Designed not to replace, but complement the experience of the outdoors—from the park, ocean, to outer space—these apps may pique the interest of children on the world around them.
Plus: they’re all suitable for ages four and up.
A digital magnifying glass. Zoom in on subjects up to 8 times. Save zoomed in images. It may seem like a trite addition, but with this app you can gain a closer look at the patterns of leaves, the anatomy of an insect, and in the unfortunate event of getting a blister on your skin, the ability to magnify it to retrieve it!
Bonus feature: a flashlight to aid your detective eye in the dark.
MAMMALS BY TINYBOP
Parents, wait your turn. This award-winning app lets your explore the intimate worlds of animals in a way that only interactive technology can offer. What does it look like inside a kangaroo’s pouch? What color is the world when seen through a bat’s eyes? How will a tiger’s fur move when stroked? Go deeper into each mammals’ anatomy as this app peeks into their bones, babies, whiskers—even, poop! And because you’ve always been curious: interactive features show how a mammal reacts when tickled.
Like SoundHound for nature lovers. Snap a picture of a plant, flower or tree then use this app to identify the subject’s name and classification. Every time you upload an image, you contribute to building their current database of 315,000 plant and tree species. It’s a great way to expand kids’ concept of their surroundings. They’ll understand that yes, there is more than one type of orchid and each locale (from parks, gardens, to forests) means a spectrum of new things to discover.
Takes the concept of Sim City to the ocean. Here, kids can explore creating a coral reef, steering a submarine, to matching shapes to their respective sea creatures. By tapping, swiping, switching, and more, kids witness how each animal reacts to their environment and other living beings. Overall, offering a subtle glimpse of how in planet earth, each action yields a reaction. Worth noting: MarcoPolo Ocean is an “Editor’s Choice” app in 16 countries.
Now, let’s bring your attention to the sky. This app embodies “learning while playing” by taking all that is abstract about your first astrology lesson and presenting it with playful music, animated cartoons, and simple facts. Kids can explore constellations, planets, and more; so the next time they’re back in school and someone asks, “how was your weekend?” they can reply “oh, we saw Saturn.”