The school holidays were always my favourite time of year when I was growing up but for my parents it was probably a different matter.
After all, keeping a young child occupied for the best part of a month is no easy task. It can also be an expensive time, especially if you are looking after more than one child. Going to theme parks was not cheap, even in the 1980s!
Thankfully, the world has moved on considerably since I was young, and there are now more things to keep young people occupied in addition to marbles and spinning tops.
Fresh air and outdoor activities is an important part of the mix, but your Nokia Lumia smartphone can also play a helping hand.
Here are 10 free apps that can keep your kids busy and some of them could even be called educational – bonus!
Origami Pro, FREE
Practical things to do are always a winner. This app provides easy instructions in the ancient Japanese art of paper folding.
There are a whole host of models that you can choose to make and then swipe through each screen for a diagram and step-by-step instructions.
The origami models include a bird, a hat, sail boats and a frog, which looks particularly challenging.
Simon Cow, FREE
This is a highly amusing and devilishly addictive version of the classic Simon Says memory game.
Like the original, the idea is to repeat the exact sequence of sounds from the different animals on the screen. What starts off really easy, soon becomes a stern test of your memory.
Simon Cow replaces the computer sound effects with farmyard animals. The game can be customised so that you can have more than 4 animals, and if you really want to test yourself, their heads can rotate on the screen.
A leader board keeps the highest score for whoever can remember the longest sequence.
National Flags Quiz, FREE
Older children, and perhaps even adults, should enjoy this quiz, which tests their knowledge of over 200 national flags.
There is a practice mode for learning the national flags – get the answer wrong and the game will tell you the correct answer.
When you are feeling confident enough, there is also a timed mode that tests you on either 50 random flags or, if you prefer, 50 from a specific continent. Do well and submit your score to an online scoreboard.
Pixelator & Draw Free!, both FREE
Here are a couple of apps for children who enjoy creating art.
Pixelator lets you colour in one pixel at a time. It might take a little effort, but the reward can be a fun and unique looking piece of art.
The pixel art can be saved on your phone, uploaded to image sharing site imgur and also set as your Lumia’s lock screen.
Draw is a more conventional finger drawing app for your Lumia. You can start from scratch or you can draw over and add effects to an existing photo.
There are also lots of features just for kids, such as colouring in, stamping for adding colourful graphics, noise effects and warping and twisting images.
This free app has adverts, the ad-free version costs £0.79p and also supports more languages.
If the idea of a word game on played on a piece of paper isn’t immediately appealing to today’s generation of children, then how about showing them the same game on your Nokia Lumia?
This version comes in three themes and many different word categories to play from.
Sometimes nothing will do but some a little arcade action, and Breakout is such a game for all ages.
Block the ball as it falls down the screen and use it to smash the bricks as it rebounds back up. Simple and addictive.
This free app has a host of great features, such as 150 levels, different weapons and power-ups, online scoreboards and you can even create your own game screens.
4 In A Row, FREE
Also known as Connect 4, this is a classic game of strategy and trying to outthink your opponent.
This app is a game for both two players, or one person can play against the phone. Trying not to lose all the coloured discs was a bit of a nightmare, so this game is ideal on your Lumia.
Great apps can make learning fun – even maths!
NumberTap is a competitive maths game where you your arithmetic against other players around the world for the highest scores.
The sums come thick and fast, starting easy and quickly becoming a lot, lot harder. Keeping calm under pressure is also vital as there is a ticking clock.
Sketch Match, FREE
Sketch Match is not quite a drawing app and not quite a gaming app, but it contains elements of both.
The idea is that you are shown an image, which you need to sketch as well as possible within the allocated time. The better your artistic efforts, the higher your rating.
Another fun way of playing this app is the ‘search by sketch’ feature. Sketch an object and hit the search button to see photos of similar items. That is, of course, if you sketched it well in the first place!
Which apps do you like that could keep kids busy on their holidays?
image credit: Pink Sherbet Photography
Updated October 1, 2015 1:00 pm