In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to share with you 7 fun, free apps to help get you and your kids connected to nature. Turn your next backyard stroll or nature hike into a learning adventure with these great resources!
Trailhead The North Face Trailhead app is a great tool for locating hiking trails and bike routes. This app is able to track your route, distance, speed and elevation in real-time and includes an interactive map.
NatureFind Unlike Trailhead, this app will direct you to more than just trails. NatureFind will locate parks, zoos, botanical gardens, nature centers, natural history museums, trails, nature events and wildlife refuges. Photos, descriptions and interactive maps are also included.
TreeBook This app is a guide to 100 of the most common trees in North America. It includes photos, hand-drawn images, range maps and descriptions of each tree. This is a great tool that would come in handy in the back yard or on a nature walk. We have used it with the boys and it has been pretty helpful and educational.
LeafSnap This leaf identification app is an excellent tool to have on the go. This electronic field guide uses visual recognition software to help identify trees based on images you take of leaves. This app also contains images of leaves, flowers, fruit seeds and bark. At this time, it only encompasses trees of the Northeast, but will soon include trees from the entire US.
Backyard Scat and Tracks This app is a fun guide that will help you recognize the common critters you may see in the back yard or on a hike. My kids love this one and it is very simple to use.
BirdWatch The BirdWatch app makes a great tool for your young backyard explorers. Although this in not a comprehensive guide to bird-watching, it is a great beginner’s tool. It includes both audio and images for 43 different bird species. My kids like to listen to the bird calls and browse through the images even when indoors. (If you are looking for a nice, comprehensive bird-watching guide, check out iBird Backyard Plus for $0.99.)
SkyView Free This app is a really neat tool for viewing the natural world that hangs over our heads. I first learned about this app from iGame Mom. With the help of your camera aimed at the sky, you can tap on what you see to find out more about your object of interest. This app helps you to find stars, constellations and satellites, too. I am really excited about trying this app, but every time I’ve tried to use it, it’s been too cloudy or raining! I’m actually hoping to try it out tonight.
If you have any more suggestions for free nature apps, leave me a comment and tell me all about it!
And of course, don’t forget to put the iPhone down and connect with nature on a more personal, or shall we say leaping, level….
Happy Earth Day!