Apps That Inspire Kids to Play Outside

Finding the balance between on- and offscreen activities can be tricky, but who says they can't go hand-in-hand? Give your smartphone or tablet a workout while you and the kids head outside for some healthy, tech-infused fun. Apps designed for outdoor adventures let kids do everything from creating creatures to identifying constellations. Plus, there are plenty of educational opportunities for all ages. And, of course, there are play-together games like Pokémon GO, virtual treasure hunts, and fitness inspiration. So grab your device and head outside armed with these amazing tools. And also try our Best Health Apps and Games for Kids.

Nature Cat's Great Outdoors Poster Image
APP

Nature Cat's Great Outdoors

age 5+

Multitool TV tie-in for capturing outdoor adventures.

Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire (2016)
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Plum's Creaturizer Poster Image
APP

Plum's Creaturizer

age 5+

Make creatures and take pics outside for fantastic fun.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android (2015)
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ARrrrrgh Poster Image
APP

ARrrrrgh

age 7+

Dig up AR treasure with friends in fun hide-and-find game.

Devices: iPhone, iPad (2017)
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Plum's Photo Hunt Poster Image
APP

Plum's Photo Hunt

age 7+

Fun nature missions get kids outside; safe sharing options.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad (2014)
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Audubon Birds - A Field Guide to North American Birds Poster Image
APP

Audubon Birds - A Field Guide to North American Birds

age 8+

Invaluable reference tool for North American bird-watchers.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire (2010)
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The Night Sky Poster Image
APP

The Night Sky

age 8+

Easy-to-use stargazing tool shines in its accessibility.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire (2012)
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Star Chart Poster Image
APP

Star Chart

age 8+

A great way to explore the skies -- just point your phone.

Devices: Android (2011)
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Powerful Plants Poster Image
APP

Powerful Plants

age 8+

Snappy tool brings companion book's plant pictures to life.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android (2015)
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Star Walk - 5 Star Astronomy Guide Poster Image
APP

Star Walk - 5 Star Astronomy Guide

age 8+

In-depth, detailed, and beautiful astronomy app.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad (2012)
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PlantSnap Plant Identification Poster Image
APP

PlantSnap Plant Identification

age 9+

Take pics to (mostly) identify flowers and plants.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android (2018)
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Agents of Discovery Poster Image
APP

Agents of Discovery

age 10+

Cool location-based missions for visits to special sites.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android (2017)
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SkyView - Explore the Universe Poster Image
APP

SkyView - Explore the Universe

age 9+

Astronomy app uses location to explain your view of the sky.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad (2013)
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Birds PRO HD - NATURE MOBILE Poster Image
APP

Birds PRO HD - NATURE MOBILE

age 10+

Encyclopedia of hundreds of high-res photos and basic facts.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad (2011)
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Project Noah Poster Image
APP

Project Noah

age 10+

Share nature photos and help research, but watch privacy.

Devices: Android, Kindle Fire (2012)
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Rockd Poster Image
APP

Rockd

age 10+

Geologists go social in high-level interactive reference.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android (2019)
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Google Earth Poster Image
APP

Google Earth

age 12+

Must-see geographic exploration tool; watch for iffy videos.

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Ingress Prime Poster Image
APP

Ingress Prime

age 12+

Changes to augmented reality game aren't fully for the best.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android (2018)
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Virtual Geocaching - Xnote Poster Image
APP

Virtual Geocaching - Xnote

age 12+

Send personalized, virtual treasure hunts to any smartphone.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad (2015)
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Charge Running Poster Image
APP

Charge Running

age 13+

Live remote runs encourage fitness; best used indoors.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch (2017)
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Charity Miles - Running & Walking Distance Tracker Poster Image
APP

Charity Miles - Running & Walking Distance Tracker

age 13+

Help charities through walking, running, and biking.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android (2016)
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