Best Outdoor Apps For Kids [Updated for 2020]

There is fun and sunshine if you wonder outside

We Reviewed Dozens Of The Best Outdoor Apps For Kids So You Don’t Have To. Here Are Our Top Picks.

No matter what season of the year, there are tons of great reasons to get outside. Coax your family out into the great outdoors to make some momentous memories. Here are some apps that might help! These are our best picks for informative, educational outdoorsy apps. Enjoy!

Distant Suns (Max)

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Next time you are out under the stars, take this app along with you. Just point the screen to the sky and get set for learning. Distant Suns pulls the best of your device’s capabilities to create a star map in the palm of your hand and gives added information when you tap each item.

One of the neatest features of this night-sky app is that it uses special lighting to preserve your night vision. You can learn about the things you see in the sky above, and also what’s out in that direction even farther than you can see. The app incorporates info from NASA, weather satellites, and more.  It’s just $4.99 on the App Store and $5.99 on Google Play.

 

Wildflower ID USA Photo Recognition

iOS App Store

Ever wonder what  you are seeing as you wander the great outdoors? This app lets you snap a photo of the unfamiliar wildflower or plant and will instantly fill in the gaps in your knowledge. This particular app is focused on plants of the North Eastern United States, but companion apps exist for all areas of the US, as well as for trees, birds, and many other topics. They are all powered by Sunbird Field Guides, so you know the pictures are accurate as well as gorgeous.

The app costs $4.99 and includes thousands of images of 333 different species, so you can identify your mystery plant in any season or stage. It also shows the entire plant: leaves, flowers, stem and all. This will also help you learn to recognize it wherever you may find it.

Fieldstone Guide: Butterflies

iOS App Store

From the creators of the National Audubon Society guides and the National Wildlife Federation guides, this gorgeously photographed guide will help you distinguish between swallowtails and all of those fritillaries.  Search by common names or scientific ones, using the keyboard or a vocal search system. You can search by color, size, habitat, area, and other parameters. And simply touch the screen to enlarge the photos to glorious detail.

The app is easy to use and includes entries about the butterflies’ habits, feeding, life cycle, and more. It has journal and photo upload capabilities, so you’ll never lose track of the finds from each trip.

 

Outdoor Family Fun with Plum

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

From our friends at PBS, here’s a great free app that will get your whole family involved with outdoor missions. Spun off from the favorite show, Plum’s Landing, this app offers over 150 missions to get the whole group outside doing some learning. Missions involve observing and learning about the world around us. Players can earn badges, unlock surprises, and more, so the developers have managed to “gamify” outdoor time. Sometimes that’s all the incentive needed!

The app is completely free to use, and includes tons of tips to help parents make the most of outside time with the kiddoes. And since it’s from PBSKids, you know the info is reliable and the activities are sound.

Seedling Scavenger Bingo

iOS App Store

Seedling Scavenger Bingo is a great pastime for kids and adults alike. The app makes photo scavenger hunts a breeze! There are 6 ready to play games included with the free app. They cover oodles of common areas like the city, the supermarket, the house and the backyard. Keep playing and unlock even more games as well as other goodies as in-app purchases.

One of the best features is the capability to set up your own hunt. Since you are in charge, you can personalize it down to the letter for the players. The app also connects with Apple Watch to keep tabs on the timer, and can be played with friends and neighbors with their own devices by connecting over bluetooth or wi-fi.

 

Nature Passport

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

This app offers dozens of outdoor activity ideas suitable for all ages, for families, youth organizations, and classes.  The activities can be filtered by a number of different attributes, including difficulty level, environment, and more. Nature Passport is set up to support citizen scientist activities by offering a handy journal built right in.

The app’s Safari mode will encourage budding outdoorsmen to observe their area closely and to note their observations in their journals. The app is free to use, but includes an in-app purchase to sync other accounts and to get access to a handy field guide.

 

Virtual Geocaching – Xnote

iOS App Store

Get your techie children outside by making their devices an integral part of the experience. Virtual Geocaching picks up where real geocaching leaves off! The app allows users to create personalized scavenger hunts for any number of players. In addition to listing the usual hunt items, you can hide virtual messages, greeting cards, and other digital goodies anywhere in the world. Players will need to be on their toes, use their GPS and map skills, and more to get all the way through this game.

Best of all, anyone can play! Set up your note, card, photo or other digital treasure, then invite friends and family to enjoy. They won’t need the app, but can play right from their browsers on any device with GPS and data enabled.