Android phones and tablets have many incredibly valuable uses from helping us to organise our to-do lists and our workflows, to helping us find our way around in new cities. One of the most powerful and impactful uses of Android of all though has got to be its ability to keep children quiet for long periods of time when we need a break. This is particularly useful on a long journey where questions of ‘are we there yet’ could otherwise cause us to have a full-on mental breakdown.
But while Androids are powerful distraction aids, they are only effective if you have the right software installed first. Read on and we’ll look at some of the apps and games that can best keep a child quiet for long periods of time…
Netflix: This one will only work if you have a good contract that lets you use a lot of data without charging the Earth. If you have such a contract though, then you can pretty much forget your children bothering you whatsoever: just set up a few good films and TV shows for them to watch, give them some headphones and then enjoy some peace and quiet for the next two hours. Genius!
If you don’t have Netflix, or you don’t want to stream your videos, then you can of course achieve something similar by saving videos to your SD card then using any video player to watch them.
Reicast: This is a very new app for Android devices and will only work on the more top-end phones and tablets. If you can run it though, this will keep most children quiet and happy for hours as they play through some of the most iconic games of the last decade.
What is Reicast? It’s a Dreamcast emulator. That means that as long as you have the original copies of the games, you’re able to play them on your mobile device in all of their glory. The Dreamcast was home to some incredible titles in its heyday including Sonic Adventure 1 & 2, Crazy Taxi and the legendary Shenmue and because these games were designed to be played on home consoles, they’re much more involving and in-depth than most mobile games.
Crazy Taxi and two other Dreamcast games: Jet Set Radio and Chu Chu Rocket are also available as downloads from the Google Play Store if you don’t want to mess around with emulators and you want a more optimised experience.
Marvel: The Marvel App basically will allow your kids to read comics on their mobile devices. If your children are into that, then this can provide you with a lot of peace and quiet again while giving them the kind of excitement that can help to keep them quiet when you don’t have a bounch house handy for them to jump on. There are some comics on here for free, but the majority will cost a few dollars so make sure that you’ve turned off ‘in app purchases’ before you hand your device over. Installing one of the popular graphic novels first should give you at least forty minutes of peace.
Kindle: That said, a lot of children are still very much into reading and books. If your child is something of a bookworm, then consider downloading the Kindle App and turning your device into an eBook reader. There are plenty of great children’s books on the Kindle store though again you need to turn off in-app purchases as a precaution.
WhatsApp: Another way that children love to spend time these days is by chatting to their friends. With WhatsApp or another free messaging app (Facebook works well too) they can do this easily and to their heart’s content without costing anything or making any noise.
Spotify: Letting them listen to music is also a good way to keep kids quiet, and especially if it ends up lulling them to sleep. Spotify gives you access to thousands of tracks and lets you download them to listen to on the move too. When they’ve had their fill of playing games and reading, suggest they look out the window and listen to some soothing music and they should be snoozing in no time.