Travelling with your kids can be an unforgettable adventure. Whether it’s exploring New York’s Central Park Zoo or ice-skating in Quebec – experiencing new things as a family is a feeling like no other.
But let’s face it, day-long flights and a troupe of restless primary schoolers aren’t an ideal mix. Queuing for tourist attractions, long bus rides and flight stop-overs can summon up the dreaded “are we there yet?” groans.
Thankfully, technology has given kids a world of entertainment at their fingertips. We’ve chosen the 12 best travel apps that kids will love, and also a few for the parents among us.
Young children using phones and tablets might seem like a strange sight, but some schools have even introduced iPads as a learning tool in the classroom. Gone are the days where you needed to pack bulky toys and colouring books to keep the kids entertained, the times sure are changing!
Younger children, in particular, will love these three apps. And who knows, you might too!
1. What’s That Sound?
Young children can become overwhelmed by new sights and sounds overseas. The popular What’s That Sound? app can help them to make sense of the sensory overload, by teaching them to match simple objects to their noises.
From tolling bells to quacking ducks, the app introduces kids to a range of sounds they might encounter overseas. And according to their website, developing “auditory processing skills” lays the foundation for reading, writing and speaking.
2. Petting Zoo
With over 1 million downloads worldwide, Petting Zoo is an interactive picture book that’s sure to keep the young ones entertained on planes, trains and automobiles.
Kids tap and swipe the cute animal animations to see them come to life in unexpected ways, with great sounds to boot. A crocodile with guitar strings for teeth? The app’s famous illustrator, Christoph Niemann, has thought of it all.
3. Colouring Pages For Kids
This great free app includes hundreds of fun colouring pages to keep the kids engaged. Why not help them connect to your destination by choosing a few related pictures? For example, if you’ll be relaxing in the sunshine, complete a few tropical beach scenes to set the mood!
The Colouring Pages app includes optional in-app purchases, so supervision is a good idea!
If your kids have grown out of colouring in, there are a bunch of exciting and educational mobile apps designed for the primary schooler. These three apps strike the perfect balance between excitement and education, enriching a child’s travel experience.
While this internationally celebrated language-learning app would delight most adults, Duolingo’s fun interactivity and quirky design is perfect for engaging young kids.
What better way to really dive into the holiday than learning the language of your destination?
With clever games and a clear structure, it’s easy to see why Duolingo has won so many awards. A study by the City University of New York and the University of South Carolina even found that an average of 34 hours of Duolingo study was equivalent to a full semester of language education at university!
5. Buddha For Kids
Travelling to Thailand? Or maybe Japan or China? Involve your kids in the culture with Buddha For Kids, an app which teaches the fascinating Buddhist history using fun games and awesome graphics.
The language in this app has been specially written to appeal to younger audiences and tested by teaching professionals.
Available on Apple devices.
6. Homes by Tinybop
Homes is another fantastic app that’ll expose your kids to some of the unique places they may visit overseas. Players explore different homes as they traditionally appear around the world, cook meals, decorate and learn about local cultures.
Whether you’re travelling to Vietnam or Venezuela, Homes by Tinybop will let your kids learn a bit more about what makes their destination special, and do so in a fun way.
Available on Apple devices and coming soon to Android devices.
Your teens may want a bit more creativity and personality in their travel entertainment. There are countless apps designed to let creative juices flow, and these three would be especially handy for documenting the holiday of a lifetime.
7. Animoto Video Maker
Animoto Video Maker is an easy way for your teens to turn their countless travel snaps into a quality video. Gone are the days of the boring holiday slideshow for the friends at home!
The app includes over 50 preset video styles and hundreds of songs in a built-in music library, and projects can be easily shared on social media or email.
What better way for your teens to use their travelling downtime productively than writing a blog? We know how rewarding writing a travel blog can be for people of all ages, but for teens looking to stretch their creative muscle on the go, the WordPress mobile app is perfect.
For inspiration, check out our interview with Brooke Saward from World of Wanderlust. Brooke started her blog in 2012 and now funds her adventures through writing. Not a bad goal for teens that catch the travel bug!
9. Face Swap Live
If you’re looking to purely entertain rather than educate your teens, Face Swap Live has taken the world by storm. This app lets you switch faces with your friends in real-time, and the results are always hilarious. If nothing else, it can be a great way to keep family spirits high or make new friends along the way.
Although electronics can make a holiday that much better, you don’t want your children to miss out on the real life experiences of your destination. Our travel tech do’s and don’ts will help you strike a fine balance between the two.
Apps aren’t just for the kids, sometimes the parents among us need a helping hand too. Checking in, clearing customs and finding your gate can be made just that bit tougher with the young ones in-tow.
Thankfully, there are some fantastic travel apps designed to make those stressful moments easier. From organising flights, booking accommodation and even just taking a breather – these three smartphone apps can do some of the heavy lifting in the family adventure.
It can be hard to focus on checking in and clearing customs at the airport when the kids are running around. WorldMate is your personal travel assistant, keeping everything from flight, accommodation and car rental information in one place, so you can focus on keeping everyone relaxed!
All you need to do is forward your email booking confirmation to the app’s email address, and it will automatically sort and store the documentation for you.
The WorldMate app also includes a range of other features like local weather forecasts, hotel suggestions, currency converters and tip calculators.
There’s really no better way to make sure your accommodation is friendly for the whole family than reading customer reviews before you book. The TripAdvisor app gives you access to millions of customer opinions on hotels, restaurants, bars and tours.
We know how important it is to find a great child-friendly hotel, and the TripAdvisor app is the best place to start for all your accommodation research.
12. A Soft Murmur
Need to take a breather after the hustle and bustle of Disneyland? With this app you can select and adjust your own chorus of ambient sounds that’ll be sure to keep you calm.
You can choose and adjust the volume of sounds like rain, thunder, fireplace, coffee shop and even white noise.
Available on Android devices and coming soon to Apple devices.