Wasn’t the weather last weekend just stunning? A bit of sunshine can work wonders and I think almost all of us were out there in some form to make the most of us weren’t we? We had already arranged to meet friends at Fineshade Woods, which is a forestry commission forest near to where we live, and were quite pleased to be able to go there in the sunshine as we’ve only ever been on rainy or cold days before!
The biggest difference was obviously how busy it was, still we were there early enough that we managed to park and met our friends. First up was a little play on the fab play area near the visitors centre.
Then we headed off onto their newest trail, the Gruffalo trail! They had a Gruffalo trail here previously which ended with a sculpture, but I knew this one was all about the latest app, the Gruffalo Spotter, so I had downloaded it prior to arrival. We headed off down the trail and could immediately see the difference a sunny Sunday made, as it was busy! The kids loved spotting all the signs along the way even though we sometimes had to wait a bit to get close to some of them.
The app itself is based on an augmented reality. You scan some of the signs and then the characters from the book come to life on your device. It’s kinda cool… But I’m not that convinced I have to admit. On a bright sunny day it was tricky to see the screen… And we only had phones rather than a tablet which I guess may be better.
But for small children, I don’t think they really got why things were on my screen but weren’t really there. Trying to get them to pose for photos was tricky too as they were standing next to a sign and didn’t really get why. Monkey grasped it a bit but LM didn’t have a clue what was going on really! It didn’t help that it was a busy day as sometimes we had to wait to get to one of the signs, which the little ones really didn’t see the point of!
Then, the worst bit for us was that the final one, with the Gruffalo… Just didn’t work. I tried a few times and restarted the app but just nothing. I don’t think we were the only ones either so it was a shame. By that point the kids were pretty hungry anyway we easily distracted them and headed to the cafe.
I don’t think the app and the downsides detracted from our enjoyment of the trail… But actually I don’t think they enhanced it either. We all loved running around and playing in the woods and looking out for clues. The images we saw and pics we took gave us a bit of a giggle but I just think that actually for my kids at least, that they would have liked something tangible they could see, more than something on a screen. It also meant I was behind my screen a lot trying to get it to work, rather than being present and joining in the fun with them.
Like I say, we had a really lovely day. Catching up with great friends and having a fun outdoor adventure in lovely woods on a gorgeous day. I’m just not sure I’d bother with the app next time!
Have you tried the Gruffalo Spotter app? What did you think? Am I being overly negative about it or did you think the same?
We’ve done a few of the Julia Donaldson trails but not this one with the app – I can imagine with little ones it’s better to have something physical to see. Shame about the last one not working too. #countrykids
What a joy the weather was last weekend. So lovely to be able to shred the layers and enjoy that first real warm day. I bet the woods were a popular destination and it’s not hard to see why. the play areas at the Forestry Commission sites are so good and an easy use of an hour for kids. I think the new app is great with older kids, but like you I think it is lost on younger ones who would prefer to see the real thing. Still being in the woods is always good at any age. Fingers crossed for some more warm weather to come, I’m so ready for summer now.
Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids
It looks like a great day out with or without the app….The app looks very cool though. The weather looked perfect.
We have a Gruffalo trail at a forest near us but I haven’t tried it with the app yet. Having said that, my phone never seems to work properly with these things and the children always feel let down. #countrykids
It looks like a great day out – I haven’t tried the app but I am inclined to agree. I think there is no need to involve technology when you are enjoying some outdoor fun! #TheTruthAbout
That’s interesting to read about the negatives of using the app on the trail – I hadn’t thought about the fact that smaller children would find it confusing that the animals weren’t there in reality. What a shame you couldn’t get to make it work to see the Gruffalo. We loved the original Gruffalo trail and I was hoping to do the new Gruffalo Spotter one over the holidays but it’s not yet available at the forest near where my nieces live, although it is available at some woods which are more local to us. I think reading your review, we’ll hold off until the girls can go with their cousins as I think the older ones will appreciate it more. Glad to hear that Monkey and LM enjoyed their walk in the woods even if the app didn’t enhance it in any way. #countrykids
I really wanted to visit a Gruffalo trail but we dont have one near us =(
This looks like an amazing trip made more fun with the spotter app!
There is one of these trails near us but we are yet to try it yet. I am not sure M would stand and pose if he couldn’t see what he was posing with. But it still looks like you had lots of fun. #Countrykids
I’ve been meaning to look into this as I keep seeing posts popping up. But to be honest I’m more of a wooden model person and have loved the old fashioned trails and so think my opinion will probably be the same as yours! #CountryKids
Sounds like the app creators were trying to recreate something like Pokemon Go? I bet if your kids were Pokemon Go fans they might have been less confused.
This reminds me of the whereigos in geocaching. I too prefer physical objects and to be present for my little ones. #CountryKids
Mm the app does sound a bit surplus to requirements! Just so lovely to get out in the sunshine though wasn’t it? 🙂 Thanks for linking to #thetruthabout this week X
I haven’t tried the Gruffalo spotter app. I don’t think Cygnet would get it and we spend enough time as it is on the ipad. I often take Cygnet to the woods and tell him that we are looking for the Gruffalo. I even took him to the David Hockney exhibition at the Tate Gallery and told him that I could see the Gruffalo in the trees of one of Hockney’s paintings. It was great. We looked at the painting for ages. Pen x #TheTruthAbout
Interesting isn’t it, how technology is supposed to enhance our experiences but when you’re outdoors there’s nothing better than just running around and finding your own way and making your own fun! I’m with you, I think if we were out I’d want mine to spend time enjoying what they’re doing not fussing about an app!
But it looks and sounds like you had a great time and what glorious weather you’ve had!
Popping across from #Countrykides – sorry for the late commenting, we were away for a week
I’m not too sure I could convince TJ that there was something there when there wasn’t but we do enjoy a Julia Donaldson trail. When we lived in London, we used to visit Thorndon Country Park where the Gruffalo characters we actually carved into the trees or free standing. Glad you had a nice time and thanks for sharing #countrykids