Photo courtesy of Ashley Jones

The Google AR Animal Feature Gives Your Kid A Chance To Stand With A Panda

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The internet is forever coming in clutch these days with virtual activities to keep your kids entertained at home. Ever wondered what it would be like to have a lion in your living room? You can now use Google to get an augmented reality view of a life-sized animal right on your phone and it is ridiculously cool.

If you haven't already discovered this little slice of Google magic, here's how it works. Open Google in your phone's internet browser and type in the name of an animal. Then, scroll down underneath the overview box where you will see a button that says "view in 3D." Once you click that button, an AR screen will appear and you'll be prompted to move your phone around until a life-sized animal appears on screen.

Once on your screen, the animals move their heads, open their mouths, and they're the actual size that they would be in real life. The lion looked like it wanted to pounce on my kids at one point, but honestly, I wouldn't blame him if he did because, same. When we tried a hedgehog, my 7-year-old son giggled relentlessly while he tried to pose as if he was petting the tiny little guy on screen. He never got it quite right, but it was hilarious to watch him try.

Photo courtesy of Ashley Jones

No, this is not a still shot from an episode of Tiger King, this is my 5-year-old in our living room this morning (Star Wars pajamas and all) standing next to a virtual tiger. That disinterested look on his face was before he saw what was on the screen. Once he saw the screenshot I took of the tiger standing next to him, he got more excited than I've seen him get over much of anything these past few weeks and begged me to take at least 15 more photos.

When I first tried this, it took me a few attempts before I realized our living room was too dim for the screen to get a good read. Once I flipped on a few additional lights and opened our blinds, my screen was suddenly (and I do mean suddenly) filled with a tiger standing right next to my son. Startling at first, but most definitely one of the coolest at-home activities we've come across yet.

No matter what animals your kids are interested in, you're sure to find one they'll love interacting with on screen via Google. Choose from great white sharks, ducks, penguins, goats, and so many other animals. While it's hard to get high quality photos by taking screenshots of your kids "with" these AR animals, it's loads of fun to have them do different poses and see what they come up with.

If you've already seen your fair share of digital Disney parades, taken every virtual museum tour, and watched all of the videos of celebrities reading books, adding a zoo animal to your living room and having a massive photoshoot with your kiddos should definitely be next on your stay-at-home to-do list.