11 Free Apps for Kids Perfect for Your Next Road Trip

11 free kid apps

In our house, there is a time and a place for media for our young kids. When the place is an airplane, the time is all the time. Seriously, all. the. time. Whatever it takes to get off that plane with the sanity of me and those around us intact.

These apps are great for filling up time on an airplane or on a road trip. And bonus – they are all totally free.

If you want to… make music

IMG_6422Melody Jams. This game is super sweet, and simple enough for my two-year old. Twelve monsters each have a different instrument – drums, keyboard, bongo, flute…. You can showcase up to five monsters at a time and hear how the sound changes. What happens if you swap out the guitar for a bass? The xylophone for a violin? What about if only one monster is playing? Three?

Suggested ages: 2+


If you want to… practice reflexes

minionsDespicable Me: Minion Rush. For fans of Despicable Me and the movies following, this is a fun choice. You are given various challenges, all while trying to collect bananas, avoid electric shocks, and side-step barriers. There are some ads and some Facebook prompts – plus the pace is fast. So this one is best for older kids.

Suggested ages: 8+


If you want to… take aim

angry birdsAngry Birds. Angry Birds is a big hit for a reason – it’s fun, addictive and you can sort of pretend it’s also educational. (Teaches about trajectories and stuff, so that’s learning right?). And most importantly – you get to break stuff (with no clean up!) While not the best message (the birds want to get revenge on the pigs for stealing their eggs), the cartoony nature of the game keeps it from being violent.

Suggested ages: 6+



If you want to… create a story

piratesToontastic Jr. Pirates. Kids can build their own cartoon with this easy-to-follow app. You are given a series of scenes from which you choose a beginning, middle and end. Kids can then make the story their own by recording their own voices, moving characters around, and setting the background music. The final product is a short video that is automatically saved to the app.

Suggested ages: 3+


If you want to… hear a story

tales untoldTales Untold. It’s a podcast! It’s an app! Tales Untold features short (5-15 minutes) stories about a fun cast of characters. You can meet Radbert the Monster, Inspector 9 and other memorable folks in these well-crafted, expertly narrated stories. While the first episode of each series is free, you’ll need to purchase additional ones.

Suggested ages: 2+


If you want to… have a playdate 

sago mini monstersSago Mini Friends. This simply animated game is perfect for younger kids still developing fine motor skills. You choose from one of five animal friends. The character you choose then visits friends in their houses for a little play date. Sample activities at each house include opening presents, blowing bubbles and playing with trains.

Suggested ages: 2+


If you want to… play with your food

kitchen monstersToca Kitchen Monsters. Pick a monster, then choose a food from the well-stocked fridge. (I think I spied a prickly pear in there?) Choose a way to prepare it — from cutting it with a knife to pureeing it in the blender — and see if your monster will bite. One of the cool things about this game is there are no rules. Just pick a method, watch the food transform and hope the monster likes it!

Suggested ages: 3+


If you want to… hang out with your favorite PBS friends

pbs kidsPBS Kids Games. All your favorites from PBS Kids – the Odd Squad, Daniel Tiger and Wild Kratts, to name a few – are here in this free app. The games vary from show to show. For Daniel Tiger, you can do a peaceful aquarium viewing game. For Wild Kratts, you can go bowling for rhinos. There’s a lot here for all ages, with a good amount of learning thrown in. (Volume displacement anyone?)

Suggested ages: 2+


If you want to… chill

breatheBreathe, Think, Do with Sesame Street. This app features familiar Sesame Street characters dealing with frustrating situations. You help calm the monster down and figure out several plans for dealing with his frustration. Then choose the plan you think the monster should try. The app reminds us to breathe, think and do in a simple, engaging way.

Suggested ages: 2+

If you want to… draw

crayolaCrayola Colorful Creatures. Travel around the globe to discover different native animals. You’ll hear some facts about the animal before getting a chance to color it in, or do a short game. After visiting a part of the country, it gets colored in. The goal is to cover the whole globe in color. You get four animals for free on the unpaid version, but have to pay to unlock the whole app.

Suggested ages: 2+


If you want to… go retro

madlibsMad Libs. It’s just like the paper and pen version, but you can’t cheat and look at the context first! A great game for teaching your kids about grammar in a fun way, and giggling at the outcome of your nonsensical stories. Potty language in 3, 2, 1….

Suggested ages: 6+

Ali Wilkinson
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Ali Wilkinson

Online Editor at PDX Parent
Ali Wilkinson is the Online Editor for PDX Parent, and is one of the founders of PDX Kids Calendar. She loves exploring Portland with her three small children, especially when the explorations lead outdoors, to music or to ice cream. You can read more from Ali at www.runknitlove.com.
Ali Wilkinson
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  • Rebecca

    I would add Libby to the top of your list. 😉