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12 best apps to keep your tiny tots entertained

Image courtesy: ©smdphoto/Budget Travel

“Are we there yet?” “I have to go to the bathroom.” “I am hungry.” “I want to go home.…”

With school holiday season around the corner, flashbacks of long journeys spent with children who get bored easily, are plenty. This summer, keep them entertained (and yourself sane) – just pack your tablet with these fun apps.

Endless Alphabet (iOS / Android)

This app helps tiny tots learn the alphabet. A troupe of colourful monsters teaches children the alphabet, and kids then form words by dragging letters into place. Once complete, words then turn into comical animations.

TukTuk goes to Mumbai

Follow TukTuk and Rinku the Taxi on their adventures around Mumbai. Tuk Tuk’s original owner was a young man who was an explorer at heart and always wanted to travel until one day when he dies in a tragic accident and Tuk Tuk is brought to the city. The journeys are Tuk Tuk fulfilling his master’s desire to see the world.

Minecraft Pocket Edition (iOS / Android)

If you or your child is already a fan of Minecraft, this game may be already on their tablet. If not, do make sure you download this to get cracking on crafting, mining and battling things.

Drawing Pad (iOs, Android, Kindle)

This has been named iPad App Of The Week in 12 countries. Kids have easy access to a digital art tool-kit including markers, paint brushes, colored pencils and stickers. Creations can be shared online or saved to the iPad.

Barefoot World Atlas (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad)

This one’s loaded with lessons about animals, indigenous people, and cool trivia on everything from exotic animals to how children live in other countries. Your kids can add to the atlas by taking pictures and bookmarking parts of their journey.

Tales2Go (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch)

An amazing app for stories – short and long. The app provides countless ways to peruse the catalog, starting with highest rated and most popular playlists. You can also browse by age group, story type, narrators (a few recognizable names, including Catherine O’Hara and Tom Bosley), character and series, and grade level. Pick from more than 1,700 stories divided into age-appropriate categories for 3+, 5+, 7+, 9+ and preteen kids. The collection includes everything from two-minute fables to six-hour novels, with just about everything in between. There’s Clifford and Curious George for the younger set, while the older crew can switch on Diary of a Wimpy Kid or How to Train Your Dragon and Black Beauty.

Google Maps/ Google Earth

Google Earth is great for children to have a preview of where they’re going, and where your destination is. It can be downloaded and used offline. They can also track friends and family en route to the same destination. Show them the ETA function every time they ask “Are we there yet?”

Scribblenauts Remix (iPad and iPhone)

This is a new version of the Warner Brothers cartoon game which was played on the Nintendo DS platform. Players have to spell out words to bring that object to life (like a shy, frost-breathing, robotic hippopotamus) and help Maxwell acquire the Starite.

Petting Zoo (iOS / Android)

You pet cartoon animals, and do silly things like play music on a crocodile’s teeth, turn a Dachshund into a knot or make an elephant spray water in the bath. This app has uniquely imaginative and interactive animal animations by created by acclaimed illustrator and author Christoph Neimann, whose work can be found in The New Yorker. We are not sure who loves the app more – the kid or adults.

MadLibs (iOS)

This classic fill-in-the-blank game is a great boredom-buster and also helps to teach language skills and boost imaginative thinking. It breaks up the monotony with fun and. Plus, it teaches word types.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends: First Words (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad)

This app features Eric Carle’s amazing illustrations as a digital pop-up book that also teaches words. The app can be used for children learning a first language or with anyone learning new languages. Choices include English, Spanish, French, simplified Chinese and German.

Star-gazing apps

The Night Sky is a fun app which helps figure out the stars. You hold it up to the dark sky and it tells you the constellations you are looking at. NASA has some free apps with beautiful imagery. There’s also Star Walk and Star Walk Kids.


AUTHOR'S BIO: Anuradha Sengupta is a freelance writer and founder-editor of Jalebi Ink, an award-winning media collective for children and youth. A compulsive city-walker, she loves exploring urban cultures and is a columnist for NY-based Karta, a collaborative urban mapping project. Her most memorable adventure was in Afghanistan as digital media advisor, setting up citizens' media centres.