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Reading and learning with Tiptoi

On long car journeys, on train journeys, or simply cozily at home on the sofa – the Tiptoi interactive learning system is popular with children and parents. We explain the many functions offered by the hearing pen.

In brief

  • Reading pen with recording function
  • usable in combination with special books, games and puzzles
  • only compatible with Ravensburger products
  • for children from 2 years
  • in the starter package for 70 Euro (from 2 years) or 60 Euro (from 3 years)

What can Tiptoi be used for?

The Tiptoi is a reading or listening pen. If you tap the stylus on a picture or text in a book provided for this purpose, suitable sounds, speech or music will sound. Stories, games and toys are thus brought to life. To do this, you need to download the corresponding audio files from the Internet in advance. For the old generation of the hearing pen (for 3 years and older), you have to connect the pen to a computer to do this. With the new version of the hearing pen (for ages 2 and up), this all works via the charging station with WLAN connection; it is completely independent of the parental computer.

The levels of experience in the books or puzzles are divided into four categories:

  • When you tap on the red eye icon of the Discover layer, the pen reads texts, makes sounds, explains pictures and much more.
  • At the orange light bulb symbol of the Knowledge level, children learn exciting facts about the respective book topic. New content is retrieved again and again on a random basis.
  • In the storytelling level, which is marked with a blue speech bubble symbol, the children listen intently to short stories designed to stimulate the imagination and deepen the play experience.
  • And finally, you can tap on the green cube icon of the Games level, whose content deepens what you have learned in a playful and interactive way.

The reading pen can be used not only in combination with books, but also with games, a globe or puzzles. It is recommended for children from 2 years. Products for different age groups are offered.

The earlier devices (since 2018) for children over the age of three have an integrated microphone so that children can record their own sounds and speech. The newer device (from 2022) for children from the age of two has no microphone and therefore no recording function.

What fascinates children about it?

The multiple uses of the listening pen offer an interactive and engaging way to learn. This encourages the children to become active and to foster their curiosity. By playing with Tiptoi books and toys, children can improve their cognitive skills and develop their language, math and social skills.

Also, the listening pen allows children to discover the world around them in a new way. You can immerse yourself in a variety of topics and learn more about history, science, or geography. For example, not only is it explained what the hoot of an owl sounds like, but you can also listen to it. Even several times. The operation of the pen is simple and its use is adapted to the motor skills of a child aged from about 2 years.

The products designed specifically for children over 2 years are usually simpler. They have larger and more colorful images, as well as less text and more complex interactive features. They aim to stimulate the senses and curiosity of younger children and develop their fine motor skills.

The products for ages 4 and up are usually more complex and sophisticated in terms of interactive features and learning materials. They are often designed with more text and more challenging content to give children a deeper understanding of topics such as history, science, or math.

What does the provider think?

According to Ravensburger, Tiptoi inspires and motivates to play and learn! It is an innovative learning and creative system with which children discover the world through play. Its child-friendly design and high-quality content, as well as the wide range of possible uses, are particularly highlighted here.

With the Create recording function, the provider promises to promote your child’s language skills and self-confidence.

What should parents pay attention to?

The listening pen is only compatible with the corresponding Ravensburger products. The cost of the pen and matching books should therefore not be underestimated. The pen alone already costs about 39 euros. However, you can choose from a variety of products in different price ranges, which are also always a nice gift idea.

With the older version of the pen (for ages 3 and up), audio content can only be loaded onto the device using Tiptoi Manager, a computer program from Ravensburger. Computers and Internet access are therefore a prerequisite. The recording function cannot be used with all Tiptoi products, but only with Create products.

For more on what to consider when using family read aloud pens, check out our general post on this.

Popular games: Roblox

Building your own worlds from building blocks, taking on imaginative roles and completing exciting missions – the online game platform Roblox is currently very popular with children and young people.

In brief

  • USK age recommendation from 12 years onwards
  • Users can create their own games and use the games of other players
  • playable with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon devices and Xbox
  • mostly free of charge
  • In-app purchases

What is Roblox?

The two words Robots and Blocks together make up the name of the Roblox gaming platform. Here, virtual worlds can be created and played with in Lego style, which especially excites children and teenagers who are 14 years old and younger. Roblox is a mixture of game world and social network and is reminiscent of Minecraft.

After registering on roblox.com, players receive a pre-made game character (avatar) that they can customize as they wish. Clothes or a different hairstyle are free of charge. Some extra accessories cost money in the form of their own currency Robux. Functions such as creating games as well as playing games themselves are freely available.

What fascinates children and young people about it?

Many children love the game because they can easily create their own games. Registered users can create their own games with the “Roblox Studio” building tool and share them with others. Simple structures can be designed, but also complex worlds of experience such as cities and amusement parks. In the Roblox community, children and young people can creatively let off steam and chat with each other.

Roblox is known as a platform for young game developers and entices them to earn money with their own games: If your child creates a game that is well received by others so that they invest money in it, with a bit of luck your child will also receive a share as a developer.

What is problematic about the offer?

Because people can contact others through Roblox, there are risks such as cyberbullying, cybergrooming, and hate speech. Roblox is repeatedly accused of not sufficiently moderating both the content and the communication among users and of not being consistent enough in dealing with violations of the community guidelines.

It can be tempting for kids to invest real money in a fantasy currency or sign up for a paid membership to have more options in the game. When exchanging objects among players, cheating may occur, since not all players offer real Robux. Those hoping to make a lot of money developing their own games on Roblox will be disappointed. Roblox has been criticized for exploiting young game developers and retaining most of the profits itself.

Stiftung Warentest put the game under the microscope in 2019 and rated it “unacceptable”. Not all content is suitable for children, and the huge selection of games includes shooters that are not suitable for children. Roblox also received deductions for data protection.

What the provider says

The provider emphasizes on its platform to take security and data protection very seriously. There is a reporting system for inappropriate chat messages and a chat filter. After registration, an account in “privacy mode” is automatically created for users under 13 years of age. Younger children will not have access to social media plug-ins or some notification messages, for example. Some games are also only released from a certain age. Moderators check whether uploaded images and video material meet the requirements for child-friendly content. Inappropriate content is actively filtered and deleted. However, all of this assumes that the age information of the players is securely checked during registration.

You can find out more information on the “Parents’ guide” web page. Roblox offers several safety features that help you keep better track of your child’s play.

This is what parents should pay attention to

Register and create a profile together with your child and discover the Roblox game world together. Sit down with your child regularly to talk about his or her play experiences. Ask to see what your child looks at and plays, and ask why he likes certain games and who he connects with.

Set the account to show only age-appropriate games to your child. Use a parent PIN so that only you can change the settings. Advise your child not to share private data via the platform. Educate your child about communication risks online and encourage them to block and report suspicious or unpleasant contacts. Chat options can be limited or even disabled and age visibility can be turned off. You can also find all important steps for parental control at Roblox on medien-kindersicher.de.

Let’s play! – Fascination Let’s Play Videos

There is a new computer game on the market! But is it worth buying? Is it fun? What exactly does it look like and what tricks are there for the game? Your child might ask himself these questions when he hears about a new game. In search of answers, it first looks at a “Let’sPlay” on YouTube or Twitch at. But what is it anyway?

Translated, Let’s Play means “Let’s play!”. In these videos, players show how they play on or even completely through a video game. They film themselves and their screen at the same time. Spectators get an insight into the game and hear the comments of the players. Let’s Plays are either pre-recorded and uploaded to a video platform or broadcast as a livestream.

Why are Let’s Plays so exciting for young people?

On the one hand, children and young people find it exciting to look at a game from a different perspective and want to learn more about it.
As with other YouTube stars, it’s also about being close to the Let’s Players. Spectators can join in the excitement and experience the personal reactions of the players. The comment function on YouTube allows fans to join in the discussion and feel even more involved. Many active Let’sPlayers regularly publish their videos, which resembles a daily soap that particularly captivates young viewers. Many of the so-called streamers respond to their audience’s comments and often tell more about themselves than just about the game. Successful YouTubers who stream Let’sPlays are usually very individual. A humorous moderation and comedy-like content make her videos particularly entertaining.

Not only on the world’s largest Let’s Play platform YouTube can these gaming videos be viewed. Twitch is also used for this purpose. Here, fans can even write directly in a chat and thus communicate even more personally.

What should you look for as a parent?

These videos are especially popular with teens 13 and older, but kids as young as about 10 are starting to get excited about such videos. In Let’sPlays games from every genre and with every age rating (USK) are played. In this way, even younger people can be tempted to watch game content that is actually only approved for young people aged 16 or even 18. Many Let’s Players also show in their videos the moments they themselves find particularly exciting, which can sometimes be very violent, cruel or sexist.

Professional Let’s Players invest a lot of time in the games. They sometimes work directly with game publishers and there may be targeted product placement – even if there is no separate indication of a sponsored link. Subscriptions on Twitch or fundraising on YouTube get viewers to spend money on their favorite stars. For example, some streamers comment live when a person has donated something.

The first and safest tip here is to watch the Let’sPlays together with your child. Talk about what fascinates your son or daughter about it, but also what to look for in Let’s Plays and what can be problematic. Make your child aware of communication risks online, educate them about the business models of influencers, and find out about the age ratings of your child’s favorite games. Let’s Plays can encourage young people to become YouTubers themselves and show their own gaming hobby in Let’s Plays videos. What you can do if your child wants to act professionally on YouTube, we explain in this article.


Let’sPlays are very popular and there is a reason for that! It can be incredibly fun to watch your idols try on a new game and master tasks humorously – or not! Because the players are just young people, possibly even the same age as the spectators themselves, and that’s what makes it so fascinating.

Making media yourself: Listening projects with children

Did you know that your child can hear even before he or she is born? The ear is the first sensory organ to be formed during pregnancy.
Hearing also plays a special role in baby and toddlerhood. Babies can recognize mom’s voice at an early age. Hearing is important for perceiving the environment and learning to speak. Since young children cannot yet read, they are especially dependent on hearing. They like to be read to or listen to radio plays. As soon as children begin to speak, they narrate to themselves while playing.

Audio projects are easy to implement

Especially at kindergarten age, children can be inspired with audio media. It doesn’t always have to be movies and videos. From the age of about 3 years, you can produce small audio games together or play games with sounds. This trains accurate listening and helps to learn to speak well.

Prick up your ears when you go for a walk

With small children (about 3 years), you can just take a walk and listen carefully: What do we hear? What actually makes a noise?

On a sound safari

If your child is already a little older (from 4 years) you can go on a sound safari together. Every smartphone has a built-in microphone, and many also have an app for recording voice memos. Go outside, e.g. to the forest, collect all kinds of sounds together. When you listen to it afterwards, do you or your child recognize what the sounds were?

The own radio play

Produce your own radio play (suitable for children from approx. 4 years). Almost every child has a favorite book or story. Make a little radio play out of it together. Read the dialogues with divided roles and think about how to implement sounds. What does it sound like when it’s raining or storming outside? An overview of how you can create sounds yourself can be found here.

Listening puzzles and more

If the weather doesn’t invite you to go outside, your child can solve audio puzzles at audiyoukids.de or Planet Schule, set a story to music themselves or put together an audio play. Accompany your child in this process – especially if he or she cannot yet read. Older children (elementary school age and up) also learn to edit sound recordings here.

Also, check out the reading tips further down this page. There you will find more ideas for creative media projects and more.

Then let’s get to the ears and have fun listening and making sounds together!

K-pop, K-drama – what’s the hype about Korean pop culture all about?

Five to ten young people on one stage, colorful outfits and even more colorful hairstyles. In addition, catchy melodies, lyrics about love and life. And above all, an impeccably choreographed show. If it looks like that, it’s probably K-pop. Pop music from Korea, which has been enjoying huge success around the world for some time.

How did the K-pop phenomenon come about?

Since the 1990s, the wave of Korean pop culture was set in motion and has been growing ever since. After television productions (K-dramas), Korean music (K-pop) was increasingly exported. First in the Asian region, later to the whole world. The song ‘Gangnam Style’ by the singer ‘Psy’, for example, was one of the first Korean songs to top the international hit lists, bands like BTS got more and more presence in the international music market. Fan groups were formed, festivals were held, and international media reported. Especially in social networks, Korean stars are well known and find many fans, especially young.
Within a very short time, a real Korea hype and enthusiasm for Korean culture arose. Comics, computer games, food or fashion from South Korea received more attention than ever before.

What makes K-pop and K-drama so fascinating?

The stars of music and film offer their fans a seemingly perfect world with a high feel-good factor. The melodies and themes are catchy and indisputable, the classic themes of growing up are dealt with, emotions, love, friendship. The stars always remain politically correct and give topics with scandal potential a wide berth.

The artists themselves also always seem to do everything right. They look like works of art made flesh, deliver flawless performances during appearances or interviews, and thus serve the needs of fans excellently. Bands like BTS release several albums a year, plus merchandise of all kinds. But contact with the fans is also cultivated, there are meet-and-greets and digital lunches with the audience, behind-the-scenes videos and numerous offers that enable personal contact or at least pretend to. Add to this the exoticism of the stars, their language and culture, as perceived in Europe – and you have the perfect entertainment package.

What should parents pay attention to?

There is a large and financially strong industry behind Korean cultural products. The stars are often cast as children or teenagers and trained for years to become “perfect” entertainers. Behind the shiny facade is not only hard work, but often pressure, gagging contracts or exploitation. Parents and children should also be aware of this side of the immaculate K-pop culture. In this way, unrealistic ideas about life as an artist, but also, for example, unattainable ideals of beauty, can be questioned and illuminated.

Moreover, not all K-productions are as harmless as they sometimes seem. The series Squid Game, for example, made a name for itself primarily through brutality – and had the potential to lastingly disturb children and young people.

The same applies here: Enthusiasm for the offers with the ‘K’ is welcome, but always with the necessary critical eye.

Algospeak – the secret language on social media?

Under posts or in short videos on TikTok, Instagram & Co. they can be read more and more often: Terms in cryptic spellings, such as “Seggs” or “d1ck. If you say the words out loud to yourself, you usually know immediately what is meant. But what is it all about?

Tricking the artificial intelligence

Changing the spelling of certain words, abbreviations or inventing completely new vocabulary is used by users to circumvent the algorithm. Because the algorithm automatically removes illegal content but also terms related to porn and sex. Very special TikTok or the company behind it, ByteDance, is accused of censorship on the platform: Videos with certain content, e.g. from queer people, are suppressed.

The term Algospeak is composed of “algo”, as an abbreviation of algorithm, and “speak”, the English word for “to speak”. Algospeak is constantly changing as the platforms keep adjusting their algorithm.

The universal language on the Internet is English. Many users from Germany mix German or other languages with English online. Therefore, the algorithm cannot distinguish certain terms. For example, the English “dick” is censored, even if nothing offensive is meant by it in German. Thus, it happens that even harmless content is deleted.

How can parents deal with this?

Algospeak not only serves to circumvent possible censorship, thereby making many different voices and opinions visible. People who manipulate opinions and spread hatred can also use them to circumvent technical hurdles and laws. If you notice that Algospeak is used to disguise hate speech and insults, be sure to report such cases. Make your child aware of this feature as well.

As a parent, don’t be surprised if you come across unusual spellings on social media. This doesn’t have to mean that your child can’t spell. Get an explanation if you don’t understand something, and also explain to your child if he or she wonders about funny spellings.

So Algospeak is not a real secret language – at most for the algorithm.


Snapchat is a free messenger for sending photos and short videos. The special feature: the funny selfie with the bunny ears or similar pictures “disappear” from the recipient’s smartphone after a short time.

In a nutshell:

  • free messenger app for Android or iOS
  • Paid version with additional features: Snapchat+
  • Features: share creative pictures, videos, funny emojis and filters with friends
  • According to provider from 13 years allowed (according to DSGVO from 16 years)
  • Various contact risks, including the location function that enables tracking of one’s whereabouts

What is Snapchat?

With Snapchat, photos and short videos can be sent to contacts as messages or stories. These snaps are only visible for a certain time and “self-destruct” afterwards. The photos and videos can be edited with countless filters. With the “Memories” function, users can also save certain content. In addition to private stories from friends, there is also content from stars and brands. The “Spotlight” function also allows creative short videos to be posted in the TikTok -style. Users can be found via the so-called “Snap Codes” and via their cell phone number if this is activated in the settings. The own profile contains only pictures and videos, other personal information is not provided. With the map function “Snap Map” you can see where your contacts are at the moment.

Snapchat+ offers a few more features, but so far (as of October 2022) they are rather gimmicky, e.g. selecting different app icons for the phone screen or tagging a very best friend.

What particularly fascinates children and young people about Snapchat?

The app is one of the most popular applications among teenagers aged 13 and older. Teenagers are very fond of using Snapchat to share with their friends. For this purpose, images and videos are simply sent instead of text. The use of fun filters, videos that can be accompanied by music, and the fact that the messages disappear again after a short time is what makes the app so appealing. Snapchat seems more youthful and playful than, for example. Instagram . Communication via Snapchat seems more private to young people, as content is only shared with individuals or in groups here. On the “Snap Map”, people are represented as avatars, which is why it looks like a game.

What can be problematic about Snapchat?

All content on Snapchat doesn’t actually self-destruct, it just can’t be accessed after a certain amount of time. Theoretically, they can be recovered on the device with some technical know-how. Or a screenshot is simply taken – the sender of the image is informed about this, however. Nevertheless, it can be problematic when children and young people send very personal – perhaps even intimate – pictures and videos of themselves and these may be used against them, for example, via cyberbullying. Due to the large amount of content sent, it is difficult to control it. Children and young people should therefore know exactly how to use the reporting and blocking function. This is especially useful in the case of unwanted contact. This is one of the reasons why the “Snap Map” function should be viewed critically.

Certain content can also be problematic for young people. This includes images that are not age-appropriate as well as inappropriate advertising or snaps of brands and products.

What does the provider think?

Users must abide by the rules of the Snap platform. The use of Snapchat is allowed to teenagers from 13 years only with the permission of their parents. However, there is no technical verification of the age information.

In general, it is prohibited to distribute or advertise adult content, such as pornographic images. Minors are not allowed to post or send nude pictures or sexually provocative content of themselves. Security issues can be reported within the service’s German-language security center. It is also possible to block and report other users. So-called content managers check violations of Snapchat policies.

Snapchat collects a lot of data from its users and explains this very openly in its privacy policy – even that data is sometimes passed on to third parties. The data that you send via Snapchat is encrypted during transmission.

What should parents pay attention to?

Handysektor offers a good overview of how to use Snapchat safely. Snapchat ‘sFamily Center gives parents an overview of their child’s activities on the app. However, to connect to the child’s account, a separate Snapchat account is required.

If your child is eager to use the app, be sure to talk about potential dangers. Regulate who can see the shared content and who can’t. Go through the settings together. Explain to yours that sent images can be saved via screenshot by the recipient. It is strongly recommended that teens only add friends to their list that they actually know.

Also talk about the Snap Map function: What does making your location visible mean, what are the consequences and risks involved, and is the function even needed? Location sharing can also happen unconsciously (when opening the app). This can be prevented in the so-called “ghost mode” (Ghost Mode). It is also possible to revoke the app’s permission to access the location. If a friend of your child uses Snapchat+, special care should be taken to disable the tracking feature or block the person.

BeReal – Your friends for real

“I can’t right now – I have to do a BeReal!” It may have sounded like this or similar in your home for some time. The social media app BeReal wants to be different and inspires with its unusual concept: spontaneous snapshots from everyday life instead of staged pictures and videos. BeReal is one of the most downloaded apps in 2022.

In brief

  • Free social media photo app for Android and iOS
  • Age rating: from 12 years (no verification of the age statement)
  • Advertising-free
  • Requires registration with name, date of birth and phone number
  • Problematic: collection of personal data, lack of data encryption, handling of personal rights

How does BeReal work?

BeReal translates as “Be real!”. Once a day, users receive a request from the app to take a photo of themselves in their current situation. The exact time is unknown, varies from day to day and goes out to all users at the same time.

Within two minutes, a photo must then be taken and published simultaneously with the front and rear cameras. The two photos are displayed as picture-in-picture. Other images from the photo gallery cannot be uploaded. Within the given two minutes, you also have to decide whether the image will be shared only with your friends or publicly in the discovery feed. Once the photo is uploaded, the photos of friendly contacts are also viewable. If an image is uploaded at a later time, it will be marked “Late”. The posted recordings will automatically delete from the feed after 24 hours. On certain days, BeReal calls out special challenges.

There are no filters or image editing in the app and no videos can be recorded. Likes cannot be assigned either, and one’s follower count is not publicly visible. Instead, there’s another unusual feature: reacting to other people’s posts with emojis or so-called RealMojis. This can be used to send personalized grimaces and greetings.

Public photos can be seen at any time. Friends can be found and added via synchronization with your own contacts or by searching for usernames. Profiles from the public feed can also be added.

What excites young people about the app?

New apps are interesting for young users when they are different. That’s why BeReal is fascinating for teenagers with its new and unusual features. It’s exciting and thrilling because the push message can come at any time. Then spontaneously and under time pressure, a photo must be made – without many attempts and without filters. As long as the app is new and still unfamiliar to many adults, it is particularly attractive to young people because it can set them apart.

What can be problematic about BeReal?

From the young people’s point of view, it won’t always be easy to comply with the app’s request because they won’t be able to pull out their phones at any time while at school. For some, the pressure exerted by the push message can be uncomfortable or lead to rashly taking and posting photos in private situations. There can also be social pressure to take photos that are exciting without filters and image editing, and then receive positive comments and reactions accordingly.

When registering on BeReal, personal data such as name or telephone number are collected. In addition, the IP address is stored and data is transmitted unencrypted. If access to the user’s own address book is permitted, the app providers can also access the data of non-BeReal users without being asked. There is a block function for third-party contacts in the Android app (as of September 2022) – but not yet for iOS.

The posted photos can also show other people who were not able to look over the consequences fast enough in the unexpected photo situation and then end up in the app’s public feed. Photos can also be saved and redistributed unnoticed by others via screenshot.

Behind the app is a French company with the same name: BeReal. On its website, BeReal explains the terms of use and the handling of data (privacy policy), but only in English and French.

What should parents pay attention to?

If your child is interested in the app, you should also take a closer look at BeReal – it’s best to do this together. Talk to your child about potential communication risks associated with using the app. Agree beforehand which photos may be published there, so that your child can react consciously in the pressure situation.

The app accesses many functions of the smartphone, some of which are unfounded, such as microphone and location. Check the app permissions immediately after registration and consider together with your child which accesses are necessary and useful. It is best to set the account to private so that only people in the friends list can see the posted pictures. Discuss with your child that they should only add people as friends that they actually know.

Regularly ask about your child’s usage experience and always be responsive to problems.

Children photos on the net

Kids photos are great! They show without big words how colorful, funny, exciting and chaotic everyday life with children can be. Thanks to smartphones, beautiful moments can be captured easily and quickly and shared with family and friends. In a few seconds the cute snapshot of the baby with the first porridge on his face is over Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp shared

Cute, funny photos – often questionable from a child rights perspective

What parents find cute and share with the world can have quite unpleasant consequences for children (later). Even if you as a parent like all the photos of your child, put yourself in your child’s shoes! You probably don’t like yourself in every photo either. From the point of view of children’s rights, photos of children on the Internet are questionable, because too often they are posted without their consent. Just like adults, children have a right to privacy (Art. 16, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) and the right to their own image, and thus the freedom to decide for themselves in principle what and how much they reveal about themselves.

Do not underestimate the fact that information and images are quickly spread on the net and can be found easily and for an unlimited period of time. Although a photo is deleted from the profile or blog, the shots may continue to circulate. Others can copy, alter and redistribute them. Children’s images can be misused for pedophile purposes or unflattering images can increase the risk of cyberbullying. It is therefore all the more important that you, as adults, deal consciously and considerately with your child’s personal rights on the Internet.

But does that mean no one is allowed to post a child’s photo anymore?

No, it doesn’t have to mean that! Children are part of our society and therefore they should be visible – also in the digital world. The decisive factor is how children are portrayed: In which situations can you see your child in the photo? Can you see the face clearly? Who can see photos when you post them? If you follow a few rules, there’s nothing wrong with sharing a child’s photo while preserving your child’s privacy rights. Not to be forgotten is the child’s right to participation (Art. 12, UN CRC), which is why it is important to involve children in an age-appropriate way and obtain their consent. We have summarized specific guidance on publishing children’s photos by age group. In the links below you will find the appropriate text for your child’s age.

Tips for the dissemination of photos of babies and young children

Tips for sharing photos of children of (primary) school age

Geocaching homemade

Around the world there are millions of geocaches and many people looking for them. Some people not only search, but hide caches themselves. If you want to get creative with the family itself, here we explain how.

Not only the search for a cache is great fun. You can also hide caches yourself and come up with riddles and clues. There are hardly any limits to creativity and you don’t need much for it. Developing your own scavenger hunt is suitable for children from about eight years old. Depending on the age and interest of the child, geocaching can be linked to educational and learning content – also called educaching. In this way, knowledge is combined with fun and games. Your own does not have to be officially listed on a geocaching platform, but can also be created just for friends and family. It can lead to a treasure, a surprise and/or a riddle. It can be a single cache or a multi-part cache (multi-cache), where different stations are walked.

From the idea to your own cache

The first step is to find a topic. Content with a local connection – e.g. exciting places in your own city – is a good idea. However, topics such as the environment and forests or historical events can also be covered. It is important that it is appropriate for your child’s interests and age. Your child may also have ideas of his or her own that he or she would like to implement.

Once the topic is found, research is done to find interesting things. The smartphone camera can be used to capture possible hiding places. Then it’s on to thinking up puzzles and tasks. In a multi-cache, the stations must be placed in order and hidden at the locations. Make a note of the GPS coordinates of the hiding places. If you want to play the scavenger hunt, you will only receive the coordinates of the first station at the start. During the search, each newly discovered cache then contains the coordinates for the next track.

For your own geocache you will need the following:

  • Tins or containers for clues, puzzles, and items as appropriate.
  • GPS device or smartphone with GPS turned on (coordinates can also be searched using a map app such as Google Maps ).
  • if necessary, camera or smartphone to photograph hiding places in advance
  • Paper and pen
  • A notebook (log book)
  • Cards for hints and tips
  • Possibly small prizes for the last cache (treasure chest)

Geo- and Educaches can also be designed multimedia-based with the help of the app Actionbound. More about Educaching can be found here.

Geocaching – the modern treasure hunt

This scavenger hunt, which works with a smartphone or GPS device, is also fun for older kids and teens. Try it out and go on this special treasure hunt together with your child.

What does Geocaching mean?

Geocaching involves using a GPS receiver to find small treasures that other players have hidden in different places. These caches are located in cans or jars of different sizes. The respective GPS location is registered on a platform, e.g. geocaching.com or opencaching.de, and can be saved and retrieved via app. Whoever finds a cache enters his or her name in a so-called logbook, which is attached to the cache. After that, the can is closed again and hidden in the same place, so that the next person also has to look for it.

Geocaching is a popular hobby among adults, children and teenagers. The treasures are hidden all over the world, so even on vacation you can go in search and discover exciting places. For some geocachers, it’s all about finding as many caches as possible and signing logbooks around the world.

What is there to consider?

There are caches in different categories and sizes. All important information is in the cache description. Some caches require special equipment for the search. With puzzle caches, tasks must be solved beforehand in order to get the GPS coordinates. Depending on the cache, children as young as 4 can join the treasure hunt. Older children can already read the descriptions themselves and be more independent in their search.

Some caches are not easy to find. This can quickly frustrate children. Therefore, read the cache description carefully beforehand. Often there are still important hints in the comments of the digital logbook (under each cache description). Occasionally it happens that a cache is no longer in hiding because someone has destroyed it or taken it away.

In some caches are barter items, such as a toy figure, a coin or the like. Some items have a mission. For example, they are to get to another country or place by barter. All information is available on the geocaching platform. An important rule is that geocachers search inconspicuously so as not to draw the attention of so-called muggles to the cache. Throwing away trash or destroying the landscape is not welcomed in the geocaching community and is against the rules of geocaching.

Here’s how to go on a treasure hunt:

  • register with geocaching platform and search for suitable caches
  • Install geocaching app on (loaded) smartphone
  • Read cache descriptions well, as sometimes there are things to keep in mind during the search
  • Pack a pen and barter item if needed, put on sturdy shoes and let’s go!
  • Search for the cache with the help of the smartphone, find it and log the visit (in the can and/or on the platform/app).
  • Hide cache again (in the same place)

Digital scavenger hunt with Actionbound

Do you remember scavenger hunts from your childhood? Today, if you have a smartphone with a suitable app likeActionbound, you can add digital options to the scavenger hunt.

In a nutshell:

  • App for iOS and Android for conducting scavenger hunts, city tours and rallies.
  • no age restriction; suitable for children from approx. 10 years of age
  • free of charge for private use
  • Registration required when creating own bounds

What is Actionbound?

Actionbound can be played with family or friends, for example as a rally for a child’s birthday party or on vacation to explore a new place. Actionbound can be played alone or as a group.

WithActionbound, digital scavenger hunts – known as bounds – can be played using a tablet or smartphone. As you play, clues, puzzles, challenges, and media content appear directly on the screen. The bounds contain varied game elements such as GPS locations, QR codes and mini-games. When using the GPS, the tablet or smartphone shows the players the way by displaying a directional arrow.

Get creative yourself with Actionbound

Bounds are either created and published by other Actionbound users or you can create a new bound yourself.The app contains numerous bounds on topics such as nature, culture, leisure activities or sights. This turns a city tour into an exciting experience, for example.

Own bounds can be created on the computer via the internet browser in the Bound-Creator. This requires a free registration with Actionbound. Creating a Bound is very simple.Images, videos and audio can be integrated, quiz questions and tasks can be set and QR codes can be created. If you want to share your bound with selected people, you can choose the “secret bounds” function. Creators pay seven euros per compound (as of July 2022).

Click here to go directly to the offer:actionbound.com

What should parents pay attention to?

Actionbound can also be used with younger children. In this case, however, you should introduce your child to its use, or better yet, accompany your child in the process. When creating a Bound, be sure to use lots of images and little text.

The creation of a bound can take some time. Please also plan to spend time conducting the rally or scavenger hunt. If your child is older, it can be a fun experience to create a Bound together. Note that in the free version all bounds are public. When creating, be sparing with sensitive data such as children’s photos and personal information. If you want to make the bound very personal, the paid option “secret bounds” is worthwhile.

You can also play existing bounds with your child on many different topics. Use the search function in the app to select a suitable scavenger hunt near your location. Keep in mind that here the content is not exactly tailored to one’s needs. Check that the Bound fits your child’s age group.

Actionbound is an app from Germany, therefore your data is subject to European data protection.

Lightpainting – Colorful light paintings with the smartphone

Have you ever seen those beautiful photos where light was used to paint or write? The pictures look spectacular and can even be implemented with the smartphone.

What is Lightpainting?

Lightpainting translates as painting with light. This involves taking photos in low light conditions or in the dark. Flashlights, LED lights or sparklers can serve as additional light sources. They can be used to draw pictures or letters in the air and capture them on a photo. In the process, beautiful light paintings are created. The technique to do light painting yourself, many families have at home. Because light painting is possible with many smartphones.

Image source: unsplash.com/Brunetto Ziosi

Light painting as a family project

Light painting can be a beautiful media project with the whole family. Even small children (from about 3 years) can participate by moving light sources. Older children can learn how light painting works with a smartphone or camera. Everyone can live out their creativity together.
For such a project, all you need is a smartphone, a darkened interior (with a little experience, you can also do it outside) and a few colorful light sources. If you have a digital camera and a tripod, you can create even better light paintings. Here’s how:

  1. Check if you can set longer exposure times of about 30 seconds on your camera. With the smartphone, it is important that the camera app allows longer exposure times. If that’s not the case, there are also special camera apps available for download (e.g. B. Light Painting, free in the App Store or LightPainting by AIRC, also free for iOS but only in English or Italian; LL Cam for Android, free but with ads in the Google Play Store).
  2. If the technique fits, find a dark place (indoors or outdoors) where you have enough space to take photos. The darker the place, the better the light painting succeeds. Tip: Put on dark clothes if you don’t want to be seen in the picture, but want the painting to be in the foreground.
  3. Place the smartphone securely – either with a tripod or in a similarly stable place. If the camera or smartphone is held in the hand, the image may blur easily.
  4. With the smartphone, an exposure time of 30 seconds and the use of the self-timer is recommended. The self-timer prevents it from shaking while taking pictures. This would result in blurry photos.
  5. Now you can stand in front of the camera and paint in the dark with the selected light sources. Light sources such as sparklers, pop-up lights, LED lights, smartphone screens (there are apps for these, too), or flashlights that can change color are all possible for light painting. If you do not want to see one of the light movements on the image, you must turn off or cover the light source.

The images created during a light painting activity can be sent – printed out or via smartphone – to friends and family.

On a page of the Landesanstalt für Medien Nordrhein-Westfalen you will find a picture tutorial that is easy to understand even for children.
And you’re ready to go! Keep in mind that it takes a little practice to get great images. However, with a little patience you can take a New Year photo with sparklers and the year numbers or photo of passing cars on the highway. A night action in the summer vacations or winter indoors. Together with your child, you are sure to come up with many creative motifs!

For more on light painting and photography with kids, check out Camera Kids.

Discover nature with apps

“Look dad, a giant beetle!”, “Mom, can I eat this berry?”, “What bird is singing?”. When it comes to nature and the environment, children make many exciting discoveries. Apps can help to explore and more accurately identify animals and plants around us.

Out and about with the smartphone

Children are curious by nature and want to understand exactly what they are discovering in the world. Besides books and encyclopedias on animal and plant identification, you can also use your smartphone to discover the nature around you together! Whether flowers or butterflies, animal tracks or constellations – with the right apps, you can learn new things about animals and plants together with your child. Take advantage of your child’s joy of discovery and combine nature experience in the fresh air with. We present you four selected apps.

Determine plants

What’s blooming by the wayside? Take a picture of a flower, a stalk or a leaf while you’re out walking and find out the answer in seconds – that’s what the app Flora Incognita (Latin for “unknown plant world”) allows you to do. It is easy to use and with it children become naturalists. Thanks to a special algorithm, the app recognizes a variety of flowers, shrubs, trees and grasses and provides information about them. The discoveries can be saved in the app, giving scientists clues about the distribution of plants. “Flora Incognita” is the product of a research project of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry Jena & TU Ilmenau. The app is available free of charge and ad-free for iOS and Android devices.

More info: Flora Incognita | EN – The Flora Incognita App – Interactive Plant Identification

Recognize bird calls

“Cuckoo, cuckoo, calls from the forest!”. Birds often sit well hidden in bushes or on high trees. We don’t always see them, but can easily hear their chirping and calling. Telling the different bird calls apart is not so easy. The app BirdNET (English for “bird net”) offers assistance. With it, bird calls can be recorded and directly determined. PROFILEs give more detailed information about the feathered animals, the records are used scientifically. BirdNET is a research project of the TU Chemnitz & Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The free, ad-free app is available for both iOS and Android.

More info: BirdNET Sound ID – The easiest way to identify birds by sound. (cornell.edu)

Become part of a nature community

The app iNaturalist is a social platform that connects nature lovers worldwide in a community. Through a profile you can upload and identify photos of all kinds of animals, plants and fungi. The observations are tagged with the location and stored. This allows other users to look up what animals and plants have been spotted in the area and discuss the findings. There are an impressive number of discoveries in the free app. Nevertheless, it is clearly designed and easy to use for older children. iNaturalist is free and available for Android and for iOS.

More info: A community for nature lovers – iNaturalist

Discover the sky at night

Big Dipper, Milky Way, Polaris: that’s how familiar most people are with our night sky. Beyond that, it often already becomes difficult. The app Star Walk 2 offers the possibility to discover the stars and planets around us with the location of the camera function. By clicking on a celestial body, users can learn more about it. Using augmented reality, the app connects individual stars to form beautiful, three-dimensional constellations and accompanies the experience with atmospheric music. In-app purchases provide access to more categories such as satellites and comets. The app is free of charge and advertising in the basic version and available for Android and iOS.

More info: Easily Identify Stars at Night | Mobile Stargazing | Current Starry Sky | Star Walk

What should parents pay attention to?

  • Some apps only work with an Internet connection. In the middle of the forest or in the mountains, you may not have reception. Take photos of your discoveries and look them up together later.
  • Caution toxic! Even nature identification apps do not offer one hundred percent certainty. When in doubt, avoid touching or eating plants and animals.
  • Some apps require access to your location, smartphone camera and other features. Check which app permissions are really necessary for using the app and support your child in using data sparingly.
  • Keep in mind that some apps may allow in-app purchases. Find out exactly before installing an app and limit purchase options in the smartphone settings.
  • Together with your child, consider how you would like to organize media use in the family and how much screen time is appropriate.


Television is dead – at least if you ask the younger generation. Children and young people today watch YouTube on their cell phones or tablets. But what exactly is it?

In a nutshell:

  • World’s largest free video portal
  • Videos from professional channels, YouTubers, media and private users
  • Minimum age according to provider from 16 years (13 with parental permission), younger children: YouTube Kids
  • Caution: large amount of content and thus also the risk of videos or comments that are not age-appropriate

What is YouTube?

YouTube is currently the largest and most popular video portal in the world. Children and young people can watch countless videos on a wide range of topics and from various producers. But you can also upload your own videos, rate and comment on others’ videos, and exchange ideas with other users in the community.

What particularly fascinates children and young people about the offer?

YouTube offers something for everyone: kids and teens can find countless videos, topics and channels for all ages and interests. The content comes from all over the world, there are videos from professional channels (music videos, shows, children’s series, celebrities, successful YouTubers). But also private users download videos around computer games (e. g. B. Let’s Play videos), tutorials to follow, funny challenges and insights into their everyday life.

Many children and young people identify with YouTube stars and subscribe to channels they like. There, they watch 60-second smartphone videos on YouTube Shorts, the common 10-minute videos, or entire movies and series with a YouTube Premium subscription. Professional live streams of events take place via the YouTube Live function, but private individuals can also stream live with simple technology.

“YouTuber” is seen by some children and young people as a career aspiration and they would like to start their own video channel. Basically, it’s a great way to express yourself creatively. However, there are also some things that need to be considered. That’s why we have summarized the most important facts for you in this article:My child wants to become a YouTuber

What is problematic about the offer?

It is a worldwide user community, with a huge range of content, new videos uploaded every second and countless comments. Therefore, there is a potential risk that young people may encounter content that is not suitable for them or may even be developmentally harmful. Videos can be e.g. show violent, offensive or disturbing content, encourage risky behavior, contain hidden advertising or are simply not age-appropriate for young users. Also, the comments under the videos may contain violence, hatred, insults or harassment.

When adolescents produce their own videos, they run the risk of revealing personal information about themselves or even friends and family members. If others are seen in the video without being asked, this may constitute a violation of the right to one’s own image. Children and young people can infringe copyright when using music or other video clips.

The portal is free of charge and contains advertisements and commercial content, e.g. commercials inserted before or between videos. Sponsored content or product placements may be difficult for adolescents to recognize and see through. Caution is also advised when entering sweepstakes on YouTube.

What does the provider think?

YouTube is a subsidiary of the Google Group. Anyone who wants to upload, subscribe or comment on videos needs a Google account. The minimum age for use in Germany is 16. An exception applies if a parent has allowed their child, who is at least 13 years old, to use the service through Family Link. In principle, all minors need the permission of their parents.

YouTube educates users about appropriate content and respectful interaction with its community guidelines. The provider is basically not responsible for the content of the uploaded videos, but deletes videos that contradict the guidelines. Pornography is banned on YouTube to protect children and young people. The same applies to content that promotes self-injurious behavior or that endangers the emotional and physical well-being of minors. Certain videos are therefore only visible to logged-in users who are 18 years or older. Even though YouTube itself uses various tools to filter out inappropriate content, user feedback is also important. You have the option to report content so that it may be deleted or even prosecuted.

YouTube uses upload filters that check whether images, music or videos in them are protected by copyright when they are uploaded. YouTube is thus acting in accordance with the EU copyright reform of 2019. The video platform informs: Only those who have the permission of the rights holder may use copyrighted material.

What should parents pay attention to?

Since YouTube offers a confusing variety of videos, you should not leave your child alone with it. Accompany them in their first steps and discuss the possibility of reporting content. Let your child have their first experience on
YouTube Kids
where there is a safe framework.

If you decide your child is mature enough for the “real” YouTube, first make use of the restricted mode, which hides certain content, such as violence or nudity. Parents can activate the restricted mode to prevent their children from seeing such content as much as possible.

Be open if your child wants to produce their own videos. It’s a great way to get creative first. That said, discuss what topics and content will be in the videos. This also concerns whether and how much personal information other users might learn from them as a result. Be sure to discuss the ability to set videos to private or unlisted. This means that others can either not see these videos at all (“private”), or the videos can only be seen by those who have the link to them (“unlisted”) – they are then not displayed in the search.

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