Truth be told, there are no botanists in our family able to teach our kids plant science. We also don’t have the patience to take books out in nature and study features to identify plant life. With Google Lens on the other hand, a whole new world has opened up expanding our horizon about plant biology!
It couldn’t be easier to use Google Lens. All you need to do is to point your phone camera towards the object you want to identify, and voila! – a suggestion pops up for what you’re looking at. As long as you have a fairly good internet connection at least – we have struggled to get results when out in the wild.
In this case, Google Lens told us we were looking at Paper Birch, which is native to North America. This is actually Silver Birch, so not entirely accurate.
Google Lens told us European horse-chestnut. We’re happy with that!
Plants we identified with Google Lens
Creating a leaf book
After coming back from our local woodlands, we press the leaves between books before using transparent adhesive contact-paper attaching them to our leaf-book! As the proper researchers we are, we note down A) the name of the plant species, B) date and C) place found.
As an activity for kids, we found this to be a nice way of combining learning and play as well as nature and digital. Except for when the mobile signal strength was weak, this worked like a charm!
Other ways to use Google Lens
- Translate text: Just point your mobile camera towards the text, and Google Lens will start to translate in real-time. Just brilliant when travelling abroad trying to figure out train times at the station!
- Copy text: Direct your mobile camera towards the text, and copy it to your phone! Great when reading an interesting article in a newspaper or magazine that you would like to save digitally for later.
- Find your favourite design: If you see clothes that you like, just point your phone camera at it and you will get suggestions for similar outfits. Also works for other things than clothes, like furniture and home decor.
- Search places near you: Point your mobile camera towards buildings and landmarks to get historical facts and opening-hours! Perhaps a useful tool exploring London with kids?
British Trees from Woodland Trust
We have also tried the app “British Trees” from the Woodland Trust to identify trees. This app takes you through a number of guides identifying the tree based on different features like the leaf, bud, flower, bark, fruit etc. We found it to be a bit tricky to use at first, having to go back and forth a few times before getting it right. And you often end up with more than 10 possible matches, which can make it hard to conclude.
It does however work in offline mode, and it has an extensive library of facts and photos which makes it a very handy companion. Especially when going hiking in nature with limited mobile network coverage.
Looking for more activities for kids? Check our post with 100+ activities for kids bored at home!