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Using Technology to Get Kids Outdoors

Submitted by on April 26, 2017 – 6:59 pmNo Comment

Using Technology to Get Kids Outdoors

Combining Outdoor Play with Technology to Get Kids Outdoors

Getting kids outdoors can be a struggle in today’s world of tablets, TVs, cell phones, iPods and other gadgets. Here are a few tips on using technology to get kids excited about outdoor play.

  • Nature Scavenger Hunt: In the “notes” section of any device, create a list of items (stick, stone, leaves, flowers) that children will find outdoors. Kids can use the camera function to take a photo of each item found.
    • Preschoolers: Keep it simple with the number of items.
    • Young School Agers: Make the list a bit longer and add in a few “tricky” items, such as an “object that looks like a letter in your name.”
    • Older School Agers: Consider widening the search area to a neighbor’s yard or park, or allowing them to create a list of their own for a sibling/friend.
  • Explore Nature Day or Night:
    • Daytime: At your local park or nature preserve, look for animal tracks and use the” iTrack Wildlife” app to identify them. The Lite version is free and allows you to identify up to 5 species.
    • Nighttime: Use “The Night Sky” app ($0.99) to identify planets and constellations. Both apps are fairly intuitive so even young children will be successful with adult support.
  • Fitness Fun:
    • The Fit List: Challenge children with the “workout of the day’”– a list of outdoor activities can range from “6 times down the slide, 3 tries at hula hooping, and one game of hopscotch” for younger kids and get more elaborate for older children (shooting hoops, rollerblading backwards, or practicing new yoga poses). Children have to use the camera or video option to record evidence that the challenge is complete.
    • Family Fitness Challenge: Make fitness a family affair! Based on your child’s interests and abilities, consider using Pedometer, Couch to 5K, or RunKeeper to meet your activity goals.
  • Creativity in Art:
    • Put a modern twist on the artist with his sketchpad by installing a free painting app like “Doodle Buddy.” Bring your tablet to the park, the waterfront, or just the backyard and challenge kids to paint what they see (or whatever inspires them).
    • Challenge older kids with a contest. One person or team “paints” 3-5 images of things they see and the other team has to find (and take photos) of those actual objects. Repeat and the team with the most correct photos in the shortest time wins.
    • Have children use sidewalk chalk to create large, life-size scenery, then lay down on the ground to insert themselves into the scene.  Need inspiration? This article has some great examples.
    • Children can make comics by taking photos of your neighborhood or an excursion, then use those images to make comics using “Strip Design” or another kid-friendly app.

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