Most families now have some electronic portable device in their household that family members use. Many families have laptops, iPads / tablets, or smartphones for everyone. Children may use it for homework, online class work, fun past time on social media, or regular communications.  How do parents figure out which ones are the best apps for families?

These gadgets can download some helpful, fun, and functional apps for their users. Luckily, there are now countless apps from developers – both mainstream and independent – with different areas to help families.

The following list looks at the must-have apps in different categories. Some are fun for all the family, while others are more practical.

General Apps That Families Can’t Do Without

The best place to start is with all these apps that are essential for anyone with a tablet. A family of four has as much use of some of these as a single twenty-something.

Online shopping is now even easier with a dedicated app. This can provide easy links to deal with big names, such as via Amazon and other leading providers. Then there are the streaming services.

Families should check out related catch-up services for local channels. They are a great help when parents miss an episode of a favorite program. Then there are the films through Netflix and Amazon Prime and music through Spotify.

Finally, families should look at apps for file sharing and other conveniences. Dropbox and Evernote are ideal for those that need to bring work home with them to work on, and to share files easily.

Educational Apps

Educational Apps

There is often the argument that we don’t want our children playing on tablets too much. But, what if they were learning at the same time. There are many different games and educational apps out there for kids. Some provide help with homework. Others teach without them knowing it.

Parents can search for age-appropriate content and see what fits. The Starfall series is great for toddlers learning their ABC and numbers. Older children can learn biology with interactive apps like The Human Body, or Coding with Hopscotch.

Then there are all the apps related to their favorite shows and characters. Sesame Street and Disney apps can provide a fun approach to learning, but sometimes at a higher price. There are knock-offs out there for free, but there aren’t as good.

Playtime For Children

When the kids have been good and applied learning with the educational apps, there is time to play. There are lots of kid-friendly games to choose from. Also, parents should not forget about the many different pet-based apps that are available. They can be the sole responsibility of the child owning the tablet, or a virtual family pet.

Parents should note that with the latter circumstance, they may be to blame if the virtual pet dies. On a related note, there are also apps for finding real pets for adoption in the local area, such as PetMatch.

Playtime For Adults

It is not just kids that need some time out on the tablet. Adults can benefit from a break with apps for social media. This means Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or whatever else you are into.

There are device-friendly apps for ease of access around the home or on the go. There are also hundred of games out there to help adults pass the time on a quick break. Quiz Up is great for an office or a family hour. The quizzes keep updating, so there is no repetition.

It is important to remember with all the adult-focused games and apps to look at parental controls for the kids. Parents don’t want them seeing content that is inappropriate. It is also best to place restrictions on games with in-game purchasing.

Family Organization

How to parents help the household running with apps? There are apps for list building, organization calendars and more. Cozi is a great option for multiple types of lists and full organization of family life. They can be then shared between devices, and the basic version is free.

Family Organization

There are also apps for traffic management to help find the best route to school, work the store or anywhere. Maybe parents will want to check the weather before leaving with Dark Sky.

Finally, Spoiler Shield is a must for parents that miss a show and want to block references on social media until they catch up.

Apps For General Well-Being

Everyone in the family could use some down time where they don’t focus on work or those frantic games. A little time to chill out is essential. Thankfully, or perhaps ironically, many families can now turn to apps to help with destressing, meditation, yoga and more.

One of the more popular options here is Headspace, a service with guided meditations for 10 minutes a day. Others may like the 7 Minute Workout, which is as the name suggests. This is a simple guided workout to do anywhere with fun mobile guidance.

Another helpful app for switching off the brain is White Noise, that plays background sounds to block out distractions. This is also great for helping users get to sleep.

Food And Cooking Apps

Finally, there are the recipe and shopping apps like the Fooducate barcode scanner for nutritional information. This highlights problem foods, potential allergens and helps families to take right decisions. What wine is best to go with the meal? The app offers a database of information of over a million bottles that are accessible by scanning a barcode.

This is the start of all the different apps that are available. It offers a little breakdown of some of the essential categories but just scratches the surface on what it out there.

The best step for families is to go to the store of their tablet or phone provider and browse. These stores also work by category, highlighting new releases and best sellers.

There is no harm in downloading a freebie, trying it out and uninstalling it if it is not useful. Those that try new app can find some diamonds in the rough that can help with family life.

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