The Activity Finder from Fairfax is an app to “Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia.”
The app, which is only available on iOS, is very easy to use. You fire it up and get a map with pins displaying nearby activities. The activities are also listed at the bottom of the screen. Touching an item listing pulls up further descriptive information and links to phone or website bookings. A few of these that I tried came up with incorrect links and that reveals one of the challenges facing an app like this – keeping the underlying data accurate and current.
Overall the app is well-presented and has an interesting range of activities. It works as you’d expect.
There’s nothing I can see in the app that explains how individual activities make their way into the listings. However, the app does say the listings come from OzKidsActivities, and their site suggests they are a paid directory. Nothing wrong with that, but it would be nice to have that information more explicit in the app as it would help explain why some activities are, or are not, listed.
It also raises the obvious point that you could just go to the OzKidsActivities website for the information. While that’s true, on a quick play, the app does seem much more user-friendly than the website.
I like the fact you can filter the results by type, picking only school holiday activities for example. The missing piece, however, is really a capacity to filter for time. The map with pins approach looks great at first, but I soon realised that I have a fairly wide area that I can contemplate looking for kids activities in. It’s rare that I’m standing in a spot and think to look at what is available right beside me – especially as so much needs booking. Far more often, I’m looking for an activity in, for example, the first week of the school holidays. In the same vein, it would be useful to be able to filter by age group.
I can see this app will be a useful addition to many people’s parenting arsenal. Personally, I’m not likely to use it so much without more filters – but that may say more about my own approach than the app itself.
The app is free, although it carries advertising. Because it’s free there’s certainly no downside in getting hold of it and seeing if it works for you.
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