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The best apps to keep kids entertained in the car

A selection of the best Android and iOS apps ideal for entertaining kids of any age while on a long journey.

Keep kids entertained on long journeys in the car

Keep kids entertained on long journeys in the car

All parents will know that travelling any distance with children in the car can be arduous. The journey usually features seat kicking, questions of ‘are we nearly there yet?’ and sibling squabbles (if you have more than one). Before the dread of the journey descends you’ll need to make sure you are prepared for a family road trip with our checklist and top tips.

If you prefer a more analogue approach to entertainment you can check out these 6 simple ways to keep kids entertained in the car. But as the majority of children are plugged in nowadays, what better way to keep them quiet in the back whether you’re travelling a short distance or further afield?

We’ve searched through apps suitable for kids of all ages so you don’t have to. Here are our top picks to download for your next trip. Just make sure all devices are charged or there’ll be trouble!

Apps for young kids

CBeebies storytime

(iOS and Android)

Interactive stories your kids can choose to read, or have read to them if they can’t yet read, featuring CBeebies characters. Kids can choose new stories from the library and download them onto their device. The app holds 12 stories at a time, but you can swap new stories in and out whenever you like. The good news is that you don’t need an internet connection to access the stories, so they can be read anywhere.

Price: Free

Lego Juniors Create & Cruise

(iOS and Android)

Designed for kids aged 4–7, this app lets them build their own virtual vehicles and mini–figures using the popular building brick in digital form. If the kids are using your phone you’ll be glad there are no links to third-party websites or in app purchases that they could add to your bill.

Price: Free

Dr Panda Restaurant

(iOS and Android)

Kids can use this app to help them learn about food and how to cook without making a mess in the kitchen, particularly useful when in the car. Kids don’t need to read to play it so it’s suitable for little ones. The developer Dr. Panda offers several other games designed for kids, none of which contain third party advertising or in-app purchases.

Price: £2.99

YouTube kids

(iOS and Android)

A safer version of YouTube that filters the stuff kids shouldn’t be viewing in an easy-to-use interface. The parental control is extensive for this one, allowing you to turn on or off search, place a time limit control and clear and pause history.

Price: Free

Apps for Tweens

Move the Turtle


If you’ve got a budding computer programmer on your hands they would love Move the Turtle, a game designed to teach kids the basics of coding, using games to develop their skills so they can eventually learn to write their own code.

Price: £3.99


(iOS and Android)

Create free-form vector designs, meaning it turns doodles into a graphic image and is a part of the Adobe Illustrator family but with a simplified interface. Although streamlined, the app can be quite difficult for first-time users however there are online tutorials. If your child is interested in graphic design this offers an introduction to Adobes’s tools that are often used in the industry. They can browse community drawings for inspiration and it allows you to draw on top of photos so you could upload a colouring page, set it up and let younger children colour in.

Price: Free

Toca Lab


For wannabe chemists, this app allows kids to experiment with elements of the periodic table without blowing anything up in the process. It helps kids to learn, although there is limited scientific truth it is a fun introduction and with 118 elements to experiment with it’ll certainly keep them quiet for a while.

Price: £2.99

Sound Uncovered


This app is an interactive book that lets kids explore the world of sound and the science behind how we hear. It has an easy-to-use interface with visually appealing images and fun experiments and still helps kids to learn. It would definitely be worth plugging in the headphones for this one. Unfortunately, it is only available for iPad.

Price: Free

Apps for Teens

Amazon Kindle

(iOS, Android, PC and Mac)

If your teen likes to read the largest online bookstore might pique their interest. With more than 3 million books on offer there’s sure to be something that they’ll like. You can switch between reading and listening to stories without losing your place in the book – ideal if your kids aren’t keen on reading and travelling in a car.

Like most e-reader apps an internet connection is needed to download books, so make sure that the app is stocked up before you head off.

Price: Free


(iOS, Android and Windows)

If you’re driving to a camping trip to the south of France or a Spanish beach getaway the kids can pick up the lingo on the way there with this app. There are more than 20 languages you can choose from to learn through interactive games set out in an easy-to-use format.

Price: Free

About the Author

Nicole Ferguson

Staff writer at Arnold Clark