We know our kids should spend more time outdoors in the warmer months, but sometimes it’s hard. It can feel like pulling teeth to get them to get off their devices to spend some time in nature. After all, teens may spend as much as nine hours a day looking at screens, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. But, nature for kids who love electronics can feel boring and pointless. After all, they argue, technology is the future, it’s where it’s at! However, technology doesn’t feed the soul and in fact, can be soulless. If we want our children to gain the benefits of the outdoors, we have to get creative about enticing them to get out there!
How to Approach Nature for Kids Who Love Electronics
Use an app
One way to do nature for kids who love electronics is to integrate the tech with the non-tech. Why not use a geocaching, scavenger hunt, or photography challenge phone app? The app generates the hunts and challenges. Then, you enter your finds into the app. Some have prizes or level up opportunities, too. A few apps even generate hunts based on your location. Some examples include: Let’s Roam, Adventure Lab, or Geocaching. Again, I have not personally tried all of these, so please use parental discretion. Here are some other ideas on outdoor games using your device.
Augmented Reality Games
I am not a fan of Pokemon, but they certainly reignited interest in the game when they launched Pokemon Go back in 2016. It is a perfect example of an augmented reality (AR) game, though. For the first time, players could see the game’s characters in their own real lives. However, Pokemon Go is not the only game offering AR. Some other possibilities include: Ingress, Zombies: Run!, or Harry Potter: Wizards Unite! I recommend parental discretion with these games as some may not be appropriate for young children or may have adult themes. All of these games encourage interacting with your environment, running, walking, and generally, getting more active. Some also encourage community, much like the old Dungeons and Dragons.
Other Ideas for About Nature for Kids Who Love Electronics
What about a plant identification challenge? They can use a plant ID app and their phone’s camera to complete the challenge. Or, how about using an active cam to record their daring adventures for a YouTube channel livestream? Another idea is re-enacting favorite outdoor movie scenes. Not exactly techy, but it does draw from pop culture. For example, the movie Hunger Games inspired some of my older daughter’s friends to do some survival training. They also decided to learn some old-fashioned combat skills. They used what they learned to re-enact movie scenes, but along the way, they spent a lot of time outdoors, too. So, sometimes nature for kids can be more of backdrop or setting for larger pursuits rather than an object of learning. But, it still gets them outdoors, right? And isn’t that part of the point?
Want some help with a plant identification challenge? Need some ideas to make it fun and memorable? Check out this book of 20 ideas for learning 30 plants. Some of the plants are pretty common, but many aren’t. And, even if you know the plants, the ideas are good for learning lots of additional plants and other things, like science vocabulary. Check it out!
Name That Plant!$6.99