There are thousands of apps and accessories that can help you get more pleasure out of your camping trips. These technologies can help make camping safer and less expensive. But, how about some apps that are just for fun. Here are some apps of both the low and high tech variety that can enhance your appreciation of the outdoors and a few that are just pure fun.
How About Some Travel Games?
Do you travel with children? Kids seem to begin asking, “are we there, yet” before the car wheels are completely off the driveway. Things may be easier today because many kids have personal DVD players and handheld computers with a variety of games. But DVDs and video games only go so far. Here are a couple of very low tech games that can be played by the entire family while driving. These games are simple. There is nothing to buy, just play.
The Billboard Game. This is a fun pastime for children, reading age on up. You start with the letter “A”, and the players watch the billboards until they see a word with the letter “A” in it. We played that the letter we were looking for had to be the first letter of the word, but feel free to play it however it is fun for you.
You are driving along and Jimmy sees a sign for The Apple Tree Inn. Jimmy calls out, “Apple”. Jimmy’s score is one. Now, Jimmy and the rest are looking for something that starts with “B”. Games like these help take the kid’s focus off of the length of the trip and also provide laughs. Many enduring family memories can be made while driving along the highway.
Here is a version of the Billboard Game that can be enjoyed by younger children who have not yet learned to read. You start by naming a picture that is likely to be seen while driving. For example, someone can call out “hamburger”, a fairly common sighting. When someone sees a hamburger on a billboard, they call it out. Then that person gets to call out the next picture to be found. Players should be encouraged to name pictures commonly seen along the highway.
The License Plate Game. This game can be enjoyed by people aged 8 on up. It’s very simple. You watch the cars
go by and identify the state of that car by its license plate. The first person who sees the plate, calls it out. That then becomes his or her state. The object of the game is to get the most states. A car goes by and Suzzi calls out, “Pennsylvania!” You check and yes, the car has Pennsylvania plates. Suzzi then has “Pennsylvania” for the rest of the game. Other cars with Pennsylvania plates may go by, but Suzzi has Pennsylvania. The winner’s prize can range from bragging rights to getting to select the next game.
Then, Include Some Fun Apps
There are dozens of apps that can enhance your camping trips. There are apps that will help you gain an appreciation of your surroundings. Apps that help you identify and learn about the wildlife you may encounter in the location where you are staying. Are you a birdwatcher? There is an app to help you identify the birds in the place you are visiting. There are apps to fill you in on the local history and apps that will lead you to an area’s “hidden gems,” You can accent your trip with a unique find.
Look! Up in the Sky!
Camping away from the city, on a clear night, you can see the wonderful array of stars that light up the sky. GoSkyWatch is an app that greatly enhances stargazing. With GoSkyWatch, you can activate the app and point your iPhone to the sky and the app shows you whatever stars and constellations at which you may be pointing your phone.
There are sky maps showing the position of the planets. You can use the app to learn which celestial object will be visible on a given night, the time it can be viewed, and where in the sky to look. This app can help your kids learn about and identify the constellations. GoSkyWatch can be downloaded for US $3.99. It is available for the iPhone only as of this writing.
As long as you are looking up, There is also GoSatWatch, From the same folks that gave us GoSkyWatch. With GoSatWatch you can determine if the object you see in the sky is a star or a satellite. The app gives real-time satellite tracking. With it you can determine which satellites you may be able to see from your present location. The app even gives the estimated time of iridium flares. You can even have the app alert you when satellites are due to pass over. GoSatWatch sells for US $9.99 and is presently available for the iPhone.
History Here is an award-winning app from the History Channel. The app is free to download and is available for IPhone, IWatch, and Android devices.
I have this app and it’s easy to use. What it does is show you nearby places of historical interest. History Here provides maps for driving or walking to places you may wish to go, The app includes a tour feature providing curated tours listed by city and type of tour. For instance, you can take a Music History Tour of Nashville, or a Civil War Tour while in Atlanta.
There is a “Surprise Me” feature. Press the button and you are presented with a random place of interest. I tried this ans was shown a park some 800 miles from my present location. Interesting but not very practical.
The History Channel is continuing to update this app adding new points of interest.
Want to Sing Along?
Singing around the campfire is a time-honored tradition. Campfire Songs from ScoutApps.net is an app with 175 campfire song lyrics and their tunes. The app is available for IOS systems and is free to download. There is in-app purchasing if you want to remove the ads.
There are lots of games that are easy to pack and play. Look for games without too many small pieces. The game pieces can always
be kept together in a zip lock bag when traveling. Select games that will appeal to the age groups present.
Don’t forget a deck of playing cards, or two. A deck of cards takes up a very little space. There are dozens of games you can play with a deck of cards. It is an ideal thing to have handy should rain keep you inside.
So, Have Fun.
There is no limit to the number of apps, games, entertainments that can provide hours of fun while camping. So, how about you? Do you know any improvisational games you can play while riding along? How about a board game that is easy to carry along and play? What apps have you found to enhance the pure fun of camping? I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a comment.