Sometimes you unplug the wifi and chase your kids outside to make sure they still know what sunlight is. Other times a waiting room lives up to its name or a highway goes all parking lot on you, and a good app is really your only hope. For those times, here are six apps you and your kids can play together.
Don’t let the adorable mascots fool you. These two-player minigames are no joke. Take a side of your mobile device, pick your competitive poison, and prepare to trash talk your kid as you test your hand-eye coordination against those of a digital native. It’s a bit like challenging a teething toddler to a drooling contest, only less messy.
Here’s another game that has you sharing the touch screen with your competition. But in this case, you can have as many as four players tapping away. There’s not much music education going in the operatic chaos, but the audio and visuals are hilarious, and it’s a great way to decide who chooses the restaurant on road trips.
Available on iOS for $2.99.
Where the last two apps bring out your inner happy hyper Hungry Hungry Hippo champ, Shadowmatic calms you down. It’s a beautifully designed puzzle game that relies on imagination, patience, and three-dimensional thinking. Pass the device back and forth between you and your kids and you’ll be sad when the road trip ends.
When you want to unlock a bit of creativity, pull up Draw Something. You take turns choosing a subject to try and draw on your touch screen. Your partner then watches your drawing as a video and tries to guess the subject. This one’s collaborative rather than competitive, which can be nice for kids (or parents) who are bad winners.
On your screen is part of a spaceship’s dashboard, along with a contextual display that tells you what settings need adjusting to keep your tin can spinning safely through space. The problem? The settings that need changing might not be on your slice of the dashboard. That means you’ve got to call it out to one of your teammates, who’re all busy calling out changes of their own. If you’ve ever dreamed of stressing out in space, or if you and your kids just need a safe reason to scream at each other, this is a must for your crew.
Here’s one for the young fiction enthusiasts in your life. You’ll receive periodic messages from a man stranded on an alien moon. You’re the only soul he’s managed to contact, so it's on you to help him survive. Read the transmissions aloud to your kids so you can suffer together over each decision you have to make. You’ll find yourself Googling facts about radiation and starvation to better inform your choices. A (fictional) man’s life hangs in the balance. If the nurse finally calls your kid’s name during a transmission, you might tell them it’s their turn to wait.
Have you tried any of these? Got any other multiplayer apps to recommend?
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