For many of us, the holidays are synonymous with a certain amount of travel to visit family and loved ones. If this summer was any indication of things to come, I think we can count on more time in the car than on an airplane this holiday season. Long road trips with kids can be tricky, but with a little pre-planning (and pre-downloading), any potential bumps in the road can be smoothed out with various entertainment options. If you’ve had your fill of Minecraft, Fortnite, and Roblox, check out this list of kids’ podcasts and apps to enjoy for a smooth-sailing holiday road trip.
PODCASTS FOR KIDS
Hank the Cowdog
Kids and adults alike will love the adventures of Hank the Cowdog. The book series of the same name was my absolute favorite as a child, and with Matthew McConaughey as the voice of Hank in the podcast, you can’t go wrong!
But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids
My kids turn downright philosophical in the car, so this podcast from NPR is perfect to answer all the questions that suddenly pop into their heads on the open road: “Why is the sky blue?”, “Why are whales so big?” and “Why do we poop and pass gas?” You know, the important things kids want to know but you don’t want to talk about.
This podcast brings classic stories and fairy tales to life with G-rated, kid-friendly retellings. Relax and listen to classics such as Snow White, Peter Rabbit, and Daniel in the Lion’s Den, or dive into an original series exclusive to the Stories Podcast.
Wow in the World
The first NPR podcast for kids and families, Wow in the World explores the wonders of the world, from the way our brains work and the intricacies of space to sharks and technology. There’s something for everyone (even parents) to enjoy!
APPS FOR KIDS
Note that while most of the following apps are free, some do require in-app purchases and/or monthly subscriptions to access all content. On a personal note, I rarely pay for apps or subscriptions and we’ve gotten by just fine with the free versions (no in-app purchases) of all of these.
YOUNGER KIDS (2-5)
Fun, interactive adventures for the youngest players, though my older kids still enjoy it! You can download the whole Sago Mini World, or individual games, such as Vacation, Camping, Dress Up, and so many more.
Endless Alphabet, Endless Reader, Endless Wordplay, and Endless Numbers
This suite of apps makes learning fun! Animated and interactive (non-scary) monsters make this game a delight for kids to play. My kindergartener is working through all of these apps now.
Possibly the best free app for younger kids out there. Play educational games featuring kids’ favorite PBS characters and watch full episodes of their favorite shows.
OLDER KIDS (5-8)
The Toca Boca world is so fun! Most of the apps take real-world scenarios and professions and turn them into kid-friendly interactive games. Be a crazy hair stylist, create wild sushi, or take your pets to the vet in this fun world. My kids love Toca Boca!
I’m not going to lie…I love this coloring app as much as my kids do. Color by number with the touch of a finger to create pixelated artwork and galleries.
The name of this game is common core math. Your child will have a blast with Maxx, taking him on a monster adventure while learning and memorizing basic math facts. The adaptive aspect keeps the game level with your child’s ability.
Super Mario Run and Sonic Dash
For pure fun with no educational aspect, let your kids take Mario or Sonic for a spin. Short courses make for fun and mindless app play. Great for hand-eye coordination!
No matter where your travel holidays take you this year, keep these kid-friendly podcast and app ideas in your Mary Poppins mom bag to pull out in a pinch.