12 apps to help you stay connected with loved ones

1. Keepy

They only make fridge doors so big. Keepy lets you share kid-made art with your family’s most discerning critics — grandparents, aunts, uncles — wherever they live. Use the app to take snaps of your kid’s paintings and upload them. People invited into your Keepy network can respond by posting a video saying “well done” next to each oeuvre. Over the years you’ll be able to compare Junior’s macaroni period with his crayon years.

2. Kindoma

Kids are story addicts. When your child or grandchild wants a bedtime story and you can’t be at his bedside, there’s Kindoma.This iPad app lets him pick fairytales and other classics from the library for you to read. Far from being two disembodied voices, you can both see each other in the corner of the screen. The app also lets parents share bedtime story duty with a bigger, less sleep-deprived community.

3. Scoot and Doodle

Become your own art collective with Scoot and Doodle for Google Hangouts. Invite your contacts for a face-to-face session of drawing and designing. There’s also an option for collaborating on homework projects. So if you’d like your math-whizz cousin to talk you through your geometry assignment, she could do that too, virtual markers in hand.

4. Draw Something and Words with Friends

Relationships have ended over games of Monopoly, so only attempt these if your family doesn’t have a history of board rage. Try Draw Something if you have an artistic bent. One person draws a random word while the other person guesses. Wordier people should download the Words With Friends app, or access it on Facebook.

5. WhatsApp

WhatsApp is great for multi-continent families. You can text, share photos and recycle private jokes from Thanksgiving 1983 onwards with groups of family members. Don’t forget good old Skype and Google Hangouts . Let’s take a moment to appreciate how high our phone bills would be without them.

6. Meet Mobile

Competitive but absent grandparents can still cheer from the sidelines. The 
Meet Me app
 lets fans follow their favorite swimmer’s progress as a race is happening. Grandparents in their vacation home in Florida can watch an almost stroke-by-stroke account. Warning: It could get embarrassing if they’re in a grocery store screaming, “Go faster!”

7. Tweekaboo and My Baby Book

Baby books with a twist, Tweekaboo and My Baby Book record the milestones in your baby’s life to share easily with grandparents, aunts and uncles. You can also turn them into an album — analog style.

8. Red Stamp

Sit down, I’m going to tell you a story. Back in the old days, people used to print photos. If you’re feeling nostalgic or want to turn pixels into prints, use Red Stamp. The app lets you upload photos and turn them into invitations, calendars, greetings cards and more. Senders have plenty of virtual options, but can opt for snail mail, too.

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