Ah, summer. The beach, the mountains, the lake, the… long hours in a car or airplane with impatient children. If you’ll be flying or road tripping this summer, download a few new iPhone and iPad apps to help the miles go by a lot quicker.
1. Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery: Episode 1
Ages: 6 and up | $0.99
Jacob Jones is off to summer camp, where everything isn’t exactly as it seems. Along with his hairy new sidekick, he has to figure out what is going on at Camp Eaglefeather by solving a series of narrative-style puzzles that are just right for young kids.
2. State Plate Bingo!
Ages: 4 and up | $0.99
This app really won’t keep kids occupied for hours, but it’s fun as an ongoing quest on road trips. Can you find all 50 states in a single journey? There’s only one way to find out. The iPhone version works on an iPad, but isn’t optimized for it.
3. Sago Mini Sound Box
Ages: 2 and up | free
Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers (and maybe even some older kids) will love this cute, simple music discovery app. Kids choose an “instrument” (though it could be a puppy barking or a noisy barn). They tap the screen to add the sounds, then grab, fling, bounce and play with them.
4. Road Trip Bingo
Ages: 4 and up | $0.99/1.99
Got exactly two kids? Download the only travel-themed bingo app that lets both of them compete head to head. Your kids can scour the landscape for everything from road signs and blue cars to snow-topped mountains and dogs.
Ages: 8 and up | free
Got three or more kids? Check out this hilarious app that’s a lot like the telephone game we all played when we were younger! Player one types a well known phrase, such as “The early bird gets the worm.” Player two illustrates the phrase with a fingertip drawing. Player three captions Player two’s drawing without seeing the original phrase. And so on.
Don’t think it’s only for travel either. My kids beg me to play every night. Can’t think of a good phrase? The developers have thought of that — just tap the suggestions button.
We haven’t listed prices because frankly, they change a lot, especially this time of year. Click through to the App Store for more information if any of these catch your eye!
10 GREAT APPS FOR KIDS AGED 0-4
3. ABC Zooborns
10. Memory Train
10 GREAT APPS FOR KIDS AGED 5-8
2. Toca Tailor
4. Word Wizard
6. Math Bingo
9. Doodle Fit
10 GREAT APPS FOR KIDS AGED 9-12
2. Khan Academy
3. Granny Smith
5. Math Doodles
7. Temple Run
9. Jumbline 2
Word Wagon is a popular educational app that lets preschoolers have f-u-n as they learn to spell words with the help of a beret-wearing mouse named Mozzarella.
Mozz and his best friend Coco jump over objects on a conveyor belt. When kids see an object they would like to spell, they tap on it to stop the conveyor belt, and then drag letter tiles to spell the matching word.
Why we like it:
As kids move up the four levels, they move past learning letter names to learning letter sounds. Coco reads back the words they spell by sounding them out phonetically.
It’s hard not to love Mozz and Coco. If kids need a break from spelling, they can tap on the two characters to hear funny conversations about cheese, pickles and chocolate soufflé.
Watch out for:
This app doesn’t store players’ information, so kids have to earn new reward stickers every time they play.
Like this? Get our App of the Week newsletter.