Keep them distracted: Apps to keep kids occupied

Yes, we’ve all heard the exact same arguments from parenting experts, teachers, and even the government: too much time on video games can’t be good for kids and young people. They are often repeatedly discouraged from spending too much time in the company of games on PCs, consoles, and even handhelds. Schools and organizations everywhere spend millions on campaigns urging kids and young people to go out more in the real world, make friends, play sports, and experience the outdoors. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with all this.

But you’d be lying if you said you didn’t even at least think about distracting the kids with a few games on these occasions: say it’s you, your spouse, and kids all in the confined space of your family car headed for a cross-country trip to some relatives or a vacation out of state, and you’ve just about done every single eye-spy variation you could think of. Or maybe you’re working from home and desperately trying to sort out managing your RingCentral system to contact someone oceans away, all while the kids are wailing about boredom in the background. Just a small distraction get everything sorted out while they’re occupied.

Some parents like to turn on the TV and let them watch cartoons, others like to distract them with games. And there’s no harm in that either.

Temple Run: This will kill time like nothing has ever killed time before. And it does help dexterity. But seriously, Temple Run is one of the top selling games for a reason it can get pretty addictive. It’s simple, after all: you run from a pack of scary-looking adversaries. You jump to avoid falling, you turn left and right, you slide to dodge obstacles. There are achievements to get, getting increasingly more difficult. This kills a good hour or two.

Fruit Ninja: There’s nothing that kids like more than swiping at things they have no business swiping at. This gives them that chance a game where the objective is to slice as many fruit as possible. Finally, a chance for them to put to use all the pretend-ninja training they have while wearing mom’s scarves wrapped around their faces. Bonus: over tablet, the game admits two-player. Let’s see them out-ninja each other.

Virtual Bubble Wrap: Short of searching the house for some bubble wrap that would distract even adults (don’t lie, you know you do it too), the app simulates the act of popping some bubble wrap, and the wrap regenerates itself after a set time, so it’s endless popping. This game would certainly amuse the toddlers, but try to find a backup in case their limited attention span looks for something else.

Drawing Pad: Now here’s something that will definitely keep them at it for a while simulating a sheet of notebook paper and an assortment of art tools that can be selected by touch (along with various colors), Drawing Pad just allows the kids to scribble away and draw on the sheet, and even let them save their masterpieces before starting a fresh page. Great fun, great for creativity, and you won’t have to worry about paint all over the walls later.

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