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9 New Apps For Kids to Help Pass the Time During Holiday Travel

Dec 26 2012 - 11:03am

Checklists for a family road trip used to be filled with clothing items, snacks, and a few toys. Today, many mamas add one more step to their pretravel routine: downloading new apps to keep everyone entertained. Before your family heads off for your Winter break getaway, we've rounded up nine of our favorite new apps that are sure to keep lil ones bicker-free during the height of the travel season. From new storybooks and fun drawing apps to kid-friendly enhancements to your Spotify and Hulu apps, don't forget to download these before hitting the road!

Oh, What a Tangle!

We're always searching for the next great storybook, and we may have found it in Oh, What a Tangle! [1] ($5). Lil Kiki hates brushing her hair so much that she lets it grow into one big knot. When that knot takes on a life of its own, the animated story gets so silly that tots can't help but giggle at the mess!

Eye Paint Animals

Kids will love combining the iPhone or iPad's camera to complete the images in the Eye Paint Animals [2] app ($1). They simply pick the image they want to use, paint it, and then use the camera to add texture or background, and the cartoon drawing is completed in a fun and unique way. Try it at the airport or on a road trip, and the images could become a great travelogue for the family!

Smash Your Food

Sure, you tell your kids not to play with their food, but the new Smash Your Food app [3] (free) lets them do it in a clean and educational way! Kids use the app to pick junk food out of a fridge and then guess how much "unhealthy stuff" — sugar, oil, etc. — are in each item. After they guess, the food is smashed and they can see how accurate their guess was. The app also includes healthy eating challenges to keep the education going in the real world, too.

Guess Who I Am!

The Guess Who I Am! app [4] (free) could be a great road trip game for the entire family. Using deductive reasoning, players use a series of questions to determine who they are looking for in a large group of people. Invite the whole family to play along and see how many questions it takes for them to get the right person.

Disney American Presidents

With the election still fresh in many kids' minds and the release of the acclaimed Lincoln last week, kids can't get enough of the executive branch of our government. The new Disney American Presidents app [5] ($4) places them in the Oval Office (for real — it looks like they are sitting in the president's chair) and gives them tidbits and true stories about the presidents — up to and including the 2012 election. Best of all, downloading the app before a holiday trip ensures there's at least a little learning going on during the trip.


The Trains board book comes to life with Oceanhouse Media's new Trains app [6] ($1). Lil ones can hear the words on the pages, move the trains around, and learn the sounds different types of trains make as they play with the app. If you happen to be traveling by train to your destination, it's a must have for your trip!

The Great Cookie Thief . . . A Sesame Street App Starring Cookie Monster

Cookie Monster continues to be the most popular character on Sesame Street in our home, and The Great Cookie Thief . . . A Sesame Street App Starring Cookie Monster [7] ($3) never ceases to entertain them. Cookies are missing, and it is your tot's job to find the thief by reading the interactive story and creating their own wanted posters. The app is filled with great animation and fun uses of the tablet so kids have a variety of options when playing.

Hulu Kids

Hulu Plus subscribers have a new arsenal for fighting boredom during road trips. Hulu recently announced the Hulu Kids channel [8], and it is packed with all of your kids' favorite shows — from Dinosaur Train and Super Why to iCarly and Victorious. You have to be a Hulu Plus subscriber to get it (and then it costs $8 per month), but for commercial-free screen time — and as a nice alternative to CNN playing at the airport — it seems like a no-brainer!

Kidz Bop Boombox

If mom is ready to part with her Spotify playlist for a bit, she'll want to download the Kidz Bop Boombox app [9] for her kids. The app — the first one Spotify has developed for kids — offers carefully curated playlists for kids in three different categories: Preschool (ages 2-4), Kidz (ages 5-9), and The Boom (ages 10 and up). Given the state of song lyrics today, the app promises to keep your lil ones' ears safe and free from inappropriate words, making for some less-embarrassing holiday travel.

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