Half term is finally here - that means no more early mornings, making packed lunches, tying shoes, and rush hour traffic.
Fortunately, kids these days are pretty good at keeping themselves entertained, with a barrage of games and videos available to stream online or via consoles. The only trouble comes when it’s time for them to put down their beloved devices.
If only there were a way to harness your children’s love of tech to keep them active, educated and engaged with the world around them this half term.
Well, we’ve put together a list of augmented reality apps that might just let you and your family have the both of both words.
While this now-classic mobile app has been the source of much controversy over the last year, it’s also the first application to get kids truly excited about augmented reality.
Based on the Pokemon trading card franchise, the object of the game is to get outside and hunt for monsters using your phone. The app uses GPS tracking to generate monsters in real-life locations such as parks and local landmarks. Players can look out for pokemon on the in-app map, then walk to different locations and “catch ‘em all”.
The main benefit of the game is that it gets your kids outside and interacting with their environment. However, this does bring up some safety concerns - it’s important for kids to keep their eyes on their surroundings when crossing roads, rather than staring at the monsters on their screens!
One way around this concern is to play the game as a family - particularly if your kids don’t have their own phones yet. Your kids can use your phone to catch the Pokemon while you keep an eye on the real world. You could even turn the game into a lesson on map-reading and road safety.
Turn tantruming children into budding astronomers before bedtime with Google’s easy-to-use educational app. With enough in-depth information to keep the whole family interested, Sky Map is a winner for clear nights and camping trips.
The free app allows you to point your phone or tablet anywhere into the night sky and explore all of the stars, constellations and planets that are visible, as well as those that are obscured by cloud.
From identifying constellations such as the Plough and Orion to finding in-depth information about distant solar systems, Sky Map uses open source Google technology to create a smooth and streamlined astronomy experience.
For older kids with an interest in the extraterrestrial, this free app is the best thing since glow-in-the-dark star stickers.
There’s nothing more boring to a kid of half term holiday than a trip to the supermarket. There’s nowhere to play, there are grown-ups everywhere, and nobody will buy them the biscuits they want. But what if the aisles were full of dinosaurs?
This free app for iOS and Android adds augmented reality dinosaurs to any scene viewed through a device’s camera. That means diplodocuses roaming the local park, iguanodons terrorising the post office, and T-Rex sneaking around the back garden.
Kids will love viewing the world through a prehistoric lens, taking photographs of the dinosaurs that nobody else can see, and laughing at the grown-ups walking innocently across the path of a velociraptor.
What’s more, the app includes an educational element, displaying fact sheets about each dinosaur at the tap of a button. Your kids will enjoy hunting dinos, but you can rest assured that they’re secretly discovering facts.
There’s often a concern that too much screen time detracts from kids’ natural creativity. Free iOS and Android app Quiver changes all that, by championing the classic pastime of colouring-in while allowing kids’ own creations to take center stage.
In order to unleash the magic of Quiver, you’ll need to download the app and print some of the many free and pay-to-use colouring pages from the app’s website. Kids can then use pens and pencils to colour the pages, with their own imaginations as the only limitation.
By hovering a phone or tablet over the finished picture, however, kids can bring their images to life. The app uses 3D animation and sound effects to transform 2D images into augmented reality experiences.
The pages range from friendly characters for younger users to more challenging nature-themed pictures for older kids. Not only will children enjoy the creative aspect of the physical colouring - they can also play games with their finished characters, or complete educational quizzes on the animals they’ve helped design.
Step Buy Step
Sometimes, kids just need to let off some steam. While going for a nice walk might not seem like the most appealing idea to them, incentivising exercise with an exciting pedometer app can turn a Sunday afternoon stroll into a competitive adventure.
iOS app Step Buy Step combines pedometer technology with adorable animations and fun facts about geography. Each step your children take is measured via their mobile device, and converted into a ‘currency’ that allows players to buy animal companions.
Each animal acts as a multiplier on the number of steps taken, turning a short stroll in the real world into a cross-continental adventure in the game-world.
With interesting in-game dialogues, facts about history and geography, and added challenges for players to achieve, Step Buy Step is a brilliant motivator for kids - and adults - who need a little extra encouragement to get out of the house.
How will you keep your little ones occupied this half-term holiday? From games to movies to interactive experiences, make sure you have the home wi-fi to keep you going. Check out our superfast packages, with options to suit every need.