Jamie Pearson is the co-publisher of Best Kids Apps, a review blog for parents looking for the best children’s iPhone, iPad, and (very soon!) Android apps for kids.
So you’ve got a brand new iPad and a couple of noisy kids who are clamoring to play on it. Lucky you! What you need now are a handful of high quality apps with good replay value. You don’t have time to slog through the entire iTunes App Store looking for them though. Who does?
I do. It’s my job, actually. I’ve tested more apps than I can count. Here are ten of my favorites for kids aged 0–6.
1. Interactive Alphabet, Age rating: 1+
An absolutely lovely way for kids to experience the alphabet! From a home screen they choose from among 26 colorful letters (that look a lot like refrigerator magnets). Each page has an age appropriate original illustration (like “D is for Dinosaur”), background music, and an animation for your child to discover.
2. Weetwoo, Age rating: 2+
This is one of our all time favorite iPad apps. It’s a one-stop parent-curated video browsing gadget for kids – like YouTube, but with filters.
Channels include Animals, Fun Shows, Learn, Music, People, and Places and developers have listed hundreds of hours of kid-friendly programming with everything from funny kitten videos to a Discovery Education short biography of Ludwig van Beethoven.
3. Fruit Ninja HD, Age rating: 4+
This app is a lot like Doodle Jump because it’s fun, easy, and very hard to put down. Using your finger as a blade, you swipe various pieces of fruit that fly up in the air, chopping them in half. In classic mode, you also have to avoid the bombs.
4. Playtime Theater, Age rating: 5+
This app is an amazing, portable puppet show theater for the iPad. The main screen is a customizable, interactive castle play set that gives kids characters, props, and sound effects and invites them to create and record short shows.
5. Fish School HD, Age rating: 1+
In this educational app (disguised as a fish tank full of fun), kids learn about letters, numbers and shapes. It’s best for toddlers and preschoolers starting to learn the alphabet. There’s plenty of free play and lots of learning too.
6. Cut the Rope, Age rating: 4+
Cut a series of ropes (negotiating the laws of physics and gravity) to feed candy to the world’s sweetest green monster. Perfect graphics, appealing music and sound effects, and a ridiculously cute character. Very challenging too.
7. Monkey Preschool Lunchbox, Age rating: 18 months+
In this highly addictive game, a playful monkey cheers you on as you count fruit, put puzzles together, match cards. Stickers are your reward and a happy, dancing monkey of course! Some screens might require mom or dad to help their toddler, so stay nearby.
8. First Words: Animals, Age rating: 1+
Kids can learn the alphabet and simple animal words and impress the heck out of their grandparents with this adorable app. It might look like baby homework, but it’s actually a lot of fun.
9. Highlights My First Hidden Pictures, Age rating: 3+
A fun app that will take you back to the dentist’s waiting rooms of your youth. It’s also a great way to introduce toddlers and preschoolers to the delight of hidden picture puzzles.
Kids can look for almost a hundred objects hidden in the eight included illustrations and get clues whenever they need them with no penalty
10. Tales2Go, Age rating: 3+
This all-you-can-eat story app for the iPhone and the iPod Touch is hands down the best educational app we’ve ever seen—it’s going to change the way families kill time.
No longer do parents have to browse and buy audio books one by one. With a single touch they’ll have access to over 900 stories for kids aged 3-11, with more being added every day.
Also, be sure to check out our great round up of iPhone apps for kids and moms on the go!
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