Apps that will keep the kids entertained on a long drive without them being glued to a screen.
I know, it’s a bit of an oxymoron. Here are some apps for your little hand held screen that are screen free. But read on, I promise it makes sense!
I don’t know about you, but for all my no screens in the car I do love a good app.
Anything nifty I can chuck on my phone to get us another 50km up the road without drama is a good thing right?
While I did indeed fall off the no TV at all wagon and have started pulling out playschool every now and then, I still haven’t crossed the final frontier of screens while driving and I want to try and keep it that way for as long as possible.
Most of these apps are for them to listen to but there are a couple that are for finding playgrounds and parks when you are somewhere new and they need to burn off some steam.
I also had a dig around for some new stuff which I’ve also added.
Check out 10 ways to entertain your kids on a road trip for some other ideas that don’t involve your phone.
I hope there’s something here that’ll make your next road trip with kids a little easier!
ABC Kids Listen (free)
“ABC KIDS listen is a free dedicated kids app and digital radio station providing children aged 0-5 and their families with a safe space to access trusted, educational and entertaining audio programs that feature music and stories from their favourite ABC KIDS friends. Available on iPhone and Android™.”
My kids are three and four and we listen to the story time part of the program constantly.
We also listen to the music but the stories really do it for them and the narrators are awesome.
The app is free but you do need to become a member and pay for books.
You can then listen to any of your books at any time on your phone or tablet. I play them through the bluetooth in the car.
In saying that, your membership comes with one credit per month that will get you any single book on Audible.
I am usually a bit wary of anything that involves becoming a member and tend to avoid it but I have to say, this is one of my most used apps.
They just have a great range of kids books compared to anywhere else I have found and it’s user friendly and easy to navigate.
The added bonus is that they also do a huge range of adult books too so you have something for when the kids crash.
Check out my favourite kids stories on Audible and kids audiobooks and songs about caring for the environment for some great books I have got from Audible so far.
A family friendly radio station for kids and their grown ups.
“Kinderling is Australia’s most popular kids radio station, playing family-friendly music from Sia to Sesame Street.
Play and download songs and stories for the kids anytime, and soothe them with sleepy tunes at bed time. Plus there’s parenting advice and meditations for grown-ups.”
“Did you know your local library has thousands of ebooks and audiobooks? You can borrow them, instantly, for free, using just the device in your hand.”
This is pretty cool actually, you can borrow audiobooks for free from any library that you are a member of.
When the borrow time is up the book disappears from your device.
I think I just like the idea of not having to get the bloody things back on time!
Playground Finder (free)
I use this app a lot on the road when I rock into a new town and need somewhere for the kids to burn some energy.
Just pay attention to reviews from other users. If it has a four star or higher rating you can be pretty certain it’ll be a good one.
“Playground Finder is the ultimate handy tool for families.
Use it in your local area to find playgrounds you didn’t know existed.
Use it when travelling to discover convenient break spots where the kids can let off steam.
The Playground Finder app is slick, well-designed, easy to use and really, really convenient.”
Playground Buddy (free)
Another super handy playground finder, awesome when you are somewhere new.
“Playground Buddy is a free app that helps families find playgrounds.
Our mission is to make it easy for you and your family to get out and be active! Our listings of playgrounds is worldwide.”
Borrow Box (free)
Another app to give access to audiobooks via your library membership.
“The BorrowBox app makes it easy to browse, borrow and read or listen to your library’s eBooks and eAudiobooks anywhere, everywhere.
If BorrowBox is available through your local library you can simply login with your member details to access the library’s collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks. “
Funky Kids Radio (free)
An app for listening to radio dedicated to kids.
“WOOT! Australia’s first children’s radio station. 24/7.
We are on a crusade for little ears…working hard to bring you the best in family music and entertainment from Australian and International Artists.”
Little Rockers Radio (free)
Another radio station devoted to kids and their families. This one is created by an Australian mum.
You will find lullabies, meditation and story time among other things.
“24/7 music, nursery rhymes and more.
We love encouraging movement through healthy programming, supporting families and offering entertainment away from the screen. Little Rockers Radio is a 24/7 online radio station just for kids from birth to 6, and their Mums, Dads & Carers!
Created by an Australian Mum for Mums, we hope you love Little Rockers as much as we love putting it together for you!”
Voice Memos (free)
I added this one because I often go on the hunt for audio versions of the kids favourite books and can’t find them. This way you can just create them.
Voice memo is a standard app on your iphone in utilities or extras, just look for the app with the icon pictured here.
If you have an android phone there are a bunch of simple free voice recording apps out there.
The other thing that is awesome is to get family members or friends that are close to the kids to record a story when they come to visit or when you are visiting them.
That way the kids can listen to books being read by the family members that they maybe don’t see as often as we’d like.
Just hit the red button and record yourself reading the story, press the red button again if you need to pause for a sec and then hit done when you are finished.
The app will then prompt you to name the file and save it to your recordings list.
I just make sure that I add the name of the reader to the title (Mum, Nana, Grandpa etc)
Story Box Library ($4.99 per month or $39.99 per year)
Oh man, I ummed and ahhed about adding this one because it’s not an app and it is geared to be used in conjunction with video. You can listen to it on your phone in the car though.
In saying that I listened to the stories without the video and it was great anyway so I figure it can be squeezed into the screen free category.
This is so cool… It’s Australian stories read by well known actors, authors, comedians, activists and poets among other things.
Among them are Nick Cave, Jay Laga’aia, Jimmy Rees, Missy Higgins, Kate Richie, Lior Attar, the list goes on.
I mean, seriously, a story book read by Nick Cave, it had to make the list! 🙂
Use this link to head over to the FAQS page for instructions on how to listen on your phone.
“Story Box Library is a subscription based educational website, created for Australian children to view stories by Australian authors and illustrators, being read aloud by fantastic storytellers.”
“Storynory has been giving free audio stories to the world since November 2005. We are a podcast and a website with audio streaming.
We are also starting to produce more factual content including history and interviews. The aim of our factual programming to stimulate a curiosity about the world, and the ability to think critically.”
Kids Listen (free)
“Podcasts are a perfect screen-free activity for kids. Listen to favorite shows, and discover new ones, with the Kids Listen app!
Kids Listen is a nonprofit made up of podcasters, parents, and teachers advocating for high-quality audio content for kids. We understand that kids are deep and thoughtful listeners.”
Well, there you go, I hope that helps keep the little suckers occupied! If you need some ideas when it comes to podcasts then check out perfect podcasts for family road trips.
As always, please do let me know if there is a screen free app you use in the car with littles, I’d love to add it to the list.
Be sure to check out handy apps for road tripping and camping for an awesome list of useful apps for the grown ups.
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