Beat the “Are we there yet?” blues by downloading these fun new apps before you get in the car for that three-hour drive to Grandma’s.

By Melissa Morgenlander
Updated December 12, 2017
Boy in car with phone
Credit: Olive/Getty Images

We all know that long drives in holiday traffic can be torture—for everyone—if the kids are bored in the back of the car, so here are five of the best holiday-themed apps to keep them entertained when you’re on the road.

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Toca Hair Salon App

1 Toca Hair Salon—Christmas Gift

What child wouldn’t jump at the chance to cut, style, dye and accessorize Santa Claus’s hair and beard any way he or she wants? (Purple hair? Striped beard?) This app, a variation of Toca Boca’s popular Hair Salon app, is perfect for the preschooler who likes open-ended, creative playing, and great fun for any budding hairstylists in your family.

To buy: Free, For iOS devices.

ElfYourself App

2 Elf Yourself

On Elf Yourself, from Office Depot/OfficeMax, your kids can upload photos of friends, family members, or pets, and the app will create a magical video of dancing elves. This year’s new twist is an Augmented Reality feature, which lets you can watch the dancing happen in the very space you’re sitting in. Tweens and teens will find this one particularly entertaining, as they can share their creations on social media.

To buy: Free, and For iOS and Android devices.

My Hanukkah App

3 My Hanukkah

This app, available in five different languages, has several activities packed into one. The interactive storybook guides kids through the story of Hanukkah using adorable cartoon animals as the actors; they can also play Hanukkah songs on a piano with animals filling in as the music notes, and color in pages with sweet depictions of traditions such as lighting the menorah and eating jelly donuts.

To buy: Free; and For iOS and Android devices.

Gingerbread Crazy Chef App

4 Gingerbread Crazy Chef—Cookie Maker

From mixing and rolling the dough to choosing cookie shapes and candy decorations, your little chef can spend endless hours customizing his or her creation—then choose to “eat” the cookie he created or put it in the blender to mix up a fabulous cookie shake. Unlike the real things, these virtual cookies won’t cause a sugar high in an enclosed vehicle!

To buy: Free; For iOS and Android devices.

Grinchmas! App

5 Grinchmas

In this fun app, based on Dr. Seuss’s holiday classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas, players choose whether to be a mean Grinch (throwing snowballs at the Whos in Whoville) or a merry Grinch (tossing them gifts instead). With easy, medium, and hard levels for each activity, this game will remind your kids of Angry Birds.

To buy:$0.99; For iOS devices.