4 Ways to Enrich Kids’ Outdoor Play

Categories: Fun, Gadgets

Unless you’re completely grid independent, technology plays an important role in your children's lives. Digital tech continues to evolve in the classroom and schools are embracing the advancements tech offers, such as limitless information, teacher freedom and adaptable learning styles.

Out of the classroom, technology can keeping your kids active this summer. Help them make the most of their time outdoors by using technology as a tool for becoming less grid-dependent and more interested in outdoor play.

Go Orienteering

Orienteering began as military training in Sweden. The term refers to covering unknown territory with the help of a map and compass. This exciting adventure sport will get your kids running, navigating, learning topographical map symbols, using a compass properly and searching for treasure.

Take orienteering to the next level by using GPS technology. Make your own course in a remote area and set up checkpoints and plant treasures along the way. If you decide to separate from your kids, supply them with an impact- and water-resistant smartphone they cannot break, like the Samsung Galaxy S7. A SatSleeve is available as an add-on to maintain a solid signal if you're in a more remote area.

Foster a Love for Nature

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. STEM activities help kids observe and interact with nature. They include exploring water and dirt, identifying rocks and flowers, and counting how many legs are on a bug. STEM has kids asking "what" instead of "why" questions.

Foster your child’s natural curiosity by going on a hike and collecting pieces of nature like leaves, acorns, flowers, rocks and bugs. Use these items to teach counting, shapes and plant identification and create hypotheses about things you encounter. Bring a magnifying glass and field microscope to get up close and personal with your findings. Your kids won’t even know how active their bodies and minds are when playing with Mother Nature’s elements.

Invoke Their Inner Meteorologist

Saying weather observation is all the rage may be a bit of an exaggeration, but observing the fluctuations in weather is a necessary skill for kids who choose to live off the grid. Through their senses, kids can see, feel, hear and smell the outdoors, and they can logically decide what to wear on a certain day.

Use a weather station to instill an interest in environmental science in your kids. These devices measure temperature, barometer, radiation levels, UV index, leaf wetness and soil moisture. A weather station can be especially handy if forced into a survival situation. It helps in gardening, building fires and making shelter as well.

Use Off-the-Grid Wearable Tech

Spark the creative imagination of your kids by using hands-on tech with the Mover Kit, a wearable that kids code themselves. The portable unit is not connected to the cloud or to any grid. It features rainbow lights that respond to movement, making an active lifestyle more fun for kids. It can be self-programmed to turn red when going south or blink two blue LEDs when running. The Kickstarter campaign for this product was an overwhelming success and the product will ship in fall 2016.

Technology isn’t just televisions and computers. It involves simple machines, digital microscopes and GPS navigation. It helps children learn through exploration and keeps kids engaged and active by enriching the outdoor experience.

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