We did some digging on the internet and came up with some nature apps that we think look great for families with kids. This is by no means a comprehensive list but will hopefully serve as a good starting point.
Nature Identification Apps
iNaturalist is a great place to share your observations of nature. If you can’t work out what something is, there’s sure to be someone on iNaturalist who will be able to help you. You can also participate in various projects, pooling your observations with those of others (e.g. City Nature Challenge). (free, android and iOS)
Seek was developed by iNaturalist and uses image recognition software to help you identify plants and animals. Point your camera at a living thing and Seek will tell you what it is. (free, android and iOS)
Many animals are shy and hard to spot, but with iTrack Wildlife you may be able to identify them by their tracks. iTrack Basic includes the tracks of 40 common mammals, while iTrack Pro includes over 800 track photographs. ($, android and iOS)
Audubon Owls Guide, an interactive guide to North America’s 19 owl species, offers descriptions, range maps, and audio vocalizations to help you identify the owls in your neighbourhood. (free, iOS)
Audubon offers a wide variety of other nature apps, including Mammals, Birds, Wildflowers, Mushrooms, and Reptiles.
With Sky Guide/Sky Map, you can point your phone at the sky and identify stars, constellations, and satellites. Sky Guide is highly recommended for iOS ($), while Sky Map may be a better android option (free).
Nature Stories & Games
Find the Birds brings bird watching to the screen. Visit Arizona to discover its birds. Complete conservation quests to improve the birds’ habitats, and collect information cards with photos, videos, and sounds. The next geographic region to be added to the game will be British Columbia. (free, iOS and android)
Animals for Kids is a fun way for 1-4 year olds to learn the names and sounds of different animals. Bonus - you can learn the animals’ names in 7 different languages. ($, android and iOS)
Care for our World, an animated story book, incorporates an animal encyclopedia, colouring pages, and a game. You can also place animals in custom habitats. ($, iOS)
WWF Together lets you interact with endangered animals to find out how they live. You can try out “tiger vision,” flap your wings like a butterfly, and chop the panda’s bamboo. (free, iOS)
What is your family’s favorite nature app? Have you found a good app for identifying Canadian trees? Let us know and we’ll add them to the list.
Last, but definitely not least, we encourage everyone to download EcoFriendly Sask’s Nature Companion, which introduces over 300 of the trees, plants, insects, reptiles, animals, and birds found in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. Nature Companion provides short, easy-to-understand descriptions and colourful photographs along with a Did you know? section with interesting, unexpected details about each species.
We think it’s an amazing resource for children, tourists, newcomers, and curious observers who are eager to learn more about the world around them. It’s free (and ad-free) and can be downloaded directly from the Nature Companion website Help page.
Nature Companion has “been a great teaching tool for my inquisitive kid who always asks me 1000 questions including what kind of bird or tree he's looking at...it’s nice to have that info accessible and easy to find. K. gives this app a big thumbs-up as does his mom who now knows which yellow bird is always in our yard (yellow warbler!)” [Nicole]
EcoFriendly Sask supports Saskatchewan environmental initiatives through an online publication, an events calendar, small grants, and the Nature Companion website/app. You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email.