And Ye Shall Find Species
- What: Seek App
- When: Four years and up
- Why: Educational, entertaining, affordable
- Where: Amazon or iNaturalist
Have a garden full of plants springing up you’d like to identify? Want to learn more about the plants, bugs, and animals you see on your daily walk or when you take to the trails? If, like me, you can barely tell a dandelion from a raspberry, give the Seek app from iNaturalist a try.
This app, geared towards kids, identifies flora and fauna by species. Use a camera on your electronic device (phones and tablets with cameras built in work best) to take photos of the object you’d like to identify. Then the Seek app will compare your photo with others for distinguishing features, and make an educated guess at what you see. Seek doesn’t require any sort of registration and more importantly to me, doesn’t collect any user data.
My kids love this app. Anytime we have a question outdoors, we turn to the Seek app, from plants sprouting to finding out if the spider racing towards us bites people. Not only does it give us answers, but participants can earn badges and join specific challenges. For example, in the Forests Challenge, you see how many different species of trees you can locate and photograph.
Kids can join forces or compete to see who can find the most unique items. My kids also love using it on household pets and other known critters, just to see what wild animals Seek might suggest. Whether you use it to explore and learn about what grows and lives in your neck of the woods, or as a new source of entertainment, the Seek app brings knowledge and fun to young hands.