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. And when you add in Star Wars, this one is a no-brainer. If there's a must-have game on this list, it is this one. If you want to try before you buy, you can download a free version of the original Angry Birds.
Candy Crush has taken on a life of its own since its release. Fun for kids. Fun for adults. It mixes the classic connect the matching symbols game play with everyone's favorite past time: eating candy. This is another game that can be good for toddlers because just tapping around on the screen will result in a lot of graphical fun. Older kids will enjoy the puzzles presented, and even adults will find it addicting.
The endless runner game has exploded since Temple Rush hit the app store, and while many of the knock offs are just Temple Rush with new graphics or a new theme, Despicable Me: Minion Rush adds fun new game play mechanics and includes the humorous charm of those cute little minions. Kids will enjoy this game that is quick to play and fun to compete for the highest score.
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.
This list of kid-friendly games is about having fun, not learning something new. There are plenty of educational apps on the App Store for engaging a child's mind. But when you can intersect having fun with learning, it definitely deserves a mention on this list.
Slice Fractions manages to capture fun inside of a game that's all about learning fractions. This makes it idea for kids who are ready to move beyond whole numbers and conquer the idea of division.
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.
Snoopy's Street Fair is one of many fun, social and free games that kids enjoy to play. The game includes a mission-based tutorial to teach kids the mechanics, and is free-form enough that they can use their imagination to play with Charlie Brown and the rest of the game . Even toddlers can enjoy tapping around the game screen and interacting with Snoopy.
These type of social games include in-app purchases, so it is important to disable them before handing your iPad. 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, Snoopy's Street Fair can be a great game for your kid to enjoy.