Tiny Games, Big Fun

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tiny games app review

As families are often on the go, you can find yourselves with pockets of time where you’re just waiting. Waiting for your appointment time. Waiting in line at the store. Waiting for your meal to arrive. Waiting in the carpool line.

Often, it’s not a long period of time that we’re waiting. But 5 minutes here, 15 minutes there … it can add up.  It brings up a conundrum when you’re waiting with others.  On the one hand, thanks to technology, we can fill these pockets of time with our handheld devices. We can keep the kids happy with Angry Birds or leave them to their texting. We can catch up on Facebook or scroll through our emails. We can be in our own little worlds, heads down, while time passes us by. On the other hand, what kind of moments are we missing?

I’m not going to lie, we do this a lot ourselves.  But there are times when I wish we could fill this time better, connect somehow.  And sometimes we do fill it with activities that connect us.  But there are times when my ideas are met with grumbles.  No one wants to talk about their day or play tic-tac-toe with crappy crayons.

That’s when I’m happy to pull my own phone out of my purse and use technology to keep us connected and having fun.  I downloaded the Tiny Games app (available from iTunes) after seeing it mentioned on Bernie DeKoven’s blog Deep Fun.  I’m always looking for apps that are fun, not totally mindless, and that can engage us all.  They’re very few and far between.  The idea behind Tiny Games is to fill those empty pockets of time with something playful that can keep you connected and engaged with those around you.

Tiny Games app

You start by letting the app know where you are. While the app is free, it only comes pre-loaded with games for home.  We added games for waiting in lines as well. You can add games to your collection for $1.99 or add all the games for $5.99.

Once you tell the app where you are, it will ask you a few more questions, like what kind of a line you’re in:

Tiny Games app

It will then ask how many are playing:

Tiny Games app

Once the app gathers the information it needs, it will present you with a game.  You can read the premise and rules of the game and decide if you want to play or if you want the app to choose a different game for you.

Tiny Games app

We played a game called Race Horse Commentary while waiting for our food at Steak-n-Shake the other day. We each had to take a turn narrating part of a race horse, inserting a made-up horse’s name each turn. The catch? We also had to include the name of the horses the players before came up with. And the horses names had to go in alphabetical order! We never made it very far before one of us would forget a horse’s name, but it was hilarious hearing the names everyone came up with and the wild tales of our horse race.  No one bickered about whose turn it was with the phone, no one complained about how long it took our food to arrive, and instead of retreating into our own worlds we spent the time waiting having fun and connecting with each other. Before we knew it, the waiting was over.

I should note, not all of the games on the app are appropriate for children. However you can easily skip those and ask for a different game. Still, if you have younger children you’re in luck. There is another version of the app called Sesame Street Family Play for the younger crowd.

I just love it when you can use technology in a way that brings people closer.  Next time you’re waiting, give a Tiny Game a try and let me know what you think!

This post was not sponsored or endorsed by Tiny Games. We just enjoyed it as a family and thought you might enjoy it, too!




  1. I read an interesting article on Slate yesterday about an App called DuoLingo which helps you learn another language and is supposed to be fairly addicting. The article talked about how, for a time-waster, it was pretty productive. It obviously doesn’t have the family connectedness factor and it’s probably not for your son, but your daughter may enjoy it. I haven’t played it FWIW so YMMV.

    • Your timing is impeccable! We’re planning a trip to Spain this summer and just this week we started looking into language learning programs. I will definitely check it out for us.