We are entering that time of year when the days are long and the sun is strong. Of course there are mobile apps available to help you tap into the seasonal vibe. There are apps that will help you grill, plan activities with your family and even advise you on how much suntan lotion you should apply. Here are five of our favorites.
For many of us, summer is synonymous with outdoor grilling. Regardless of what type of equipment you own, you would be wise to download the official Weber's On the Grill app. At a reasonable $5 -- cheaper than just about any printed grilling cookbook you can find -- this app is stocked with perfect recipes for family barbecues and last-minute weekday dinners. Among the many entertaining recipes are "Meatballs on a Stick," "Fire and Ice Oysters" and the "Butter-rum Pineapple with Coconut Ice Cream" dessert. The app has a ton of features besides just recipes, including tips on techniques, grilling safety, instructional videos, a grill guide, a grill timer and even handy grocery lists. Best of all, if you are picnicking or away from home, it's nice to be able to pull a database of great recipes and grill tips out of your pocket!
Just before Opening Day, Major League Baseball came out with a new app specifically designed for fans who are attending games. The location-based MLB.com At the Ballpark app lets you check in when you're at the game and provides useful little things like concourse maps for all the major stadiums. At some select parks, the app will even let you order food from the concession stand. What's even cooler is that At the Ballpark includes some interesting social networking features to let you link up with other baseball nerds. You can create a profile that keeps track of what games you attend and what parks you visit.
Mom Maps (iPhone, iPod Touch, Android $2.99)
So your kids are out of school, and you want ideas for how to avoid having them sit in front of the TV set all day. Finding fun and inexpensive activities on the fly isn't always easy. The Mom Maps app is a must-have for any mom or dad on the go. It provides recommendations for playgrounds, restaurants, museums and more that are all appropriate for children. This is particularly handy if you are trying to schedule a playdate or have family in from out of town. Activity suggestions and recommendations are provided by notable parent bloggers and family travel experts. If you don't feel like plunking down a few bucks at first, there is a free trial version you can download.
Coppertone MyUVAlert (iPhone, iPod Touch, Android Free)
One of the hazards of spending too much time outdoors or at the beach during the summer is overexposure to the sun. It's not always easy, however, to determine the exact level and amount of sunscreen that you should use. The free Coppertone MyUVAlert app will help you determine the appropriate level of sun protection for the whole family and will give you reminder updates when it is time to reapply the sunblock. Most importantly, the app gives you the UV Index for wherever you are and recommends the appropriate sun protection via handy icons like hats, umbrellas and more.
Dog Park Finder Plus (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad $1.99)
You and your kids are not the only ones who want to go out and play during the summertime. Don't forget your four-legged furry friends. So get your paws on this handy app that will find local dog park locations, amenities, dog-friendly restaurants and more.