It’s hard to find things to do with your kids, especially if they spend their afternoons playing on phones and tablets. But it turns out that some mobile games can actually bring your family together for outdoor adventures.
Most fun family games utilize augmented reality (AR) to build a fun gaming environment. In other words, they use the real world (through your phone’s camera, GPS, etc.) as a canvas for exploring, collecting, or solving puzzles. Many of these games are built specifically with families in mind, and they’re all free, so you don’t have to worry about paying out the nose to try a game that won’t be any fun.
Pokemon GO (iOS/Android)
Pokemon GO is one of the best (and most well-known) mobile games for families. You and your kids can spend time catching and training Pokemon in parks, suburban streets, or parking lots. And don’t worry, Pokemon GO is super accessible, even if you’ve never played a Pokemon game in your life (that’s why you see grown adults playing it alone in public).
“But wait,” you might say, “didn’t Pokemon GO come out a few years ago?” You’re not wrong, but the game’s actually better than ever. Niantic regularly updates Pokemon GO with new events, challenges, and features (like Pokemon battles), so it’s never too late to join the fun.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (iOS/Android)
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is basically a Harry Potter version of Pokemon Go. You can your kids can join a Hogwarts class, master spells, and go around town to explore famous locations from the Harry Potter series.
Wizards Unite may be more accessible to adults than Pokemon GO, and the game is regularly updated with new features, spells, and wizardry collectibles. It’s also a great way to introduce your kid to the Harry Potter books, which can turn into a great educational opportunity.
Geocaching has been popular for the past 20 years, and the game is easier to get into than ever before. It’s essentially a worldwide treasure hunt. Geocachers leave notes, trinkets, or toys in secret spots, and it’s up to you to find the hidden treasure (and plant some of your own).
You used to need special equipment to Geocache. But with the Geocaching app, anybody can get into Geocaching. Just follow the GPS instructions, and you’re good to go!
Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs (iOS Only)
Angry Birds AR brings the popular Angry Birds characters to the real world. As you might expect, it’s an AR version of the regular Angry Birds game. You get to knock down structures, fight pigs, and save eggs in 3D.
While you can technically play Angry Birds AR inside (or alone), it makes for a fun outdoor experience. You and your kids can travel around town (or just step outside the house) and take turns beating Angry Birds challenges together.
Star Walk 2: Identify Stars in the Night Sky (iOS/Android)
Star Walk 2 is an educational AR game. It allows you to see constellations, stars, planets, asteroids, and satellites just by pointing your phone at the night sky. The Star Walk 2 app can even tell you when to look out for satellites or comets—a feature that’s especially useful if you have a telescope.
Star Walk 2 is a fun learning tool, and it’s great for kids that are interested in space. And of course, you might learn something too.
Monster Park: AR Dino World (iOS/Android)
If your kid’s interested in dinosaurs, then you should check out the Monster Park app. It’s an AR camera app that allows you to add dinosaurs to any environment. You can even pose and customize your dinosaurs for photos or videos, which is great news for anyone who’s ever wanted to keep a stegosaurus for a pet.