Traveling with kids is a complicated ordeal. Sure, watching our kids experience new places and learn new things is a satisfying treat. But being on the road with bored, crabby, whining kids can quickly take a toll on one’s sanity.
Well, we’ve learned that careful planning and preparation can go a long way in making a trip successful. A key element is ensuring that kids are sufficiently entertained, and for that we turn to iPad apps.
There are many good apps out there that you can load up on your iPad, but here’s a nifty one we recommend: NetKids, a digital library from Cupcake Digital. It’s a subscription-based library where you get unlimited access to Cupcake Digital’s vast catalog of apps, books, videos, and activities.
How it Works
The app itself is simple and easy to use. Recommended and recently downloaded titles are placed at the top for easy viewing, along with a Search bar if you want to look up a specific title. You can browse content by character, such as Peanuts, Barney, Max and Ruby, or browse by category: activities, videos, narrated storybooks, and apps.
There are hundreds of titles readily available for kids ages 2-9 at the time I’m writing this review. What’s impressive is that each has been put together well. The books have beautiful illustrations, professional narration, and text-highlighting feature. The videos can be downloaded in HD and come with closed captioning.
A highlight of the app is its ability to save content for offline viewing. Once you’ve downloaded a title, you don’t need an Internet connection to view it again. This makes the app convenient for car rides, airplanes, or waiting rooms.
You should also know that you can create a profile for each of your child from within the the secured Settings menu. Based on the child’s profile, the library will recommend the age-appropriate titles. You can also customize which titles you want to appear (or hide) in the library, manage downloaded content, adjust quality settings for videos and books, and set permission for downloading content using cellular data.
Parents Need to Know
NetKids is free to download from the App Store for iPhone and iPad. The initial download includes several titles that you can view for free. You can also enroll in the free 7-day trial if you want to test the waters.
The app contains no advertising and no in-app purchases aside for the initial subscription. External links kept in a secure section for parents. Once content has been downloaded, Internet access is not required to view it.
Things I Like
To be honest, I prefer standalone apps over subscription-based libraries. I like the flexibility of choosing my own apps, but as an app reviewer I do get to try more apps than the average person. For most people, I can see why NetKids is an appealing option.
First of all, the app is from a developer with a proven track record of producing good, entertaining, and safe apps for kids. It also provides hours of entertainment in various forms. It’s definitely a lifesaver if you’re ever pressed for time before a trip -- just install this one app and you should be all set.
What’s more, the titles are age-appropriate and can be customized based on your child’s age or household preferences. The ability to create profiles for multiple children means you get your money’s worth.
As for improvements, I would like to be able to read a summary of a book or video before downloading it. It would also be helpful if I could pause or cancel a download in progress, as it wasn’t uncommon for me to accidentally tap an item while scrolling through the library.
NetKids brings hours of fun, age-appropriate entertainment in one convenient app. For a monthly subscription, you get unlimited access to Cupcake Digital’s catalog of apps, games, books, and videos. The ability to download content for offline viewing makes the app a suitable travel companion for kids. Recommended for ages 2-9.
Get it on the App Store: iPad/iPhone
App was suggested for our honest review. Subscription to unlock the full content of the app was purchased by us.