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Apple curates stay-at-home fun for the entire family

Playing with an iPad
Playing with an iPad (Image credit: iMore)

With the world sheltering in place right now, we're all trying to figure out what to do to pass the time. Movies, TV, games, workouts, reading ... it's like we just got that extra few hours in the day we've always wanted because we're stuck inside. Apple's team behind the curtain has been busily building up recommendations for great content you can find to help pass the time while you're practicing social distancing. Here's just some of the great curated content Apple is recommending for the whole family.

TV+ for kids

The TV app has a dedicated page for families looking for TV content for kids. Kids can "Pick Your Pals" by choosing such topics as Frozen, Snoopy, Mickey Mouse, Doc McStuffins, SpongeBob SquarePants, and more.

When you click they click on a Pal, kids can start playing episodes and movies in services you subscribe to, like Amazon Prime Video and Disney+. If you don't subscribe to the service it's offered in, you can rent or buy content from iTunes (make sure your little ones aren't able to buy without your permission).

Pal pages also include related movies and TV shows and offer multiple options for how to watch the shows (Disney+, Hulu, or Curiosity Stream, for example).

If you have a subscription to TV+, you can set your kids down in front of their screens with Snoopy in Space (opens in new tab), Ghostwriter (opens in new tab), Helpsters (opens in new tab), and coming April 17, Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth.

To access all of this great family-friendly kid's content, just click or tap on the "Kids" tab in the TV app on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV (or your smart tv with TV app support).

Music for kids

I know, I know, the last thing you want is to listen to Baby Shark for the 1,000th time today. Here is your salvation. Apple has a page dedicated to kids (opens in new tab) on Apple Music, so you can ask Siri to play a playlist without worrying about the wrong message getting through.

We're talking Kids Dance Parties (opens in new tab), Family Road Trips (opens in new tab), and more. And, don't forget family-friendly iTunes radio stations like Disney Channel Music (opens in new tab) and Kids Bop (opens in new tab).

All you have to do is ask Siri on any of your musical Apple devices to play a playlist from the Kids section to get the dance party off the ground. If you want to browse through what's available, tap or click on Apple's Kids & Family (opens in new tab) page in Apple Music.

Video games for kids

Families that play together, stay together. Take some time to bond with your little ones by playing some fun family games together on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. With a subscription to Apple Arcade, up to six family members can play more than 100 games, but where you can really take advantage of the fun is by playing some of them together.

Games like Frogger in Toy Town (opens in new tab), Pac-Man Party Royale (opens in new tab), and LEGO Builder's Journey (opens in new tab) will put you all in the same immersive games, solving puzzles and beating the clock.

To access Family Games in Apple Arcade, hop on over to the Apple Arcade app and click or tap on "Great Games to Play Together" or "Family Games" under the Arcade Games category.

But wait, there's more!

There are also podcasts, books, audiobooks, fitness programs, and learning websites that can all keep your kids from going stir crazy while sequestered at home.

Apple offers curated podcast topics, divide out by age group.

  • Shows for Kids (opens in new tab) includes a wide variety of topic, curated by age group.
  • Get Smart, Stay Smart (opens in new tab) filters by educational podcasts for kids.
  • Stories and Adventures (opens in new tab) is full of podcasts for storybook time. Have fun and unique stories read to your kids.

Apple has a fantastic list of free books and audiobooks for kids (opens in new tab). Keep them occupied with some great reads. Books like The Worst Witch (opens in new tab), Minecraft Birth of a Monster (opens in new tab), and 49 Excuses for Not Tidying your Bedroom (opens in new tab) are all free right now.

There are also some iconic titles in audiobook form, like Winnie the Pooh (opens in new tab), The Wonderful World of Oz (opens in new tab), and The Secret Garden (opens in new tab), all free to download and listen to!

Be sure to check out Apple's full list of free kids books and audiobooks (opens in new tab).

Free subscriptions for kids

Of course, your little ones' brains and bodies need to stay in shape, even if they don't have to go to school every day. If your school district doesn't yet have a process in place to get remote school going, you can kickstart their eduction, and right now, a lot of developers are offering their services for free.

  • Epic! (opens in new tab) is a kid's learning app with hundreds of educational books, audiobooks, videos, and quizzes that your younglings can access for free until the end of the school year.
  • Kahoot! Play & Create Quizzes (opens in new tab) lets you build your own mini trivia games to play with the kids. You could even let them create quizzes for you to answer. Are you smarter than a 5th grader? You can get the premium version of Kahoot! for free right now.
  • Headspace (opens in new tab) is a meditation app designed to help people find the perfect way to relax, whatever is distracting you. Right now, you can listen to the "Weathering the Storm" meditation program for free. Get the whole family into meditating.

Anything else?

Have you come across any curated collections from Apple that you think families might enjoy? Put them in the comments so we can all share the family fun.

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).