Have you ever traveled all the way to the National Mall, kiddos and supplies in tow, just to hear the age-old expression every mom dreads: “I’m bored!” Well, the next time you’re feet from the Washington Monument and your kids get antsy, you can hand them your phone and get them excited about our capital’s treasures all over again. There’s a new app in town called Agents of Discovery that encourages kids to walk from monument to monument in search of their next challenge. Think: Pokémon Go, with a D.C. twist.

Photo: polytropos via Flickr

Who can play?
Everyone! The typical age range of kids using the app without their parents guiding them is 5th-8th grade. However, this app would definitely be fun for younger kids too as long as you’re willing to supervise (and in some cases read the Challenge to them).

Getting started
Create an account. The app will ask you whether you’d like to register as a “New Agent” or “Start as Guest,” and if you sign up as a new agent, it will ask you for your gender and grade. From there you will be brought to a map of the National Mall, though if you’re not physically at the Mall, you won’t be able to click on anything or select missions.

Photo: Agents of Discovery

Ready, set, play!
There’s no official starting point for this Mission, so even though you might be inside the boundaries, you could be far from your first ChallengeIn order to find Challenges, you need to follow your app’s compass. Once you get in the vicinity of the monuments with Scan-able Challenges, however, you need the compass less  since you can see the Challenges pop up on the map.

There are two different tools you can use once you get there: “Scan” and “Scout.” Scan shows you any nearby Challenges, while Scout uses Agent BE, an eagle, to find one particular Challenge nearby and point you towards it. Once kiddo is on target, many of the Challenges fall into a line, and they can simply walk in that line, clicking on the blue diamond Challenges and answering their questions using the monuments and memorials in front of them. 

Photo: anjanettew via Flickr

Bonus feature
Once your kids earn 36 “
USBees,” they will be able to get a Discovery Agents patch from a park book store (Thomas Jefferson, FDR, MLK, and Lincoln Memorials are listed as pickup options, as well as the Monument Lodge near the Washington Monument).

Think your kid will love this app? Tell us in the comments below. 

–Kelly Ann Jacobson