Free Apps: Summer Exploring

No need for phones and tablets to isolate the kids as they play by themselves, hunkered down in a dark room. Try these free apps to get the kids outside, enhance your summer outings, and inspire some togetherness.

Field Trip (iOS, Android) by Google, Inc.

Field Trip runs in the background on your device and uses GPS location data to alert you when you’re near an interesting place — from popular restaurants to historical markers. Cards pop up with information about the spot and links to other sites for more details. The default selects all sources, so the number of cards popping up can be overwhelming, especially in certain parts of town. Just take a few minutes to deselect what you don’t care to read about and focus on your family’s interests. Topics are Architecture; Historic Places & Events; Lifestyle; Offers & Deals; Food, Drinks & Fun; Cool & Unique, and Arts & Museums.
Plum’s Photo Hunt (iOS) by PBS Kids
Plum’s Photo Hunt lets kids look at the world through a different lens — the camera. They’ll get mission, like take a photo of signs of animal life, and then head off to find and photograph their assignment. Some missions are pretty specific (take a picture of clouds) while others give kids some leeway for artistic interpretation (amazing things in nature). Kids have the option of adding a photobomb cartoon character to their pictures. They can also submit photos via the app to the Plum’s Landing page on the PBS Kids web site as long as no people appear in the images (for safety reasons.)


DIY Sun Science (iOS) by The Lawrence Hall of Science, funded by NASA
Learn more about the sun with information and activities. Some activities will take you outside; others will be done indoors with some supplies needed (nothing too hard to dig up.) It includes a dozen activities to help kids understand the science behind the sun.
Star Chart (iOS and Android)
Star Chart lets kids stargaze anytime, night or day. They just point the device at the sky and see an augmented reality image of the constellations at the place in the sky. See a cool object in the sky and wonder if it is star or a planet? Point the device and Star Chart will identify it for you. It’s free, but in-app purchases of additional charts are available.

This summer, Amanda Bindel will share with us biweekly lists of free apps to enhance summer fun. Amanda is an Austin mom of two girls and reviews apps for Common Sense Media. Follow her on Twitter to read about more apps she recommends.

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