Augmented Reality tools for children – A guide for parents

The History of Augmented/Virtual Reality

The first-ever Augmented Reality machine was built in 1992 by Louis Rosenberg at the USAF Armstrong’s Research Lab. It is called Virtual Fixtures, a robotic system designed to compensate for the lack of processing speeds in the 90s.

But the history doesn’t start there, we need to go back to 1968 (yes really) where a guy named Ivan Sutherland designed a head-mounted display, kind of like a window into the virtual world. This never took flight though as it was deemed impractical for mass use.

Myron Krueger created an interface that would allow users to interact with virtual objects in real-time. He did this in 1975 and he called it “Videoplace”.

In 1980, “Wearable Computing” came to be by Steve Mann

After all these interesting inventions, Jaron Lanier in 1989 coined the phrase Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality was first introduced in 1990 by Thomas P Caudell

In the year 2000, The first game that was released using AR was called ARQuake. Developed by Bruce Thomas.

That’s the history of VR/AR. The rest you surely know, like Google Glass or Virtual Reality headsets.

How can Augmented Reality tools help your children?

AR technology isn’t just designed for games. I don’t blame you if you thought so as I did too for a while. But after doing decent research on the topic I found out Augmented Reality can do so much more than games. With AR technology, you can do things from viewing the entire body in detail to bringing dinosaurs to life. From solving scientific problems to seeing Mars in your living room.

So can’t I just read a book? Well…

Imagine a normal pen. Now take that pen and combine it with multiple other pens in different colours. This is basically what AR technology can do in your children’s educational environment. It brings many different and unique tools to your child without having to run around and purchase 10s of different physical products for one lesson/activity.

With AR, your kids won’t even know that they’re learning, because it is so much fun!

What equipment is needed for Augmented Reality?

All you will need is a phone or a tablet with a camera. I’m sure most of us have one of those. There are a couple of products I have in mind that is perfect for educational purposes.


How do you teach kids STEM with Augmented Reality?

It’s fairly simple and straightforward, using a tool that comes with all the educational information you and your child needs to learn. You can only go with AR, the tools I will be talking about includes educational information, if you want to test that out or if you wish, you can complement it with a book or two!

3 interesting Augmented Reality tools for children!

Orboot Mars

Like the Orboot Mars Augmented Reality Globe, using this technology you can use the camera on your phone and bring a mars rover to life and read interesting facts about it. You can also play games and learn about all the Mars missions. Using this interesting tool your child can learn valuable life skills such as scientific reasoning, problem solving and perseverance.

Oh and Rocket Science.

Read more about it here Orboot Mars

Orboot Earth

There’s more than cool space things, you can use these tools to learn about the world we live in. Using the Orboot Earth tool you can bring the earth to life and view interesting facts and listen to stories that will teach your children about the whole world.

Learn about…

  • Animals
  • Cultures
  • Monuments
  • Inventions
  • Maps

You will be able to view these things in 3D with your camera(which is the point of Augmented Reality).

As with the other one and the next ones, there is a free app you can download which will enable you to do this. (you still need the globes though which is NOT free)

Read more about it and view pictures here Orboot Earth

Orboot Dinos

If your child is absolutely in love with dinosaurs then this tool is perfect. You will learn about all kinds of dinosaurs and where they lived. Comes with games and stories which will keep your children’s attention. While exploring the globe as it once was while dinos ruled the earth your child will develop their scientific thinking, perseverance and attention to detail.

As said, it is an Augmented Reality tool so all this is in 3D using your phone. Also comes with a free app that you download.

Read more & view pictures Orboot Dinos

Some extra info before you go!

What is augmented reality in simple words?

Augmented Reality allows you to view objects in 3D through a camera. Like a Horse, a House, The Earth and anything designed for that purpose.

Is AR safe for kids?

Yes, it is very safe. As safe as viewing a youtube video(assuming it’s a child-safe video). Using AR technology as an educational tool will only bring positivity to your child’s development. But… Don’t replace AR for your children’s daily exercise. AR is only used while being relatively still.

What are the three tools of augmented reality?

A phone or a tablet

The tool itself, like the globes from above.

Your hands

What are the examples of augmented reality?

There is a cool feature in Google Search where if you search for example “wolf”, you can view a wolf in 3D(AR). To do this follow these easy steps.


  1. Google “wolf” on a compatible device (worked on my iPhone 8)
  2. Search results about Wolfs will show up, scroll a little down until you see “Meet a life-sized timber wolf up close” and press the button that says “View in 3D”
  3. Try something else! I tried “Dinosaur” and I was able to view a Tyrannosaurus in 3D.


Good luck with your Augmented Reality adventures! I hope you decide to introduce this to your kids as it’s a really fun tool to use while simultaneously learning something new. Feel free to comment on your experience below and share with anyone you think might be interested in this cool tech!

If you have tried AR to teach your children about something, feel free to share your experience!


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