The summer months are a great time for kids to explore new places and enjoy the great outdoors. Playing outside is important for developing problem-solving skills, improving gross motor skills, getting that daily dose of Vitamin D, and more. That doesn't mean technology and the outdoors can't go together. Here are a few ways to integrate technology into outside learning and fun. Teachers can use these ideas in summer learning camps, share the list with parents, or file them away for back-to-school.
Have kids make a movie trailer about a trip or adventure in a matter of minutes using pictures and video stored on an iPad, iPhone, or MacBook. Kids can also plan the activities they'd like to do on a trip and make a trailer to advertise their idea or persuade someone to take that trip with them. The possibilities in this app are endless!
Social Scavenger can be used to create different challenges where teams have to take photos, make videos, add stickers, answer trivia, type text, or use QR codes. It saves the progress of each team in real time. You could make this as simple or elaborate as you'd like, from a scavenger hunt in the yard to exploring a new city or school building. Social Scavenger is available for the Web and as an app. Pricing depends on the size of the group.
Geoaching is an outdoor treasure hunt using GPS-enabled devices. Kids look for certain GPS coordinates to find a geocache container hidden at a particular location. Several websites and apps are available, including a free trial version, Geocaching Intro. Kids and adults will get really excited when they find a hidden cache! If you want to set up something for free, you could hide treasures on the school grounds, then give students the GPS coordinates to start their search.
Have students plan a road trip, mapping out where they should stop and how long it will take; they can even play with the features to figure out how long it would take if they walked to their destination. Kids can use Google Maps to explore a new city, learning about attractions by clicking through to informational websites. Another great feature of Google Maps is the list of upcoming events and quick facts about attractions.
Of course, leave time this summer for device-free days, too. Some days, the best thing you can do is to put your devices away (adults included!) and enjoy the longer days, relaxation, and extra sunshine that summer brings to many of us.