Planning a road trip? Taking kids with you? If you have kids and you have a road trip planned, you need ways to keep them entertained. Last month, The Wonder of Tech took a Poll: How Do You Entertain Your Kids During Road Trips? According to the results, half of the readers use tech to entertain kids while on the road.
For readers who want to use tech in the car, apps are a great way to keep kids entertained. What makes an app a great road trip app? First, no reading. My kids get very carsick, so if an app requires reading, it’s not a road trip app in my mind. Second, the games have to be fun and help the hours pass by quickly (again, without any reading involved). Here are great apps to keep the kids entertained as the miles roll along.
1. Angry Birds – this addictive game by will entertain kids of all ages (adults too!). Many versions of the game are available, the original Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio, in free and paid versions, for iPhone, iPad and Android.
There’s a reason why Angry Birds is consistently one of the top apps in the App Store, the game can be enjoyed by those who just want to see the birds fly and wipe out the evil pigs, earning a star in the process, and by those who want to take the game to a higher level by figuring out the best way to get three stars on each level.
For those of you wondering why these birds are so very angry, this video explains it all:
2. Cut the Rope – this is a game by Chillingo with enjoyment potential for all ages. When you begin the game you are introduced to an adorable monster, Om Nom, (I won’t tell you how the introduction happens so I don’t spoil the fun) and the goal of the game is to feed him candy.
What starts out as a ridiculously easy game (cut the rope and Om Nom gets fed), quickly turns into a challenge of physics as various obstacles come between Om Nom and his candy.
Cut the Rope is available in iPhone, iPad and Android versions. The Android version was launched last week and is available free from GetJar. The iPhone version is $0.99 and the iPad version is $1.99. Free versions are available for both the iPhone and iPad (though trust me, you don’t want to head out in the car with the free iOS version).
Cut the Rope Holiday Gift, is available as a free iPhone and iPad app, though the holiday the game refers to happened about six months ago. It’s still a fun, free game that’s worth downloading.
3. Qwiki is an amazing free iPad app that provides information on a wide variety of topics by talking to you. Find places near you and have Qwiki show you pictures and talk to you telling you highlights of the area.
Qwiki is no longer available in the iTunes App Store.
I have used Qwiki in quite a few different areas I’m very familiar with. Qwiki gave me new information for each area, teaching me in a fun and entertaining way. We live near a Revolutionary War battlefield and the Qwiki entry for the battlefield is fascinating with lots of history, pictures and maps. We drive by the Battlefield every day, but the Qwiki app got my kids interested in what happened there over 200 years ago.
Qwiki has over 3,000,000 topics, not just local information, so you can surf through the app for hours and learn while having fun!
4. Peggle – As seen last week in Peggle: Take a Chance on a PopCap Game!, Peggle is an entertaining game that will keep kids of all ages engaged for hours on end. The miles will fly by as the kids watch the Peggle ball bounce around the screen lighting up pegs. You might want the kids using headphones so the sounds don’t distract you when driving!
5. Netflix – If you’re a Netflix subscriber, and have an unlimited data plan (see, Mind the Cap!), download the Netflix app now. You will be able to stream thousands of videos with selections certain to entertain the entire family. Netflix is available on the iPhone and iPad and was just updated on Android earlier this month. Netflix in Android Market.
6. Fruit Ninja – this game, available from the iTunes App Store and Android Market, is a fast paced game that’s easy to learn and love. There are many different modes of play, classic, Zen, and arcade, with single and multi-player options. Like Peggle, Fruit Ninja is easy to learn but challenging to master.
7. Audible – I’m a huge fan of audiobooks, as I wrote about in Audible: My Favorite Way to Read a Book. If your kids have a summer reading list for school, check to see if some of the books are available as audiobooks. Wouldn’t it be great to arrive at your destination having your kids entertained while finishing some summer homework? If it’s a book the entire family would enjoy, play the book through the car’s speakers so everyone can listen and discuss the book during rest stops.
Even if your kids’ school doesn’t have a summer reading list, listening to audiobooks is a great way to enjoy a car ride!
8. Family Car Games – this app is all about classic car games and has over 100 available for you to play on your road trips. There is some reading involved, but you can read the rules before you head out, no reading is required as you play the games in the car. The Family Car Games app is available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch in the iTunes App Store.
9. Road Trip Bingo – sure, you don’t need an app to play Road Trip Bingo, but if you have an Android or iOS device, it’s worth it to get an app. There are a lot of Road Trip Bingo apps out there for Android and iPhone. Check them out and pick your favorite!
10. Pictureka!– I’m a big fan of hidden object games (see, Peekaboo HD: Educational, Fun and Free!) and Pictureka! is a fun game that will keep the kids entertained for a long time. This game has a pass and play mode for the kids to share in the back seat or they can have fun playing it on their own.
Pictureka! is no longer available for the iPhone and iPad, but a similar app is available in the iTunes App Store.
If your road trip includes long stretches of boring terrain, check out these apps to avoid hearing, “I’m bored! Are we there yet?” every mile.
Do you use apps to keep kids entertained on long car rides? What are some of your favorite apps for kids that don’t involve reading? Let us know in the Comments section below!
* Image by Aaron Stroot
** Image by Johan Sterenberg