All eyes are turned to Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics. If your family’s eyes also like to turn to your mobile devices, several apps can help you and your kids experience the winter games to the fullest.
Thanks to some of the latest offerings on the App Store and Google Play, you can become an Olympics expert without ever turning on the television. From watching more sports events than you can shake a ski at, to kids’ snowy storybooks and games, here are six apps that turn your smartphone into a hub for all things Olympics.
Fans of lesser-known winter sports that might not be televised in prime time (Individual Gunderson, anyone?) and casual viewers looking for highlights can turn their tablets into TVs with NBC Sports Live Extra.
NBC promises over 1,000 hours of live and recorded coverage in all events through the easy-to-use free app. Cheer for Team USA on the bus, at home, or anywhere you go with this essential Olympics app.
Free (cable or satellite service authentication required), iPhone/iPad, Android
>Next: Medal Alert
If your busy schedule doesn’t have room for watching any of the events this year, the official Medal Count app from the International Olympic Committee has you covered. You don’t even have to open the app to get the latest standings. Once you’ve selected the countries and sports you’re interested in, your phone automatically notifies you when a medal in those categories is won.
>Next: 2014 Team USA Road to Sochi
The official app from the United States Olympic Committee introduces you and your family not only to the Olympics team members going for the gold this month, but representatives of Team USA in this year’s Paralympics. You’ll also find an event schedule, histories of sports in the games, and links to donate or buy merchandise to support the team.
If you’re looking for a way to get your family interested in the Olympics and get them to cheer for the U.S. athletes in the Winter Games, use this app to hear their stories firsthand as they talk about what it means to be an Olympian.
Free, iPhone/iPad, Android
>Next: Tacky and the Winter Games
This interactive storybook, based on the picture book of the same name, transports young readers to Nicey Ice Land. Tacky the penguin and his friends are training for the Winter Games, but Tacky doesn’t seem to be taking seriously. Will they win a medal? The storybook app includes options for narration and recording, along with word highlighting and interactive elements.
For kids 4-8 who might not have seen any Winter Olympics in action yet, this funny book can be a great way to kick off your family’s excitement for the traditions and ceremonies of the games.
$3.99, iPhone/iPad, Android
>Next: Snowboard Hero
Kids who are 9 years old and up will be instantly hooked by the high quality, bold and colorful graphics in this iOS snowboarding game. Players take control of one of six snowboarders and get to work learning jaw-dropping tricks and racing downhill against the clock with the app’s intuitive gameplay.
Once your kids get the hang (time) of this high-energy game, they can tune into the Olympics to appreciate seeing real life snowboarding heroes on the slopes.
iPhone/iPad, Free (with in-app purchases)
For age-appropriate, child-friendly news for the Olympics and beyond, kids will love checking out the daily edition of News-O-Matic. The app updates with five new interactive articles every day, tailored to kids’ interests and reading levels.
Not only does News-O-Matic provide interesting tidbits of news and information about the 2014 Olympics Games, but kids can also learn about what else is going on in the world with a touch of fun and humor thrown in.
iPhone/iPad, Free (with subscription) Read Next: Staging a Backyard Winter Olympics