From the Griswold family in National Lampoon’s Vacation to Kermit the Frog in the Muppet Movie, road trips are a rite of passage for bringing families and friends together and opening their eyes to the great American landscape.
When you consider the cost for flying a family of four on vacation, a drive is much easier on the wallet. But of course, there’s that age old dilemma: how to keep the kids entertained in the backseat. These apps will help your kids pass the time without feeling inclined to regularly ask, “Are we there yet?”
Mad Libs The classic game is still around, but now it’s digital. While one parent drives, the other—or an accompanying sibling—can challenge kids to fill in random nouns, adjectives, adverbs and more fill-in-the-blank words left out of a short story. Then they read back the silly, nonsensical results. The kids will be giggling the whole time and won’t even realize they’re actually practicing grammar. Free; iOS
Netflix What better way to make an extended drive feel like a trip to the movies? Just mount your network-enabled tablet to the back of your seat with a Universal Tablet Headrest Mount before you take off and enjoy a drive that almost lets the kids feel like it’s taking place in the living room. Free; Android, iOS
Road Trip Bingo It’s the age old board game with an on-the-go twist. Instead of staring wistfully out the window, dreaming of the moment the long trip will end, your kids will be tasked with spotting certain items along the way. So when they’re looking out the window, they’re actually on the hunt to score a Bingo. Once they win, a quick shake resets their card so they can start again. $.99; iOS
License Plate Game Gone are the days when you had to write down all of the license plates from different states that you saw as you embarked on a long trek on wheels. Just tap the photo of the appropriate license plate as you see them and the app keeps track. Two kids in the back seat? Set a timer and each can take turns racing to see who can find the most in the same amount of time. (Of course, that’s all up to chance, but don’t tell them that!) Free; Android
Draw and Tell Coloring while riding in the car used to be an impossible feat. (Or in the very least, a difficult and messy one.) This app allows children to draw, color, decorate with stickers, record stories and even create animations. They can save all of their drawings so mom and dad can keep their eyes on the road, but the kiddos can still show off their creations later. $1.99; iOS