How to solve a problem like a bored child? These three activity apps hold the answer.
Parks and play areas are are always good option for entertaining children. Though it helps if you live in the eternally sunny land of, say, California. However, balmy weather isn’t such a sure bet for us in the UK. Over here, you have to have a plan of action. Which is where activity apps come in useful.
I’ll let you in on a little secret – not all apps and websites are useful. After much research and attending multiple activities with my daughter, I’ll to share my top 3 four free online apps (plus a bonus website) that every parent should download pronto.
Note: these are apps for children’s activities. By activities I mean actual ‘active’ step-out-of-the-house action. These are not, I repeat, not games or videos for them to play or watch.
Hoop – Available free for iPhones and Androids
Hoop allows you to book an activity a day before and sometimes even on the same day. It offers activities for different times of the day, so you’re free to schedule a fun class around your little ones nap time. The search feature is great – it allows you to search for relevant classes according to date, time, distance and categories. When you do find what suits you best, you don’t have to sign up for a term or multiple classes. You can easily just sign up for one class. Don’t miss Hoop’s activities for children with special educational needs and disabilities as well.
The Co-Founder of Hoop, Max Jennings, told us: “Everything you see on the app is personalised to your family. Making it easy to discover and book things going on locally that your kids will love. From local family events to term time classes. We list over 70,000 different family activities each month. One in five of all our listings are completely free to attend.”
Yuggler – Available free for iPhones and Androids
This popular app not only offers some super creative classes but also helps you find family events and happenings close to you. It gives you a lot of detail into each activity with visuals of the space/activity so you have a better idea of what you’re signing up for. Its search bar allows you to discover classes within seconds by filtering them according to gender, age, location, category AND the weather – a unique feature that is most needed in unpredictable Blighty. It also allows you to filter according to the duration of the class, which personally I found to be very useful.
Don’t miss the reviews left under each class by other parents, those always have customised tips. It (according to the filters you have set) gives you a top 10 lists of activities that suit your family the most. They’re making life too easy for us, aren’t they?
Meetup – Available for free for iPhones and Androids
The good news is that Meetup caters to fathers, married or single. Most Meetup activities for toddlers/children are based with or around other parents near you. If you’re looking to make new friends, this is a great and underrated path to follow. Just make sure you bring your brightest smile with you.
The downside is that it doesn’t offer you flexibility. You can’t log on in the morning to plan an afternoon activity. Planning ahead and confirming your attendance in advance is recommended. If you do decide to go to an event through Meetup; be sure to use the feature of contacting the organiser. This small yet solid feature gives you a window into the exact details and logistics that help you gage if it’s worth your time or not.
If you’re thinking that you don’t want to limit yourself to apps, visit Kiddiplan – a website that caters to a broader age range of children. From toddlers to the age of 10 and occasionally higher. Sign up (its quick and easy), use the filters to refine your search and viola. A unique offering is that Kiddiplan offers educational classes and languages, such as French and Chinese, at affordable rates.
A secret tip about kiddiplan is that they offer classes that don’t require the parent to stay. Dropping off your child for an hour, will give you some much needed time for yourself.
I hope you never have to hear “I’m bored!” again. Is that wishful thinking?