Already wondering how you're going to keep the kids occupied over holiday break?
We've put together a list of online resources to help you out. Read on to discover a blend of fun, educational, safe, and inexpensive ways to use technology to keep kids happy and sometimes even build family connectedness.
Happy holidays from the team at Alarm.com!
Stay connected with interactive apps for your family
1: Messenger Kids
Being stuck at home through the holidays can get lonesome. Messenger Kids offers a safe way for kids to connect with friends and family. It's a free video chat and messaging app with fun filters and stickers, completely controlled by parents. You approve everyone they can call or message. Now grandma can call them directly!
2: Heads Up for iPhone or Android
Get the whole family together for game night. Everyone will love this charades-esque activity.
3: Go Noodle
Motivate your little ones to move! Go Noodle's fun videos will get them (and you) dancing, doing yoga, and more.
Create some high-tech holiday magic for your kids
4: Catch Santa on camera
Impress your kids with incontrovertible evidence that Santa was in your house: a digital photo, taken by your Alarm.com security cameras the night before, of the jolly guy himself, in your home, delivering their gifts.
5: Jacquie Lawson's advent calendar
It may seem late to begin a new advent calendar, but you can start this one at any point and catch up. It includes beautifully animated videos set to holiday music, plus games and activities for kids to do on their own or with you.
6: Track Santa with NORAD
Before you catch Santa on camera, follow his route on Christmas Eve with the NORAD Tracks Santa app. Kids can learn all about the powerful radar system and satellites used to track Santa's sleigh as it makes its way around the globe.
Take a virtual daytrip from the comfort of your home
7: Monterey Bay Aquarium
Most of us haven't been traveling much lately, so give the kids a virtual trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Meditate to the Moon Jelly Cam, frolic with the Sea Otters, or tune in to the world of tuna, turtles, and sharks by watching the Open Sea Cam.
A hands-on museum in San Francisco, California, that explores the world through science and art. The Exploratorium is offering online educational activities and events, plus a whole section of their website is dedicated to exploring the world using materials and tools you might already have.
9: San Diego Zoo
Let the littles explore the San Diego Zoo and connect with animals through one of their many web cams. There's a Platypus Cam, Hippo Cam, Penguin Cam, Elephant Cam, Koala Cam, and more.
Keep young minds engaged with interactive learning
Fun, educational games for kids in grades pre-K through 6, covering subjects like math, art, typing, science, and more. Access some games free or subscribe to play them all.
Fun, social, and safe online classes and clubs for kids ages 3 to 18 led by passionate teachers. Classes start at $10 and cover a huge range of subjects from art to music, social studies, science and nature, life skills, and more.
12: Khan Academy
If your child needs help in a certain area or wants to learn more about their favorite subject, Khan Academy provides free, personalized education and test prep for grades K to 12.
13: Tate Kids
British art museum Tate has a website just for kids to explore art, play games, create their own masterpieces, or make digital street art. The website is moderated and checked thoroughly to ensure that all content is suitable for children under 13.
14: ABC Mouse
Educational games, activities, and videos for ages 2 through 8. Free for 30 days.
15: But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids
Kids submit questions like "Why are whales so big?" and "Why can't kids vote?" and get answers from experts. These podcasts work well as fun and informative 28-minute distractions during road trips.
A preschool channel by the BBC, CBeebies programs encourage learning through play. The website includes clips of shows, puzzles, memory games, singalongs, and more.
Take a break from it all with family-friendly entertainment.
17: Storyline Online
Videos featuring celebrities like Wanda Sykes, Kevin Costner, Ray Romano, Angela Bassett, Rashida Jones, and Chris Pine reading children's books.
18: PBS Kids
Kids can watch all their favorite PBS Kids shows, from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood to Odd Squad, Sesame Street, Wild Kratts, and more. They also offer fun educational games on their website or app.
19: Common Sense Media
Want to know if a particular movie/tv show/video game is appropriate for your child's age? Check Common Sense Media—a great resource for information and reviews of all things kid-related. Get recommendations for your next family movie night.
20: Toca Boca
As it says on their website, "We make digital toys from the kid perspective." Toca Boca offers kids fun games and apps where they can create their own little animated worlds and characters. The apps usually cost a small amount of money but have no ads or in-app purchases.
Still looking for something to do?
Why not give your home a holiday safety check-up? Discover seven smart safety tips for the holidays here.