15 Apps and Sites for Augmented Reality

Hands of a woman using augmented reality on a high tech transparent digital tablet
(Image credit: iStock/Giulio Fornasar)

Why should teachers integrate augmented reality (AR) apps and sites into their curricula? With manipulable 3D visuals, augmented reality apps and sites inject a wow factor into any subject, increasing kids’ engagement and enthusiasm for learning.  In addition, recent research suggests that AR can foster greater empathy in users. Many of these AR apps and sites are free or inexpensive. 

 iOS and Android AR Apps

  1. 3DBear AR
    This super-creative AR design app offers lesson plans, challenges, 3D models, social media sharing, and 3D printing capability. The 3DBear website provides video tutorials, curriculum, and distance learning resources for educators. Great for PBL, design and computational thinking. Free and paid plans, with 30-day free trial.  iOS   Android 

  2. Civilisations AR
    Based on the BBC Two art history program Civilisations, the Civilisations AR app helps users explore masterpieces from ancient Egypt to the Renaissance. Themes -- including faith, progress, and the human body -- are illuminated through the investigation of the featured 41 artifacts. This research tool can ignite kids’ interest in history, art, or science. Free. iOS Android  

  3. Quiver - 3D Coloring App
    Quiver turns a special coloring book into a 3D augmented reality experience. Users print AR-enabled blank coloring sheets through the app or the website, then color each with crayons, colored pencils, or oil pastels. Activate the quiver app to bring the pages to life. Free app, free and paid coloring packs. iOS  Android 

  4. PopAR World Map
    Explore the wonders of the world, from wild animals to international culture to historic landmarks. Features include 360-degree view (VR mode), interactive gameplay, and 3D models. Free. iOS Android 

  5. SkyView® Explore the Universe
    One of the most popular AR astronomy apps,  SkyView® Explore the Universe makes it easy to identify galaxies, stars, constellations, planets, and satellites in the night sky, while the AR mode allows users to spot objects day or night. Great for out-of-the-way places, as no WiFi, data signal, or GPS is required. Try the Time Travel setting to see the sky of ancient and future ages. $1.99. iOS  Android  From the same developer, the similar SkyView® Lite is free.

  6. CyberChase Shape Quest! 
    Based on the PBS Kids math show CyberChase, CyberChase Shape Quest! combines games, puzzles and 3D augmented reality to practice geometry and spatial memory skills. Three different games and 80 puzzles provide lots of variety and skill levels. Free. iOS Android 

iOS AR Apps

  1. Augment
    A simple app for viewing 3D AR models. Users upload their own 3D models and can manipulate each one in various ways with the app. Augment works well for design-related subjects and presentations; resources are available for students and teachers to get started.  Free. 

  2. East of the Rockies
    A beautiful story app from the National Film Board of Canada. Written by acclaimed author Joy Kogawa, this interactive tale follows the journey of a Japanese-Canadian family interned during WWII. Free teachers guide in English and French. $3.99

  3. Fetch! Lunch Rush
    A fun multiplayer game based on the PBS KIDS TV series, FETCH!, in which players try to keep up with the sushi orders. Designed to supplement national standards for first and second grade math curricula. Free. 

  4. Froggipedia
    An impressive AR anatomy app that covers every phase of frog life, from a single-celled egg to a full-grown frog. Dissect and examine the AR frog’s lifelike internal organs using a finger or Apple pencil with this 2018 iPad App of the Year. $3.99

  5. Sky Guide  
    Winner of the Apple Design Award 2014, Sky Guide allows users to instantly locate stars, planets, satellites, and other celestial objects in the present, past, or future. Augmented Reality mode makes it easier to visualize and identify constellations. Works with or without WiFi, cellular service, or GPS. $2.99

  6. Wonderscope
    This highly engaging interactive story app puts kids at the center of the unfolding action, allowing them to move around, become part of the story, and explore details by tapping on objects. Free for the first story; additional stories are $4.99 each

Websites for AR

  1. CoSpaces Edu
    A complete 3D, coding, and AR/VR platform for education, CoSpaces Edu provides online tools for teachers and students to create and explore their own augmented worlds. Features include lesson plans and an extensive gallery of CoSpaces created by teachers, students, and the CoSpacesEdu team. AR requires iOS or Android device and free app. Free basic plan for up to 29 students.  

  2. Lifeliqe
    A standards-aligned K-12 science curriculum with lesson plans and eye-popping, sophisticated interactive 3D models. Integrates with Google Drive, Google Classroom, and Microsoft Teams for easy sharing and saving. Prices start at $8 per student annually. 14-day free trial with premium content. 

  3. Metaverse
    An augmented reality creation platform that requires no coding knowledge. Users build, publish, and share AR stories, games, and polls on the platform. Mobile devices are required to run AR programs.  Free with premium options available. iOS Android
Diana Restifo