive guide with information on size, appearance, habitat, and the behavior of 808 species of North American birds. The app includes migration maps, 8 hours of bird calls and sounds, and 3200 images so users can search and identify birds by shape, region and color. Create lists, log your sightings, and share information and photos with a community of amateur and professional ornithologists. (Free – iOS/Android/Google Play – Ages 5+)
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.