10 Kids Apps That Parents Actually Like
What are your favorite kids’ apps? Share your suggestions below!
When we travel, handing the tablet or iPhone over to Tiny Traveler is a last resort. But on long drives or flights, we eventually run out of other things to do.
But there are thousands of apps for kids. Some some fun, some worthwhile, and some that are just plain awful. When the time comes to offer screen time, what apps should a parent have on hand? I start with ideas my daughter brings home from technology class at school. If the teachers are using it and she finds it fun, I’m likely to approve.
The next best source, of course, is other parents. Here are 10 apps or app families recommended by travel bloggers who routinely need to keep kids engaged during long journeys.
Ages are just guides, of course. Unless we note otherwise they’re available for Apple and Android.
Apps for Preschooler
1. Lindsay Nieminen at Carpe Diem Our Way likes Peekaboo Barn, which offers 12 different language options and the opportunity to record your own voice. She says it’s, “Well worth the $1 to get all of the animals!”
2. When her son was younger, says Karilyn Owen of No Back Home, he loved the Toca Boca apps, particularly the Doctor and Kitchen. The company designs it’s apps, which also include Blocks, City, School, Fairy Tales and Pet doctor to be gender-neutral and to encourage creativity. It also promises no in-app purchases or ads.
3. Owen’s son also liked Monkey Preschool Lunchbox, a suite a six games that teach colors, letters, counting, shapes, differences and matching.
Apps For School-Age Kids
4. Kathy Dalton of Go Adventure Mom, suggests DisneyNature Explore app (Apple), which lets you learn about the habitats and behavior of 5 animals. “Some of the activities are intended for kids to do outside with a parent others can be done inside.”
5. I like apps that let kids create things. My daughter has lately been using TinyBop’s Robot Factory, where she creates digital robots and then test them on virtual terrain. She also loves ABCya Animate, which lets her create her own stop-motion cartoons.
Ages: Respectively, 6 or 7 and up.
6. Lisa Goodmurphy from Gone with the Family likes Stack the Countries and Stack the States to help her kids learn Capitals, Landmarks, Major Cities, Continents, Border Countries (or states) and Languages. “It’s a geography quiz game and when you get a question correct then you earn a country piece to build your map with.”
Ages: 7 and up
7. My 8YO has also gotten interested in coding lately, a pastime I don’t mind encouraging. She likes Lightbot (there’s Lightbot Jr., too) and Hopscotch (Apple), but there are plenty of others.
Ages: 8 and up
8. Tamara Gruber at We3Trtavel likes Brainpop (or Brainpop Jr. for the Kindergarten and pre-K set), which combines short videos with activities to teach kids math, social studies, science, art, STEM skills and even French and Spanish. If you’re lucky your school might have a subscription parents can use (ours does). Some apps are Apple only.
Ages: 8 and up; 5 to 7 for Jr. edition
9. Common Sense media recommends Lego Mindstorms Fix the Factory.This puzzler that requires kids to direct a robot through tasks,” is best for older school age kids. Be warned, for some kids it could be just a sample of the programming possibilities offered by the very expensive Mindstorm product line.
Ages: 8 and up
10. Vaughn-Dana Ticknor of Our Traveling Tribe likes King of Math (or King of Math Jr.). “It’s lots of math review, but you get to visit the renaissance era while doing it! You work your way up from being a peasant to blacksmith to knight and has fun graphics.
Ages: 9 and up; 6 to 8 for Jr. edition.