While you can travel without an iPhone, iPad or other smart device, it's no longer recommended. If you have kids, that is, and they need some distraction that can't be satisfied by another round of the license plate game. Flying, driving, or taking the train you're going to want to have some kid-friendly apps on hand that offer everything from straight-up entertainment to some actual learning. Luckily there are a zillion apps out there for kids, and you'll have them mesmerized with a few clicks.
Tested by actual kids who seem to think mom's iPhone belongs to them, here are 15 hot kid apps for your summer travel.
A tip: If you have a toddler who can't keep his little paws off the home button, pick up some BubCaps for protection. That way you're not constantly restarted the game he accidentally turns off. Genius!
DO play the underwear coloring, creating, and matching game inspired by Todd Parr's fab children's books. DON'T forget to save your child's artful creations on your device.
You've got your headphones, right? Your kids might actually learn how to pick out a tune on this piano playing app. Or if you've already got them enrolled in lessons they can brush up while you're on the road.
If teaching your toddler to read is on your summer to-do list, make it fun with word magic. Filling in the blanks will also give your kids a fun way to get a handle on the sounds of letters, and importance of placement. You can also adjust the difficulty level so when your little one masters the game, you kick it up a notch.
Absolutely for the car, let your kid go crazy recording his voice and then listening to a playback in the form of a ghost, a clown, a turtle, even a Darth Vader-esque fella'. If your child is exceptionally gifted, she can also send it to her Twitter friends (but let's hope that's years away).
From fractions to spelling, SchoolZone Apps can kill time while getting your kid ahead of the game. In addition to their educational packages, pick up the square game, where it's about fun and learning how to build.
Yes, it's just as much for you as it for your toddler. But you'll be surprised how fast your child learns how to fling a bird at a pig. Turn it into a family competition and you've got a virtual game night.
Less aggressive than Angry Birds, but just as addictive, this free app of Frisbee tossing is a great, quiet, way to entertain the kids. Also like AB, you get one level free, but have to buy more advanced games.
For those kids who are mesmerized by aquariums, fish fingers turns any photo you have into an insta-aquarium, complete with a Nemo'ish fish. You're even luckier if your kid is so entranced by the waving water that he passes out on the plane.
9. Talking Tom, aka Copy Cat
The biggest app in our house is one where this adorable cat repeats everything my kids say. The new Talking Tom 2 offers even more entertainment. See also, Talking Roby, Talking Santa if your kids can't get enough of this app.
You can get Dr. Seuss Lite for free for a shortened version of your favorites. And if your kids have short attention spans, that's enough. But if they need to hear the whole megillah, purchase the entire book. Seuss books are interactive as you press on the various items on the page, and if you've got a pre-reader you can choose a "Read to Me" option. Also recommended, choose auto play if your little one has yet to master the finger swipe to turn the page.
Free -- $3.99
Only for iPads and Android tablets, Drawing Pad is one of the most amazing apps for tablets. Your child can choose from everything from crayons to stamps to create a virtual drawing pad on your device. Yes, erasers are available as well.
If you haven't found mystery photos on your iPhone's camera, you will after downloading IncrediBooth, a photo app that turns your iPhone into an old-school photo booth. You'll be amazed at what your kids come up with in a confined space.
Another huge hit with the preschool set, Elmo guides your kiddos through creating their own monsters, then setting them loose for dance parties and the like. Another app where you'll discover photos of monsters with funny hats, and even funnier noses on your device long after the little ones have stopped creating.
From the book behind the movie, this one became a fast favorite on the road. What kid doesn't want to try her hand at flying on the world's most frightening dragon?
A puzzle game that gives your kid a reward when he scooches the pieces into the right places, this shape builder game builds skills while entertaining the heck out of your preschooler.
What's your favorite app for your kids?
Image via iTunes