Fun with Holiday Apps

By Jinny Gudmundsen, Editor and Founder, Tech with Kids Digital Magazine

If your kids are like mine when they were young, they vibrate with excitement whenever a holiday draws near. They reminisce about what you did last year, jump up and down with excitement for what is coming, and beg to get started — early.

Downloading the right holiday apps can help focus your children’s energy onto exploring new things, thereby enhancing your children’s holiday experiences. Why not start some new traditions, using apps?

At Tech with Kids, we help you by reviewing hundreds of apps and culling only the best into recommended lists covering a variety of topics. For the upcoming holidays, we created the rec list Fun Christmas & Holiday Apps for Kids. Let’s take a closer look at a few apps on that list.

Categories: Digital Play, Imaginative Play, Physical Toys & Games

Target age: 3 and up

Skill level: Beginner

Materials: Stuff you can get quickly from the store or delivery

Prep time: 1 to 30 minutes

What You’ll Need

  • holiday-themed items such as a nutcracker, ornaments, bowls, etc.
  • downloaded apps

The Activity

  • Deck your device

To deck your device with holiday cheer, a good place to start is with classic holiday stories. With the newly released How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – Read & Play – Dr. Seuss app from Oceanhouse Media, all of the classic book’s original artwork and words appear on these digital pages, but now you see fun animations and control the delightful interactivity by touch, swipe and tilt. Your kids can make the Whos down in Whoville sing by running their fingers over the crowd. They can also play seven fun holiday games, including hidden objects puzzles, nestled inside the pages. This new version is only on iOS, so if you are on Android, use the older (and less interactive, but still fun) How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – Dr. Seuss from the same developer.

  • Extend the app with real-world play

Since one of the holiday games inside of the How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – Read & Play – Dr. Seuss app is about finding specific holiday objects in a crowded scene, you can play something similar using real holiday objects. After collecting five to 10 objects, arrange them on a table (use fewer objects for younger children). Ask your child to study the arrangement and then close their eyes. Remove one object. Can your child name what is missing? Then reverse your roles, so that you are the one having to guess what has disappeared.

  • Create a gingerbread house with no baking mess

If baking isn’t your thing, kids can still take pride in designing a gingerbread house with the app Gingerbread Doodle by Shoe the Goose. This app provides plenty of creativity without the sticky cleanup. And when kids have completed their culinary masterpiece, they can take a photo before tapping on their creation to “eat” it.

  • Add in some Ho-Ho-Ho

To infuse silliness into your holiday play, try Toca Hair Salon – Christmas Gift, a free app about cutting and styling Santa’s hair and beard. Want to deck Santa out with a beard of red and green stripes? No problem. Kids can also snip the boughs of a Christmas Tree character, and bedeck it with ornaments and bows!

  • Paint Hanukkah art

If your family celebrates Hanukkah, 123 Color: Hanukkah Coloring Book by Steve Glinberg offers lots of coloring pages, with cool options including paint-by-numbers.


Share a photo and win!

Share a photo of your family doing this activity in the comments on our Facebook post or on Twitter with #31DaysofPlay! Every Friday we’ll choose one photo from the week to win a Toca Boca Play Kit full of swag, stickers, and a $15 iTunes Gift Card.

About the Author

Jinny Gudmundsen, Editor and Founder, Tech with Kids

Jinny is a professional children’s technology expert who is the founder and editor of Tech with Kids, a free digital magazine that publishes expert reviews and Best Picks recommendation lists of children’s apps, video games, websites and tech toys. Their mission is to help parents, grandparents, teachers and other caregivers to find the best tech to use with their kids. Jinny is also author of the For Dummies book “iPad Apps for Kids.”