Must Have Kids Apps for New iPad Owners

It’s not unusual to see young children sporting iPads and iPhones nowadays, and I’m guessing that some of you out there even surprised your kids with a shiny new iPad 2 on Christmas day. If you got an iPad yourself and have kids, it’s a safe bet that it’s going to end up in their hands every once in awhile. Remember, sharing is caring.

Either way, you’re probably looking for some child-friendly content to download onto that new tablet, and we’ve got you covered. We’ve picked out some tried and true apps that your kids are sure to love.

Kinectimals ($2.99) – In this game modeled after the original Xbox Kinect hit, children can adopt and play with their very own tiger, lion, or panther (and more!) cub. Kids will love playing games with their cub, keeping him fed and watered, bathing him, teaching him tricks and giving him plenty of pets that will send him into a purring frenzy. The graphics are fantastic, the cubs are beautifully animated, and there’s a lot of content. This game is absolutely adorable and is sure to be a hit – it’s hard to resist the allure of a cute cub, after all.


Casey’s Contraptions ($2.99) – In Casey’s Contraptions, children will help Casey to get his toys back by constructing kooky, crazy contraptions. Kids will create Rube-Goldberg-like machines with toys and every day items in order to solve puzzles and playtime scenarios, and create their own contraptions and challenge friends and family members to solve their puzzles. This game is suitable for children ages 4 and up, and adults will love it too.


Snuggle Truck HD (Free) – Snuggle Truck is a fun, over-the-top physics-based driving game where the goal is to save a cargo full of adorable fuzzy animals from extinction by delivering them to the zoo in the least amount of time. Children can use tilt-motion to catch cute fuzzies, drive over armadillos, and rocket through hills, caverns, deserts and forests to save the animals. There are over 40 levels, and a community-based portal allows access to thousands more custom levels.


Motion Math: Hungry Fish (Free) – The iPad is an excellent educational tool for children, and it has hundreds of apps that make learning basic concepts a lot of fun. Motion Math: Hungry Fish is suitable for children ages 4 and up, with different levels to challenge kids at every age. In the game, fish hungry for numbers need to eat, and children feed them by combining or subtracting numbers.


It’s A Small World ($3.99) – Okay, I know the song is annoying and is bound to get stuck in your head, but this gorgeously illustrated animated app is sure to delight your children. It’s a way to experience the “It’s A Small World” ride, song, and lyrics in a new, interactive way with beautiful artwork and irresistible music. The app features the original lyrics, and the story encourages kids to meet new people, explore new places, and discover that it’s a small world, after all.


Tiny Places HD ($1.99) – Tiny Places features a chameleon named Napoleon, who swings by his powerful, sticky tongue and soars through the air to reach tiny crevices. Children will guide Napoleon across a range of fun courses, while showing off his stunt moves. Every scene is a new and exciting adventure, with walls of gooey jelly, walls of toys, and plenty more to delight children of all ages. Napoleon is a sweet little character and your kids will be addicted to this great game in no time.


Windosill ($0.99) – This iPad only app isn’t aimed at children, but even young kids will enjoy exploring a dream-like world of beautifully constructed environments that react to touch in ways that are intuitive and unexpected. This app rewards playful investigation with mysterious and beautiful surprises. Windosill is a living picture-book designed to be experienced in a single sitting (a snowy afternoon?) and it is suitable for kids and adults alike.


Bobo Explores Light ($4.99) – There are so many fantastic interactive books in the App Store that it was hard to pick just one. However, Bobo Explores Light is, arguably, one of the best for curious kids who are interested in science. This app takes fundamental scientific concepts for school-age children and makes them fun. Topics range from lasers and lightning to reflection, bioluminescence, and sunlight. If you have a child that is interested in science, or a child that needs motivation to learn, this app is a great choice.


Shape-O ABC’s ($0.99) – This app is for young children who are just beginning to learn more about their world. Shape-O integrates puzzles, shapes, words, colors, and sounds, for an all-inclusive learning experience. There are over 100 inventive shape-puzzles and images to teach children shape recognition, spelling, colors, and instrumental sounds. This app was developed in conjunction with a PhD level education specialist and is a must have for every pre-school aged child.


Smurfs’ Village (Free) – This freemium app has been a top contender in the App Store for many weeks now. Kids and adults alike are addicted to the building and maintenance of their very own Smurf Village. Kids will begin the game with a single mushroom house, but with a little patience, that will morph into a thriving community. This game is free to play, but there are in-app purchases available so make sure to disable that functionality in the parental control settings before handing over your iPad.


If you liked this list of game apps, be sure to check out our list of must have iPad productivity and utility apps.

About Juli: Contact me via Twitter: @julipuli

  • Anonymous

    This is a great list. My kids love the Smurf Village app and they are always stealing my iPad to play it. Another awesome app the kids use all the time and it is free to download is the DISH Remote Access app through my provider DISH Network. I learned about this app when I recently started working for them. With the Sling Adapter hooked up to my receiver they can access all our DVR recordings and subscription channels from anywhere we can get a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. They love using it when we are running errands and doing the grocery shopping. They watch all their favorite shows live and it keeps them entertained the whole time. I plan to use it on our next road trip and I think they will love that. Hopefully this is a good app for you too.

  • Eddie

    The Sesame Street Apps from Callaway (The Monster at the End of this Book) are great too.