13 Apps to Play with Dad

Looking for a fun way to share time with Dad? You might be surprised to find that some of his interests are only an app screen away. We’ve gathered 13 cool apps that should fit just about any father out there. From the father who loves to be outside to the artistic dad who spends lots of time in the studio, there’s something on this list to love. These apps could also be a great way to spend time with your dad on Father’s Day—or any day.

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Outdoorsy Dad

Plum’s Photo Hunt
Plum’s Photo Hunt combines nature and tech in a way Dad and kids can enjoy together. Kids get missions to find something outdoors and snap a photo of it, 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 (free, appstore.com).
Ages: 7+
Platforms: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch (iOS 6.0 or later)

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Virtual Geocaching – XNote
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 ($3, appstore.com).
Ages: 12+
Platforms: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch (iOS 6.0 or later)

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Techie Dad

How to Make Electricity
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 labs, a variety of virtual experiments, and a free-play zone, you can create and learn together. Don’t forget to read the included Parent Guide, as it offers some great material to add to the experience ($3, appstore.com).
Ages: 9+
Platforms: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch (iOS 6.0 or later)

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Swift Playgrounds
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 is a great opportunity to collaborate (free, appstore.com).
Ages: 10+
Platform: iPad (iOS 10.0 or later)

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Creative Dad

Toontastic 3D
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, you also can move them around, record, add music, and play it back for the whole family. With a slick design and easy-to-use controls, you can spin fabulous tall tales in no time (free, appstore.com).
Ages: 6+
Platforms: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch (iOS 10.0 or later)

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Blox 3D World Creator
Kids and dads can create their own universe—and then blow it up! With a Minecraft feel, this world creator has some cool features, such as 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 ($3, appstore.com), ($2, play.google.com).
Ages: 7+
Platforms: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch (iOS 6.0 or later), Android (2.3 or later)

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Foodie Dad

Dr. Panda’s Restaurant 2
This role-playing app is fantastic for dads and kids to play together. Players experiment with different kitchen tools and ingredients to create dishes that 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 ($3, appstore.com, play.google.com).
Ages: 6+ (but also great for even younger kids with Dad’s help)
Platforms: iPhone, iPad and iPhone Touch (iOS 6.0 or later), Android (4.0 or later)

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Sporty Dad

Charity Miles – Running and Walking Distance Tracker
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 Tracker to make his exercise help more than just himself. Every mile biked earns 10 cents, while walking and running earn 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 (free, appstore.com, play.google.com).
Ages: 10+
Platforms: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch (iOS 9.0 or later), Android (4.0 or later)

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Traveler Dad

Google Earth
If Dad will be away for Father’s Day or is planning a trip in the near future, give Google 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 (free, appstore.com, play.google.com).
Ages: 13+ (also OK for younger kids with adult supervision)
Platforms: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch (iOS 5.0 or later), Android (4.1 and later)

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Silly Dad

MSQRD
Face swapping and filters are all the rage on platforms like Snapchat and Facebook, but MSQRD provides the same hilarious fun without you having to worry about anyone 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 (free, appstore.com, play.google.com).
Ages: 10+ (also great for younger kids if playing with a parent)
Platforms: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch (iOS 8.4 or later), Android (4.3 or later)

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Dubsmash
This app lets users lip-synch 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 (free, appstore.com, play.google.com).
Ages: 16+ (also great for kids and teens with parent supervision and monitoring)
Platforms: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch (iOS 8.0 or later), Android (4.1 or later)

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Other Family Fun

The Foolish King
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 a great way for dads who are chess fans to share the game with younger players (free, appstore.com).
Ages: 7+
Platform: iPad (iOS 8.0 or later)

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StoryCorps
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 (free, appstore.com, play.google.com).
Ages: 13+ (but also a great choice for younger kids and adults to use together)
Platforms: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch (iOS 8.0 or later), Android (4.0 or later)

Senior Video Games Editor Jeff Haynes, Senior Editor Christine Elgersma, Catalog Data Coordinator Frannie Ucciferri, and former Senior Editor Ingrid Simone contributed to this article.

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