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Apps and tools to make it easier for kids and grandparents to talk

Tired of trying to hold wiggly kids still for a video chat with the grandparents' foreheads? These apps and tools aim to help.

It is nearly impossible to get a toddler to sit down for a phone call or video chat conversation with older relatives in their lives. At best, you'll get a few minutes before the young ones lose interest and wander off.

“In order to get our kids to engage in conversations with their family members, they quite literally needed to be entertained," says Yoav Oren, CEO and co-founder of Zoog, an app that uses augmented reality filters and animations to bring storytelling to life.

When Sumit Suman traveled for business, he used Zoog to transform into an animated frog in order to hold his 5-year-old daughter's attention on phone calls.

"She would absolutely not speak to me on the phone," he told NBC News NOW. Thus, Flip the Frog came to life -- Suman, in animated frog costume, and his daughter read stories together and talked every night.

The inability to spend quality, in-person time with distant relatives throughout the pandemic has made it particularly challenging for children to develop bonds with their older relatives. 

Startups and big tech companies alike are starting to fill this generational communication void by building apps and tools that help families to connect in our digital world. Here’s a list to check out: 

Amazon’s Glow:  An interactive projector and video-calling device that allows kids to connect with remote loved ones by reading, playing and drawing together. 

Facebook’s Portal: A video calling device that designed to bring families together. 

Readeo's BookChat: Combines video chat with thousands of digital kid’s books to read and share.

Wheel of Fortune: This app version of the popular TV show allows family members to spin the wheel together, even if they live miles apart. 

Words With Friends: If kids love playing word games, Words with Friends is a multiplayer word game that makes your younger ones think! 

Zoog: An app that uses augmented reality filters and animations to bring storytelling to life.  

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