Parent-Approved Apps You Can Trust to Babysit Your Kids This Summer

Mike & Debbie Foley's Bored Kids

Mike & Debbie Foley’s Bored Kids

If you can’t tell from the warmer weather here in San Clemente, summer is coming. This is great news for kids (yay, no school!) and somewhat stressful news for parents (oh crap, there’s no school!).

Somewhere between driving back and forth between swim camp, soccer camp, dance camp, surf camp, science camp, art camp, camping camp any other activity on your little one’s summer agenda, there will likely come a time when you, as a parent, just need one $*5&!@# minute to yourself already!!!

If your kids are anything like our kids, a smart phone or tablet can provide hours of entertainment for them and much-needed quiet time for us. We understand that you may feel guilty sticking them in front of a screen, even if it means you can finally fold laundry/load the dishwasher/make dinner/check your email/use the restroom/change out of your pajamas at 4:00 p.m.

This is why we polled some of the best moms and dads we know to discover their favorite educational apps for distracting their kids. The responses we received were all from parents who have kids ranging in age from toddlerhood through grade 3. We are sharing with you the best, guilt-free apps that were recommended by not just one, but several, parent responders.

Here they are, in no particular order (except alphabetical):

Alien Buddies
Available on: iPhone, iPad
Ages: 4-7
What it teaches: Colors, shapes, numbers and letters
Children engage in matching games, puzzles, dot-to-dot and sticker activities, with varying difficulty levels.

BrainPOP Jr. “Movie of the Week”
Available on: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Ages: 5-9
What it teaches: A range of subjects, including science, social studies, reading, writing, math, health, art and technology.
This app delivers a different Brain Pop Jr. movie every week, for free. Its characters guide kids through critical thinking skills, encouraging them to make connections and ask questions.

Build a Truck by Duck Duck Moose, Inc.
Available on: iPhone, iPad
Ages: All ages
What it teaches: Physics
Kids customize and build monster trucks, with each decision they make in building affecting the mobility of their truck.

Cut the Rope
Available on: Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, Google Play, Kindle Fire
Ages: 3-5
What it teaches: Physics
Cut the ropes to release candy into the mouth of a little monster named Om Nom.

Draw & Tell by Duck Duck Moose, Inc.
Available on: iPhone, iPad
Ages: All ages
What it teaches: Drawing/storytelling
Kids use the app to draw or color. Then they can narrate their drawing and save their voice recording, along with their artwork.

Leo’s Pad
Available on: iPad
Ages: 3-5
What it teaches: A variety of early-learning curriculum, based on the latest research.
This challenging app was developed by Stanford University researchers and Emmy award-winning animators to bring preschoolers a free series of interactive animated stories, starring Leonardo da Vinci and friends. The app features over 70 critical learning dimensions, engaging stories and the ability to adapt to your child’s level.

Math Racer by StoryBots
Available on: iPad
Ages: 5-9
What it teaches: Math
Your child learns addition, and other math skills, by playing as a storybot character (that is personalized with a picture of your kid’s own face) and racing other storybots to become a math champion.

Starfall ABCs
Available on: iPhone, Google Play, Kindle Fire
Ages: 3-5
What it teaches: Pre-reading skills
Children see, hear and interact with letters and sounds through a combination of words, sentences and games.

Starfall Numbers
Available on: iPhone, Google Play, Kindle Fire
Ages: 3-5
What it teaches: Math
Children learn to recognize number symbols and values by connecting them to real-world objects. Then they apply these concepts using counting games.

Ubooly
Available on: iPhone, iPod Touch, Android
Ages: 4-10
What it teaches: A range of subjects, including language, math, science, music and history.
Created by teachers, Ubooly interacts with your child in a range of engaging, playful activities and is just as funny and entertaining (for both kids and parents) as it is educational.

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