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6 neat ways to ramp up outdoor fun

As much as we want our kids to have lo-fi, unplugged fun this summer, there’s no denying that you can amplify your summer activities with some well-curated apps.

Ditch the field guide (heavy) and the maps (impossible to fold). All you need to crush your summer bucket list is your smart phone or iPad. These apps offer some cool opportunities for fun family frolics in the sunshine or low key night time stargazing.

Go get ’em!

ibird Backyard Plus

Bird watch like an expert explorer! You can identify 283 species of birds, take awesome pictures, and attract feathered friends your way by playing bird songs. Now there’s no need to take time to thumb through an oversized manual to find a bird.

Available for: iPad, iPhone, Android



Project Noah

This app lets you use your phone as a butterfly net, terrarium, or firefly jar. Snap a picture of any local organism you find and want to learn more about — reptile, plant, mammal, fish, etc, and send it in, and you’ll get an identification sent back to you in 24 hours.

Available for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad.

Camp and Hike Checklist

Take some tips from a list of suggested items for the best camping or hiking trip ever. Then you can build your own personal list and set quantities, weights and priority levels for each item. You can share your list with others. Planning is half the fun, right?

Available for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

Trophy Room

Is there any better triumph than catching an epic fish? This app lets you log your whole family’s catches quickly and efficiently, and sort them by location, date and weight. You can also share them Facebook or email, just in case no one believes your fisherman’s stories.

Available for: iPhone and iPad

Sky Safari 3

All you need to do to stargaze like an astronaut is hold your phone up to any star in the sky — this app will identify it for you using NASA spacecraft imagery. You can also see 46 000 stars, 220 galaxies and asteroids and comets any time to up to 100 years in the past or future. Totally far out.

Available for: iPad and iPhone

Classic Camping Cookbook and Meal Planner

From camp site to boat, you can plan your whole trip’s menu. Find the perfect meal based on food type, category and ingredients, then make shopping lists and rank your faves. Get deliciously organized.

Available for: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad

Photo by incase via Flickr. 

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