The iPad can be the ultimate family entertainment system, with tons of games and entertaining apps that are perfect for kids of various ages. Every game on the iPad has an age-based rating, so you can tell if a game is right for your child. And because most games cost between $.99 and $1.99, with even the "expensive" games rarely going for over $5, you don't have to break into your kid's piggy bank to pay for their entertainment.
Note: It is recommended to turn off in-app purchases before installing any iPad games for your kids. Some games can seem like a great deal until you get that iTunes bill with all of the in-app purchases, so it's usually best to be safe and turn them off.
There's no reason to start the list with a surprise. Angry Birds has become a phenomenon unto itself do to the ease of its accessibility and addicting game play that will keep your puzzle skills churning. If there's a must-have game on this list, it is this one. A free version of the original is a great place to start, but you'll soon move on to the premium version, or you can just straight to Rio.
Very few games have as many customer reviews as Fruit Ninja HD (nearing 10,000 now) and still stayed above 4 stars, and there is a reason why so few people find themselves disappointed with their purchase. Fruit Ninja is good, old-fashioned slicing and dicing fun with a simple concept and yet enough challenge to keep you swiping. The goal: slice as much fruit as you can without slicing through a bomb and blowing your virtual finger off. And if you like to try before you buy, there's a lite version available.
If cleanliness is next to godliness, Swampy is going to make one fun little deity. Rather than slinging birds at boards and stones, Where's My Water concentrates on teaching your kid the valuable lesson of keeping clean by helping out Swampy the alligator stay clean despite the actions of Cranky, the antagonist of this story. Where's My Water? is one of the best games for kids on the iPad, and like some of the other top games, it also has a free version to try out.
Om Nom loves his candy, but he needs a little help getting it. Cut the Rope is a physics puzzle game where you use ropes to move the piece of candy by having it swing across the screen and fall into Om Nom's mouth. Fortunately, it's not as simple as it sounds, forcing you to think about how to get past the various obstacles standing between Om Nom and his candy. A [free version=http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cut-the-rope-hd-lite/id394611607?mt=8]] is available to check out as well.
The list of movies converted into video games that turned out to be duds could stretch around the world a few times, but if there's an exception to this trend, it is the Lego series of games. Lego Harry Potter is the perfect game for anyone who ever wanted to join the school at Hogwarts as a child prodigy. This iPad game is better for older kids approaching their tweens.
Paper Toss sounds more like a game you'd play when stuck without your iPad, but the transition to the touch screen can be highly addictive. It's also quick, easy fun that you can enjoy with you kid, competing to see how many wadded up pieces of paper can make it into the trash can in a row. But don't think it's easy. Even on Cubicle mode, judging the speed of the fans perfectly each time can be a challenge.
Would a list of the iPad games for kids be complete without a matching game? Whether you do it with playing cards spread out on a table or cute animals aligned on a tablet computer, there's just something about matching up pictures that can delight the little ones. And it's great to have an iPad game that a two or three year old can enjoy rather than having the iPad monopolized by the older kids.
Tap Zoo 2 one of many fun, social and free games that kids enjoy to play. And these types of games are great, but they are also why I recommend disabling in-app purchases on any iPad that is designated for family use. These freemium games allow kids to buy currency and power ups, and quite a large iTunes bill can be racked up in not time. But once you take the precaution of disabling in-app purchases, Tap Zoo can be a great game for your kid to enjoy.
What do you get when you have an addicting physics-based puzzle game made by a kid rather than just for kids? You get Bubble Ball. Developed by 14-year-old Robert Nay, Bubble Ball enjoyed a million downloads in its first two weeks on the app store. And while it doesn't have the fun graphics found in other titles like Cut the Rope and Fruit Ninja, it does contain addictive play that will please puzzle lovers aged 4 to 94.
Last on the list is a game that's not a game. Drawing Pad is simply a vehicle for an activity that all kids enjoy: drawing and using their imagination. And not only can your kid use the virtual crayons in Drawing Pad, they can also save their work and even share it via Email, Twitter or Facebook. Who says Facebook can't be like a refrigerator door?