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Inside the New Nature Passport App

The team at Nature Play WA is excited to introduce you to our newest tool in the movement to get kids outdoors: the Nature Passport app. Yes, you read that right - an app.

As an organisation that's passionate about getting kids into unstructured, outdoor play, the irony of creating a mobile application to do the trick isn’t lost on us. However, our children are growing up in a world infused with technology, and it isn’t realistic (or fair) to ask them to opt out completely.

The Nature Passport app is designed as a tool to help families and schools replace kids’ sedentary screen-time with playing, exploring and learning outdoors.

Nature Passport was created by two non-profits: IslandWood in Washington, United States and Nature Play Western Australia. The app is based on the successful, “Passport to an Amazing Childhood” paper-based program in Australia that has reached more than 600,000 families, and uses technology as a tool for connecting families and schools with the natural world across the globe.

Here’s an insider’s look at the app’s features…

Observe, create, move, think and collaborate.

The Nature Passport app guides you through a series of amazing outdoor adventures. Get stuck into our base of 60+ outdoor activities, with new, themed “packs” of content being added by the Nature Passport team (and partner organisations) every few weeks.

Many of the starter activities help facilitate simple but essential childhood experiences: rolling down a hill, climbing a tree, and hunting for bugs - to name a few. Dive deeper and you’ll discover innovative nature-based games, crafty projects, simple experiments, and loads of fresh inspiration for outdoor play.

There are already five themed packs available in the app, with more on the way. The “Backyard Adventure” pack will have you digging for worms, making chalk drawings on the pavement and blowing bubbles in your backyard (or the nearest outdoor space you feel connected to). Meanwhile, “Hone Your Senses” leads you on an exploration of nature through smell, sight, sound, taste and touch.

The step-by-step format is easy to follow, and activities are designed so that users spend only a fraction of their outdoor session looking at the screen. Along the way, you’ll collect badges as you complete activities, and record photos, audio, and notes in your digital journal.

Engage with the natural world and real-life scientists.

The Safari section of the app taps into one of the world’s largest citizen science projects (iNaturalist), allowing users to submit animal sightings to be identified by a network of real-life naturalists. Develop observation and stealth skills as you go “hunting” for new species in the wild, and contribute your discoveries to citizen science.

Trust us, there’s a special feeling of satisfaction when your animal sighting is identified and added to your collection. It’s like real-life Pokémon Go!

Bookmarks, teams, avatars and filters.

Finally, we’ve put lots of thought into creating the best possible user experience for both families and schools. You can add family, friends or students as teammates, complete activities together, and generate fun usernames and avatars. Activities can be bookmarked for easy access, and filters help you to search activities by environment, duration, ability level and more.

One final piece of advice…

Nature Passport is designed to jumpstart an outdoor experience. But don’t be surprised if the fun of being out in nature together takes over. When it does, don’t hesitate to put your phone away and enjoy some device-free time.

Download the FREE Nature Passport App

You can download the Nature Passport app for free on both the App Store and Google Play Store.

Visit the website at www.naturepassport.org, where you’ll find lots of useful information for families and teachers on how best to use Nature Passport

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