The 11 Best iPad Games for Kids

Keep the kids happy on a long trip with great games for iPad

Kid using iPad

Steve McAlister / Getty Images

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The iPad can be the ultimate family entertainment system, with tons of games and entertaining apps that are perfect for kids of all ages. Every game for iOS has an age-specific rating so that you can tell if the game is right for your child. Because most games cost between $.99 and $1.99, with the expensive games rarely going for more than $5, you don't have to break into your kids' piggy bank to pay for their entertainment.

Turn off in-app purchases before installing games on iPad for your kids. Some games can seem like a great deal until you get the iTunes bill with the in-app purchases. If you're looking for virtual reality games for kids, there's a list for that, too.

01
of 11

Candy Crush Saga

Candy Crush Saga being played on an iPad

m01229 / Flickr /CC BY 2.0

What We Like

  • Fantastic artwork and unique board designs.

  • Hundreds of new stages.

  • A great take on the classic matching game.

What We Don't Like

  • It's easy to break the piggy bank on in-app purchases.

  • Some levels are nearly impossible to pass.

  • Cost of gold has risen, but the prizes have been reduced.

Candy Crush has taken on a life of its own since its release. It mixes the classic connect-the-matching-symbols gameplay with everyone's favorite pastime: eating candy. Candy Crush Saga is good for toddlers, too, because just tapping the screen results in a lot of graphical fun. Older kids will enjoy the puzzles the game presents, and even adults will find it engaging.

02
of 11

Despicable Me: Minion Rush

Minions running on a road screenshot

What We Like

  • Great costumes.

  • 3D environments based on scenes from the Despicable Me movies.

  • Download and play for free, although in-app purchases are available.

What We Don't Like

  • Can be glitchy.

  • Updates may wipe out progress.

  • Play may slow if you don't have certain minions.

The endless runner game has exploded since Temple Rush hit the app store, and although many games in this genre are just Temple Rush with new graphics or a new theme, Despicable Me: Minion Rush adds fun new gameplay mechanics and includes the humorous charm of those cute little minions. Kids will enjoy this game because it's quick to play and fun to compete for the highest score.

03
of 11

Fruit Ninja

Fruit Ninja logo showing a blindfolded man cutting a coconut with a sword

Fruit Ninja

What We Like

  • Fantastic graphics and sound effects.

  • Four modes give lots of play options.

  • Supports single player and multiplayer.

What We Don't Like

  • The game is a bit buggy.

  • Lots of ads, especially at higher levels.

  • Some in-app purchases reach $10.

Few games have as many customer reviews as Fruit Ninja and manage to stay above 4 stars, and there's a reason for that. Fruit Ninja is good old-fashioned slicing and dicing fun, with a simple concept and yet enough challenge to keep kids swiping. The goal: Slice as much fruit as you can without slicing through a bomb and blowing your virtual finger off.

04
of 11

Where's My Water?

Where's My Water Logo

Disney

What We Like

  • More than 200 puzzles for hours of gameplay.

  • Water moves realistically.

  • Easy-to-use controls.

What We Don't Like

  • Syncing with iCloud can be glitchy.

  • Not well optimized for iPhone X.

  • Need in-app purchases for the best experience.

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 kids the value of bathing by helping 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.

05
of 11

Cut the Rope GOLD

Levels in Cut the Rope GOLD

What We Like

  • Outstanding graphics.

  • Great way to learn about physics.

  • Lots of levels to keep you interested.

What We Don't Like

  • Not optimized for iPhone X.

  • Difficult for children under 10.

  • Not a lot of difference between the paid and free versions.

Om Nom loves his candy, but he needs a little help getting it. Cut the Rope GOLD is a physics puzzle game in which kids use ropes to move a piece of candy, swinging it across the screen and — with luck — into Om Nom's mouth. Fortunately, it's not as simple as it sounds, forcing kids to think about how to get past the various obstacles standing between Om Nom and his candy.

06
of 11

Slice Fractions

Scenes from Slice Fractions

What We Like

  • Playful learning at its best.

  • Perfect for kids aged 5 to 12.

  • Teaches important math concepts.

What We Don't Like

  • Challenging for kids under 6.

  • Difficult for kids who learn by listening.

  • Some levels require abstract thinking.

Many kid-friendly games are about having fun, not about learning something new. Plenty of educational apps in the App Store can engage a child's mind, but when a game blends having fun with learning, it definitely deserves a mention on this list.

Slice Fractions manages to capture fun inside a game that's all about learning fractions. It's ideal for kids who are ready to move beyond whole numbers and conquer division.

07
of 11

Paper Toss Boss

Screens from Paper Toss Boss

What We Like

  • Can be played without Wi-Fi.

  • High nostalgia value.

  • Great graphics.

What We Don't Like

  • Can lag a bit.

  • Ads can cover the top of the screen.

  • Not all levels are equally interactive.

Paper Toss Boss is quick, easy fun that you can enjoy with your kids, competing to see how many wadded-up pieces of paper (or even rubber band balls and other things) you can get into the trash can in a row or even throw at the boss or your coworkers. But don't think it's easy: You'll need some physics skills to bank shots and make it through the game's levels.

08
of 11

Bubble Ball

Capture Bubble Ball showing the menu and stop flag

Nay Games

What We Like

  • Create your own levels or play levels created by others.

  • A fun way to learn physics.

  • The first 48 levels are free.

What We Don't Like

  • Won't challenge older kids.

  • Graphics aren't terribly sophisticated.

  • Rudimentary user interface.

What do you get when you have an addictive 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. The game doesn't have the fun graphics found in titles like Cut the Rope and Fruit Ninja, but it does contain engaging play that will please puzzle lovers ages 4 to 94.

09
of 11

AniMatch: Animal Matching Game

Logo and screens from AniMatch

What We Like

  • Great sound effects.

  • Really holds young kids' attention.

  • A great spin on the classic memory game.

What We Don't Like

  • Won't challenge older kids.

  • Can't turn off sounds.

  • Not optimized for iOS 11.

Would a list of the iPad games for kids be complete without a matching game? Whether you use playing cards spread out on a table or cute animals aligned on a tablet, there's just something about matching up pictures that can delight your little ones. AniMatch: Animal Matching Game is a great iPad game that a two- or three-year-old can enjoy — if you can get the iPad away from the older kids.

10
of 11

The Game of Life

The Game of Life board with spin wheel

EA

What We Like

  • Great, sharp graphics.

  • Play multiplayer online or with up to 3 friends on one iPad.

  • Fantastic 3D animation.

What We Don't Like

  • Game is slow to load.

  • Included minigames aren't terribly exciting.

  • Game can quit unexpectedly.

The Game of Life has long been a family favorite, but with the board game, it's easy to lose the pieces, especially those blue and pink pegs. No worries about losing game pieces with the iPad version, though, and with neat graphics thrown into the mix, this classic board game takes on a new life on the iPad.

If you've never played The Game of Life, you take turns moving about the board, first graduating from school, then getting married, getting a job, and finally having kids. At the end of the game, the score is calculated based on who has the best job and most kids.

11
of 11

Drawing Pad

iPad showing drawing tools and colored squiggles

Drawing Pad

What We Like

  • Has just about every drawing tool you can think of.

  • Print, share, and save your kids' drawings.

  • Great for kids of all ages.

What We Don't Like

  • The app can be unstable.

  • Parent's need to monitor the app's access to social media sites.

  • Can be challenging to fine-tune colors.

Last on this list is an app that's not a game. Drawing Pad is simply a vehicle for an activities that all kids enjoy: drawing and using their imagination. Not only can your kids use the virtual crayons in Drawing Pad, but they can save their work and even share it by email or on social media.