Summer isn’t over yet and there’s still a surge in free time, which means kids, tweens and teens are at risk of whiling away their days on devices vs. connecting with each other, being active, getting outside and exploring the world around them. This is a concern for parents, and with good reason.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly one-quarter of teenagers are “constantly connected” and half describe themselves as “addicted” to their phones and tablets. Not only that, many children don’t get much fresh air or sunshine. Recent research reveals that one in two children spend an hour or less outside each day, while prison inmates log two hours daily in the great outdoors.
Fortunately—and ironically—technology offers terrific resources for creating tech balance and offline discovery—helping to prevent kids from being lost to their screens during the summer. Here are 10 great apps kid can use on their own or with family and friends to stay in discovery mode all summer long:
- Discover Balance With Screen Time. This device-management app makes it easy for parents to track, monitor and manage time kids spend on tablets and phones, establish healthy tech habits and pursue offline adventures during the summer. App features like daily time limits and task management ensure kids have plenty of time for chores, hobbies, sports, face-to-face time with friends and family and playing outdoors. Screen Time offers a free basic subscription and a premium subscription ($3.99 per month) with expanded features.
- Discover a Different Path With TrailLink: The trail-finder app is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts in search of a good hike. With features like detailed trail maps, descriptions and reviews for more than 30,000 miles of multi-use trails, TrailLink allows users to locate hiking spots, save favorites, share trails with friends, pull up driving directions as well as find restrooms and parking nearby. The app is free to download and offers paid subscription services to download detailed trail maps for offline use (three maps for $1.99, seven maps for $3.99, 15 maps for $7.99 or unlimited access for $29.99 for 12 months).
- Discover Your Limits With MapMyRun: Named among Mashable’s top 10 lifestyle iPhone apps, MapMyRun keeps track of every mile and every route for every workout. Runners—from beginners to seasoned athletes—can use the app to set fitness goals, view insights that include pace and duration for each run, track and save their most-loved paths, and even connect the app to wearable technology like Apple Watch, Fitbit and more. Plus, people of all fitness levels can share their experiences and challenge each other in MapMyRun’s community of more than 40 million users. MapMyRun has a free basic subscription and a premium subscription ($5.99 per month for a monthly subscription or $29.99 per year for an annual membership).
- Discover Your Zen With Yoga Studio: This yoga app makes working out from home—or anywhere outdoors—simple and accessible. App features like ready-made and customizable yoga and meditation video classes, class scheduling and a pose library ensure both beginner and expert yogis have the time to clear their heads and fit in a practice. Yoga Studio can be downloaded for $3.99.
- Discover DIY With Snapguide: Craving new recipes? Itching for new DIY projects or lifehacks? With Snapguide, users can create their own how-to guides and share them with each other for easy access to beauty tricks, tech tips, arts and crafts projects, recipes and more. Snapguide is free through the App Store.
- Discover the Stars With SkyView: This app turns anyone into a stargazer. SkyView allows users to discover and identify stars, constellations, galaxies and more by simply pointing their phone at the sky with the app open. The app uses the phone’s camera to spot celestial objects—day or night—and lets anyone be an amateur astronomer for a spell. SkyView offers a free version and paid version ($1.99) with expanded features.
- Discover Your Green Thumb With Garden Answers: For those who are always curious about the nature around them—or those who simply need to differentiate between a harmless leaf and poison ivy in the summer—Garden Answers helps users identify more than 20,000 flowers and plants with ease. This app makes it fun to discover new and unfamiliar plants while out and about, hiking the trail or playing in the backyard. Garden Answers is available for free.
- Discover Your Inner Chef With Yummly: It doesn’t matter what’s for dinner because Yummly makes it easier than ever to search for recipes and create grocery shopping lists. The food and drink app has more than 1 million readily available recipes for saving and allows users to search for the perfect meal by cuisine, nutrition requirements, techniques and more. Chefs of any age can also keep their diets and allergies top of mind when looking for that something special, and when they find it, it’s as easy as one click to add the ingredients to their shopping list. Yummly is free to download.
- Discover Delicious Eats With Urbanspoon: Exploring a new city or simply struggling to pick a restaurant at home? This app helps foodies, tourists and staycationers find the best dining experiences nearby. Through Urbanspoon, users can discover restaurants and compare the food choices by rating, distance and cuisine; review the menu before visiting; make reservations through OpenTable; and more. Find food fast and “eat like a local” with the free Urbanspoon app.
- Discover the Open Road With Roadtrippers: It’s all in the name—Roadtrippers makes it easy for adventurers to hit the open road, whether it’s for a cross-country escape or a weekend getaway. Use the app to find nearby diners and cafes, scenic attractions, perfect tourist stops, parks and hotels for everyone in your roadtripping crew. Other features include free travel guides with itineraries and trip planners. Roadtrippers is available for free.
About Screen Time
Screen Time is a device management app that helps parents ensure their kids are balancing their use of technology with real-life adventures and activities. Built by parents for parents and launched in 2013, Screen Time includes features such as daily time limits, a pause-and-play button, app blocking, online monitoring and more. Check it out at www.screentimelabs.com.