We’ve all seen the viral video of the frustrated baby who wishes her magazine were an ipad. Children love playing and learning on the iPad and it won’t be long before they demand screen time on that brand new iPad you just brought home.
There are thousands of apps vying for their attention, and while there are many more than 10 must-own apps, this list will start any new iPad owner on his way to finding fun, thoughtful, and even educational games for his kids.
1. Where’s My Water ($0.99, Free) – Gamers from tiny to teenaged will all love playing with Swampy and Cranky. Where’s My Water is an addictive physics-based puzzler that is neither too easy nor too hard. Created by Disney, this well-loved universal app will keep children entertained for as long as they are using the iDevice.
2. Toca Hair Salon ($1.99) – Swedish developer Toca Boca has created an entire library of kids games in less than a year. All of their apps are solid, but Toca Hair Salon stands out from the rest. This universal app has the ability to delight and amuse children of any age. The game is both whimsical and realistic, whether the player gives creates a multi-colored mohawk or shaves the creature bald. Don’t forget to use the camera to capture your creations.
3. Book Creator for iPad ($6.99) – For the cost of a paperback novel, kids can write and publish their own books in iBooks using Book Creator for iPad. Not only does Book Creator give kids a creative outlet, but it also reinforces basic computer literacy. Book Creator is DropBox and AirPrint compatible, so there are lots of ways for kids to share their publications with friends, teachers, and grandparents.
4. Max and the Magic Marker ($0.99) – Max and the Magic Marker HD (sold separately for iPhone and iPod touch) is a puzzle platformer by EA Sports where everything you draw enters the game. Players have to think fast and be creative to help Max make it to the next level. Max and the Magic Marker is suitable for kids over the age of 7.
5. Cake Doodle ($0.99) – Cake Doodle, a universal app by Shoe the Goose, shows off the iPad’s touch screen to great effect. Players must drag, squeeze, grate and pour ingredients to make a fancy cake from one of the app’s 14 different recipes and 18 different cake styles. Be sure to check out Cookie Doodle as well — especially around the holidays.
6. Scribblenauts Remix ($0.99) – Scribblenauts Remix ported from the Nintendo DS to the App Store to cheers from kids everywhere. This action puzzler gives children the reigns to use creativity to solve problems, for a fraction of the cost of the original game. Since game play is powered by a child’s imagination, there are no limits. Plus, Scribblenauts Remix gets frequent updates and new levels, so there is always a new way to play.
7. Stack the States ($0.99) – Stack the States turns learning US geography into a Jenga-like puzzle. After a child answers a question about a state he gets add that state to his digital pile very carefully, or the states tumble off the screeen. Kids develop spatial and reasoning skills while learning the nicknames, capitals, and other facts about all 50 United States. Want more? Get ready and go international with Stack the Countries.
8. Wheels on the Bus ($0.99) – Most pre-schoolers love the song The Wheels on the Bus. The iOS version, created by Duck Duck Moose let’s kids, parents, or grandparents record their own version of the classic song. The app’s interactivity will entrance kids, who will also enjoy choosing which instrument (e.g. violin, kazoo) accompanies the song. This developer has a range of colorful, educational apps for 2-5-year-old children, so be sure to check out the rest of their offerings as well.
9. Bobo Explores Light ($4.99) – Bobo Explores Light is kids’ edu-app that turns science into an adventure. Elementary and middle school-aged children will love the app’s hands-on experiments, engaging UI, and interactive 3-D holograms. With Bobo Explores Light kids will learn about scientific concepts in a playful context, and they will be amazed at what the app and the iPad can do.
10. Rat on a Skateboard (Free) – Sometimes kids just want to have fun. They want to do something unexpected, and downright silly, like guide a rat on a skateboard through a race course. Rat on a Skateboard is perfect to pick up for a spare minute or two, but with three game modes and 50 tracks available, kids will want to play for much longer.
What did we miss? Let us know the names of your favorite kids’ games in the comments.