Top 25 iPad Apps for Kids

TIME.com. September 4, 2012. (English) by Catherine Sharick. -From classic e-reads like The Monster at the End of This Book to parent-approved e-mail for toddlers to games that keep children busy while they wait, TIME.com picks the top apps for kids that will keep them entertained —and informed— even after the dog days of summer end.

All the apps here are US$6.99 or less and received an age-appropriate rating (4+) from the iTunes store.


Angry Birds Space HD

Rovio Mobile Ltd

Rovio Mobile Ltd

NASA and Rovio teamed up on the latest version of this wildly popular game. In this one, the piggies have hijacked the Mars rover Curiosity, and the birds need to come to its rescue. The app is educational too: kids can explore NASA vehicles and read about Mars exploration and NASA missions.

Price: $2.99

Age: 4+


Trucks HD

Trucks HD
Trucks HD

Hit the open road with your child in Trucks HD, a new car-crazy app from Duck Duck Moose. Toddlers and preschoolers can drive police cars through a car wash, serve frozen treats from an ice cream truck and collect trash with a garbage truck. They can listen to nursery-rhyme-based songs like “Wheels on the Bus” too. If you have a child who loves cars and trucks anywhere close to as much as my preschooler does, you should download this app.

Price: $1.99

Age: 4+


Toca Hair Salon

Toca Boca / iTunes App Store
TOCA BOCA / ITUNES APP STORE

Give one of six hair-salon patrons a badly needed shave or haircut in this creative app from Toca Boca. Shampoo, shave, fluff or tease using the barbershop tools you swipe through at the bottom of the screen. Kids will love to trim hair using the standard scissors and electric razor, but they will especially enjoy doing things like coloring a bear’s coat purple, green and pink and putting striped bows in a dog’s fur. The customers’ fearful reactions to each clip and buzz will make kids giggle every time.

Price: $1.99

Age: 4+


Where’s My Perry?

Where's My Perry
Where’s My Perry?

Help Agent P!, the popular platypus from Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, get to headquarters by solving physics puzzles so water can be delivered to operate an elevator system. As the game advances, players have to turn water into steam and ice and combine substances to cause explosions. They collect gnomes and spy folders along the way and can share scores with other players through Apple’s Game Center. Kids will laugh out loud at Agent P!’s annoyed reactions while he is waiting for a puzzle to be solved.

Price: $0.99

Age: 4+


Cut The Rope

Chillingo Ltd / itunes app store
Chillingo Ltd / itunes app store

The goal of this game is simple: feed candy to Om Nom, a charming little monster. Swipe your finger across the screen to cut the rope the candy is swinging from, then guide it into the hungry-looking monster’s mouth. Each level introduces new obstacles like bubbles, spikes, spiders and magic hats that try to keep you from getting Om Nom his much needed treats. Figuring out how to overcome them is challenging and fun; your kids will definitely become addicted to this app. Watch out, though, as you probably will too.

Price: $0.99

Age: 4+


Caillou Stickers

Night & Day Studios / iTunes App Store
Night & Day Studios / iTunes App Store

Spend time with your preschooler creating scenes from Caillou’s life using the 138 stickers in this engaging app. Decorate and play with Caillou and his friends at a campground, a bus stop, a farmhouse and other places. Listen to theme songs from the PBS show and, when you’re done, send your pictures to family and friends via e-mail.

Price: $0.99

Age: 4+


Princess Fairy Tale Maker

Princess Fairy Tale Maker
Princess Fairy Tale Maker

Create your own fairy tale with princesses, mermaids, unicorns and more. Decorate any of 32 animated background scenes with characters that include pirates and animals. Kids can narrate the story and share their creations with friends.

Price: $1.99

Age: 4+


Make Me Smile

Make Me Smile

Even monsters feel a little blue sometimes. In the Make Me Smile app, your toddler’s job is to cheer them up. Tap on the sad and scared monsters and watch their cute cries and screams turn into smiles and laughter. Parents will surely love the before and after reaction snapshots the app takes of their children as they respond to the monsters’ changing emotions.

Price: $1.99

Age: 4+


Hugless Douglas

David Melling / iTunes App Store
David Melling / iTunes App Store

In this interactive book, a lovable brown bear wakes up one morning from hibernation in search of a hug — but he’s having a really hard time finding it. Little fingers tap the illustrations to see what happens when Douglas tries to hug a huge boulder, a really tall tree and a cozy-looking bush full of very soft but very scared sheep. Kids will love this book because of the laugh-out-loud animations. Parents will love it because of its heartwarming ending: Douglas finally finds the hug he was looking for all along from his big, tall, comfy mom.

Price: $2.99

Age: 4+


The Monster at the End of This Book

Sesame Workshop
Sesame Workshop

The Monster at the End of This Book has been a bedtime favorite since 1971. Now Sesame Street and Callaway Digital Arts bring the classic tale to life on the iPad as the endearing Grover pleads with you and erects obstacles to keep you from turning another page. Untie Grover’s knots or tickle him until he lets go of the ropes he has tied around the page. Then physically knock or shake down his brick wall so you can get to the very end. Kids will discover that (surprise!) it’s still just furry Grover at the end of the story after all these years.

Price: $3.99

Age: 4+


Ultimate Dinopedia: The Most Complete Dinosaur Reference Ever

National Geographic Society / iTunes App Store
National Geographic Society / iTunes App Store

This app is the go-to resource for budding paleontologists who want to find out everything there is to know about dinosaurs. Flip through a gallery of more than 700 dinos, complete with fun stats, size comparisons and audio clips to aid in pronouncing each name. Enjoy detailed paintings and watch 13 short CGI videos that bring the dinosaurs to life. There’s also a dinosaur family tree that shows the connections among species. This is a very large app and takes a while to download, but it is well worth the wait time.

Price: $4.99

Age: 4+


Barefoot World Atlas

Touch Press LLP
Touch Press LLP

Download Barefoot World Atlas to take a virtual world tour with your child. Spin the globe to learn geographical facts about climate, landmarks and famous buildings in each country you visit. Swipe through photo galleries and watch videos of each region you click on and save continents to your lists of favorites so you can remember where to go on your next trip.

Price: $4.99

Age: 4+


Spider-Man AR Book HD

Disney / iTunes App Store
Disney / iTunes App Store

This interactive book from Disney narrates the tale from The Amazing Spider-Man using still photos from the movie and six augmented-reality activities. Using the iPad’s camera, kids can tap an icon to see Peter Parker’s eyeglasses superimposed on their own faces — and when they move around, the glasses stay on. Kids also get to become part of the story by virtually wearing a Spider-Man mask, tapping spiders crawling on their faces before they can weave a web and having their photos taken as Oscorp employees.

Price: $4.99

Age: 4+


The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

This e-book is a beautiful tribute to the transformative powers of books and their stories. Adapted from an award-winning animated short film produced by MoonBot Studios, the app tells the tale of how a library of books helps Lessmore overcome the sadness he feels when a hurricane (a nod to Katrina) sweeps away the buildings and many of the people in his hometown of New Orleans. The imagery is outstanding, and parents and children alike will enjoy reading the poignant tale. You should also take a look at the recently released and very engaging augmented-reality app that brings the pages of the hardcover edition to life.

Price: $4.99

Age: 4+


Scribble Press

Scribble Press
Scribble Press

Scribble Press is a free app that lets you create your own books on the iPad. Write original pieces or use one of 50 fill-in-the-blank story templates such as “About me,” “If I ran for President,” “My first day at my new school” or “I am a mad scientist.”  Draw pictures using over 500 tools or upload your own photos and artworks as illustrations. Once you are done, instantly publish your work to the Scribble Press gallery and share it with friends on Facebook and Twitter. There’s even an option to order printed copies of the book to give as gifts.

Price: Free

Age: 4+


Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat Color & Create!

Random House / iTunes App Store
Random House / iTunes App Store

This digital coloring book is perfect for your budding artist looking for no-mess creativity on the go. Kids can color 16 Seuss-themed pages featuring favorite characters like the Cat in the Hat, Nick, Sally, Fish and Things One and Two. There are 32 colors of crayons and paintbrushes to make a virtual mess with, and the digital stickers and virtual-glitter cannon will surely be kid-approved.

Price: $3.99

Age: 4+


Juno’s Piano

The Juno Company
The Juno Company

Looking to introduce your kids to the piano but not ready to invest in a baby grand?  Then download Juno’s Piano and choose the “learn a song” feature. Kids can follow along with Juno as she plays a few notes and then try to play the songs themselves. And don’t forget to spend time in the “free play” section of the app so your kids can create their own tunes without guidance.

Price: $0.99

Age: 4+


Ladybird: I’m Ready for Phonics

LadyBird: I’m Ready for Phonics
LadyBird: I’m Ready for Phonics

Who said learning was boring? Children will love learning to read with the fun games and interactive alphabet challenges in Ladybird: I’m Ready for Phonics. Join Captain Comet on his journey through 12 space-themed adventures based on the synthetic-phonics method, which aims to teach kids pronunciations, letters and tricky words that can not be sounded out. They must finish each level (represented as a planet) to unlock the next set of activities. You can also watch videos of children speaking difficult words and record your child’s voice as he or she practices.

Price: $6.99

Age: 4+


GazziliScience

GazziliWorld LLC
GazziliWorld LLC

Teach your preschooler basic science through colorful cartoons and interactive games with GazziliScience.  The app features six activities that teach science facts like what makes plants grow, the difference between sinking and floating and why seasons change. There’s also an option for hearing-impaired children who need to follow the narrator’s words on the screen. This is the latest innovative app from GazziliWorld, the maker of GazziliPuzzles, GazziliShapes and the Webby-nominated vocabulary app GazziliWords.

Price: $1.99

Age: 4+


Stack the States

Dan Russell-Pinson / iTunes App Store
Dan Russell-Pinson / iTunes App Store

Stack the States is a fun way to test grade-schoolers’ knowledge of state capitals, shapes and abbreviations. Each time you answer a question correctly, a state drops into your platform. Your challenge then becomes to rotate the states and fit them together like puzzle pieces with the ones that are about to drop from above. Once the states are stacked and you cross the finish line, you earn a state for your permanent collection. When you have mastered the app and collected all 50 states, download Stack the Countries to upgrade your knowledge to include national flags, landmarks and much more.

Price: $0.99

Age: 4+


Super Why ABC Adventures: Alphabet

Super Why ABC Adventure
Super Why ABC Adventure

In this app from PBS, kids join their favorite Super Why characters for a worldwide alphabet adventure. Children work on their reading skills while playing five games in which they are introduced to the ABCs and alphabet sounds. When they finish a game successfully, they earn a souvenir sticker.

Price: $3.99

Age: 4+


Peekaboo Barn

Night & Day Studios, Inc.
Night & Day Studios, Inc.

Toddlers are introduced to animal names and sounds in this bright and colorful app. Tap on the bouncing red barn to open the doors and see and hear from the adorable animals inside. Once you swipe through all the animals — including a donkey, a rooster and a rabbit — the sun sets, and kids can see what the barn looks like at night. This app is a simple and fun way to spend some time on the virtual farm with your little one.

Price: $1.99

Age: 4+


Little Digits

Cowly Owl Ltd / iTunes App Store
Cowly Owl Ltd / iTunes App Store

Make learning to count fun with the educational app Little Digits. It displays cartoon numbers by detecting how many fingers children place on the multitouch screen. Little kids can use their touch skills to learn basic addition and subtraction as well.

Price: $1.99

Age: 4+


Chicktionary

Chicktionary
Chicktionary

Hatch some fun with the popular word game Chicktionary. Choose between the speed-play version, in which you have three minutes to find as many words as you can from a selection of letters, or try the long-play version and take your time to finish. Tap “Beak Sneak” for letter clues if you get stumped, or challenge your friends to a match online. Once you have mastered the first puzzle pack, you can buy other levels for $0.99 each. Grade-schoolers will become addicted to this game — just don’t let them know that all the fun is educational.

Price: Free

Age: 4+


Maily

Goodnews.is
Goodnews.is

Children as young as 4 years old can safely exchange e-mail messages with family and friends using this simple, secure app. The browser interface is so kid-friendly that a preschooler can tap the app, compose a drawing using the artist tools included and choose a parent-approved contact to e-mail it to. Parents can be copied on all sent and received messages so they can monitor what is being sent to their children. Maily is very visual and includes options to add bright stickers and stamps to messages. Kids can take self-portraits with the iPad camera and add them to the e-mail as well.

Price: Free

Age: 4+

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