Kids apps for school holidays

See our list of 15 great apps to keep children amused in the school holidays.

Age-specific apps for children

As the dust settles on another school year family thoughts turn to holidays and leisure time over the (hopefully) hot summer holidays. Whether you are going away or staying at home, finding ways to play and relax with your children is essential.

One way to do this is with interactive apps and games for smartphones and tablets that parents and children can enjoy together. From pure entertainment to educational and competitive experiences here are the top 10 apps to keep you and your kids happy all summer.

Interactive apps for 0-5 Years

Toca life vacation

Stimulates the imagination for both parents and kids

Go On Vacation in Toca Life: Vacation trailer

This is the latest in the Toca Life apps. Toca Life: Vacation lets children determine how the story should evolve.

Offering highly interactive open worlds, players investigate different holiday locations. From picking different forms of travel to all sorts of holiday activities Toca Life: Vacation will spark young children’s imagination like no other app.

Age: 4+
Cost: £2.49
Available on Android and iOS

Sesame Street Family Play

Offers simple games to play offline with kids anywhere

Sesame Street Family Play from Sesame Street

If you’d like an app that takes your child away from the screen and keeps them occupied whether at home, in the car or travelling long distances, this is the app for you.

It offers parents 150 fun ideas for games to explore with children that help them to improve their critical thinking, self-regulation, memorisation and more. At the end of each game it the skills practiced are highlighted.

Age: 4+
Cost: £0.79
Available on iOS

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Interactive apps for 0-5 Years

Skylanders Battlecast

Free-to-play deck-building card battle game

Skylanders Battlecast trailer

If you have Skylanders fans in the family, or are looking for an interactive, strategic card game you can all enjoy together, this is perfect. In Skylanders Battlecast players collect physical cards that can be scanned into the app for special abilities.

The game involves refining your deck of abilities and then using each one strategically in a series of card battles. Along with the well balanced gameplay is an augmented reality feature that sees your Skylanders battle in the real world. It sounds simple but take a lot of time and skill to master, so will entertain older children  for long periods.

Age:  9+
Cost: Free (feature in-app purchase)
Available on Android and iOS

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Osmo

Set of fun educational family games

Osmo offers connects physical gaming with the digital world.

Osmo is a range of educational apps for the iPad. Each one requires a set of physical pieces to interact with and uses a special mirror to cast the gaze of the iPad’s camera down to the desk and the pieces laid on it.

This creates simple spelling, maths and coding games that are intuitive and educational. It’s the simplicity of the app that makes it great for families. There’s even some multiplayer modes for parents and children to play competitively or cooperatively.

Age:  6+
Cost: £29 – £129
Available on iOS

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Minecraft – Pocket Edition

Mobile version of the ever-popular Minecraft

Minecraft Pocket Edition Trailer

It’s easy to dismiss Minecraft as a game children have already played extensively. However, if your family hasn’t tried the pocket edition it’s well worth a look. Not only does it include all the latest updates but offers a simple way to create new worlds on the go.

Play this with your child to take turns building and exploring and it can create a unique way to enjoy time together. We’ve often created vast family projects in the virtual wildlands of Minecraft. It’s worth noting if playing online children can communicate with other players. This can be avoided by playing alone or playing with an adult present.

Age:  9+
Cost: £4.99
Available on Android and iOS

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Alto’s Adventure

Endless runner snowboarding video game

Alto’s Adventure  Trailer

The premise of this endless-runner app is simple: ski down an infinite mountain to catch your escaped Llamas. The beautiful graphics and super-simple controls make this ideal for children of all ages. Simply tap the screen to jump over obstacles and hold your finger down longer to pull of tricks.

As you play, the mountain landscape changes from day to night and from sun to rain. Take turns in the family to compete for the high score and unlock new characters. You will often find your children doing considerably better than yourself, which is great for their confidence.

Age:  9+
Cost: Free
Available on Android and iOS

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Dragonbox Algebra

Game that secretly teaches algebra

Dragonbox Algebra Trailer

This is a simple puzzle game about matching and manipulating different boxes to clear each screen. With beautiful visuals and great sound effects, players will enjoy progressing through the levels.

What they don’t realise is that this gently teaches algebra from the very basics to advanced simultaneous equations. The genius is that does this with pictures and sounds and kids don’t even notice they’re learning.

Age:  6+
Cost: £3.99
Available on Android and iOS

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Internet Matters App

Easy to learn two player game on a single screen

Internet Matters e-Safety App demo

‘Internet Matters’ is our app designed to help parents talk about online safety issues with their children, and to ensure that they make smart choices to stay safe online.

The split-screen collaborative app helps them think about what they would do if they were faced with different situations online; from cyberbullying to sharing content with someone they don’t know

Age:  8+
Cost: Free
Available on Android and iOS

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Wrestle Jump

Easy to learn two player game on a single screen

Wrestle Jump  Trailer

This is a fun app for two players. One person holds each end of the app and has a button to press. The challenge for each player is to get the opponents head on the ground by timing your button pressing perfectly.

It sounds simple but actually winning is more complicated than it sounds as the game uses real-time physics to calculate the result of each button press.

Age:  9+
Cost: £0.79
Available on Android and iOS

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Interactive apps for 11- 13 Years

Pokemon GO

Augmented Reality game that encourages outdoor play

Pokemon Go Trailer

The app of the moment is worth considering for summertime fun with the family. Like other Pokemon games, you must find and capture a variety of fantasy creatures. Unlike other games, this is achieved not on the screen but in the real world. Using your GPS location the app tells you when Pokemon are nearby when you use your phone camera to catch them.

Like geocaching it offers a perfect excuse for getting on summer walks. Play the game together and you can compete to collect the most Pokemon. You can also visit special Gym battle locations to take on other Pokemon players in your city. Playing it together as a family also reduces the risk of your children wandering into locations you’d rather they avoid.

Age:  11+
Cost: Free
Available on Android and iOS

Spaceteam

Multiplayer video game where teams shout technobabble to win

Pokemon Go Trailer

This unusual game is like no other. Up to four players are each presented with a spaceship’s control panel on their separate devices. They must then communicate to tell each other which buttons, levers, and sliders need adjusting before the time runs out. As the clock ticks down it turns into a frantic game of communication and quick reactions. Play this with the family over the summer and you’ll discover just how good (or bad) you are at working as a team — and have a lot of fun and laughs along the way.

Age:  9+
Cost: Free
Available on Android and iOS

Oceanhorn

Action-adventure video game

Oceanhorn Trailer

This is an exceptional adventure game for tablets and smart phones. Beautiful graphics and an orchestral score offer an adventure experience.

Taking a cue from games like Zelda on Nintendo systems you will explore a variety of worlds developing your skills and resources. Dungeons offer more of a puzzle challenge all the while a compelling story calls you forward. Play the game together as a family and discover what monsters are lurking under the seas.

Age:  11+
Cost: £6.99
Available on Android and iOS

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Heads Up!

Party game created by the Ellen DeGeneres Show

Head Up! Trailer

Heads Up! is a great party game for families and friends that combines video games and games we love to play in the real world. The app offers a range of options and addtional in-app purchases for great add-ons.

The goal of the game is to guess the answers and give hints for them. You can also watch your friends and family make hints by making actions which adds another element of fun.

Age:  11+
Cost: £0.79
Available on Android and iOS

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Interactive apps for 14+ Years

A Dark Room 

A role-playing text-based game with a difference

Gromsocial-screens

This unusual adventure game is for the older children in the family and offers an intriguing and unique experience. Presented with a single button that lights a fire, the game is presented entirely in text.

This may sound old fashioned but what incrementally develops from that single button press is a sprawling adventure with surprise enemies and a huge map to explore Pokemon style exploration, resource management and real time battles. It’s like a truly interactive story time where parents can engage directly with their children.

Age:  11+
Cost: £0.79
Available on Android and iOS

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Bounden 

Dacing game for two people, a mixture of twister and ballet

Bounden Trailer

Dancing game for two players, with choreography by the Dutch National Ballet. Twist and twirl elegantly, or get entangled with a friend.

Holding either end of a device, you tilt the device around a virtual sphere following a path of rings. You swing your arms and twist your body, and before you know it, you are already dancing.

Age:  14+
Cost: £2.29
Available on Android and iOS

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