By Common Sense Media
Looking for a fun way to share time with Dad? You might be surprised to find that some of his interests are just an app screen away. We’ve gathered 14 cool apps that should fit just about any father out there. From the father that loves to be outside to the artistic dad that spends lots of time in the studio, there’s something to love on this list. These apps could also be a great way to spend time together with your dad on Father’s Day — or any day.
Plum’s Photo Hunt, 7+ Plum’s Photo Hunt combines nature and tech in a way Dad and kids can enjoy together. Kids get missions to find and snap a photo of something outdoors, from specific items, such as leaves and rocks, to things that involve critical thinking to find, such as patterns and animal habitats. Take Plum’s Photo Hunt with you on a Father’s Day hike or even on a walk around the neighborhood.
Virtual Geocaching – XNote, 12+ (but it also can be great for younger kids when used with a parent) Regular geocaching sends people on hunts that strangers design, but this app lets you design a treasure hunt and send it to people you know. It’s easy to “hide” a message and choose the place where “X” marks the spot. Dads and kids can create an outdoor adventure for the rest of the family or make one for each other!
How to Make Electricity, 9+ Though this app can be tricky for kids to dig into on their own, it’s the perfect blend of tech and science for dads and kids to play together. With four different labs, a variety of virtual experiments, and a free-play zone, you can create and learn together. Don’t forget the Parent Guide, as it offers some great material to add to the experience.
Swift Playgrounds, 10+ Techie dads know coding is cool, and this easy-to-use visual tool lets dads and kids create games and animations together. With coding challenges, a sleek look, easy controls, and a fun way to try out your creations, this app a great opportunity to collaborate.
Toontastic 3D, 6+ A great way to bond is to make something together, and this app makes it easy (and fun!) for dads and kids to create fun stories. Not only can you choose and design characters, but you can also move them around, record, add music, and play back for the whole family. With a slick design and easy-to-use controls, you can spin fabulous tall tales in no time.
Blox 3D World Creator, 7+ Kids and dads can create their own universe — and then blow it up! With Minecraft feel, this world-creator has some cool features, like special animations and playback of your creation process. You can work together to plan and build, and if you’re into demolition, you can choose to explode your design and start over.
Dr. Panda’s Restaurant 2, 6+ (but it also can be great for even younger kids with Dad’s help) This role-playing app is fantastic for dads and kids to play together. Players experiment with different kitchen tools and ingredients to create dishes customers order. You can get as creative as you want, and the customers’ reactions are priceless. Dads and kids can have some great discussions while playing and even take ideas from the experience offline to whip up some real dishes together.
Instructables, 13+ Dads into cooking and enjoying good food will find thousands of cool recipes and food projects here. Even better, you can experiment together with your own recipes and share your creations with the Instructables community. Also, check out the contests — your favorite concoction might be a winner!
Charity Miles-Running and Walking Distance Tracker, 10+ Is your dad always looking for a way to make his daily bike rides or runs more effective or meaningful? Then introduce him to Charity Miles – Running and Walking Distance Runner to make his exercise help more than just himself. Every mile biked earns 10 cents, while walking and running earns 25 cents, which can be donated to more than 40 charities. Dad can get healthy and do a good deed at the same time, which is great for everyone involved! Plus, kids can always challenge dad by picking up the app to see who manages to raise more money for charity, which should spark some friendly competition.
Google Earth, 13+ (also OK for younger kids with adult supervision) If Dad will be away for Father’s Day or is planning a trip in the near future, giveGoogle Earth a spin so kids can see just where he’ll be. They’ll be able to see Dad’s destination with stunning visuals, including famous landmarks and businesses and even the terrain. With guidance kids also can check out YouTube videos and Wikipedia entries about Dad’s destination.
MSQRD, 10+ (but also great for younger kids if playing with a parent) Face swapping and filters are all the rage on platforms like Snapchat and Facebook, but MSQRD provides the same hilarious fun without having to worry about posting to social media (unless you want to). Kids and dads can make silly selfie videos with a constantly updating rotation of weird masks and effects.
Dubsmash, 16+ (kids and teens can play too with parent supervision and monitoring) This app lets users lip sync to their favorite songs or movie quotes, then play them back for loads of laughs. It’s so fun that even celebrities have gotten in on the action. Since many dubs involve multiple people, goofball dads and kids can play together. But parents should watch out for mature content like swearing and innuendo.
Other Family Fun
The Foolish King, 7+ Brainiacs and board game lovers will enjoy this imaginative app that gives a fictional explanation for the history of chess, then allows users to play the game in the app. With multiple difficulty levels and helpful hints built in, it’s is a great way for dads who are chess fans to share the game with younger players.
StoryCorps, 13+ (but a great choice for younger kids and adults to use together) Sharing stories can be an excellent way to connect with family, and this app makes it super easy to interview loved ones. Using built-in recording tips and interview questions — including ones specifically for parents and grandparents — kids can ask dad all about his life, childhood, or favorite family memories, maybe even making some new ones along the way.
Senior Games Editor Jeff Haynes, Senior Editor Christine Elgersma, Catalog Data Coordinator Frannie Ucciferri, and former Senior Editor Ingrid Simone contributed to this article.