iPhone Applications for Kids (Part I)

Just about a year ago, I bought my iPhone. I have loved (almost) every minute having it this past year. I was a Mac fan even while I was still using a Windows machine, and finally made the switch to all Apple last year. At first, I was extremely protective of the iPhone and the thought of actually handing it over to my kids to let them play a game on it – it was madness.

Welllll….never say never. It’s amazing what one will do to entertain your child. There’s a number of apps (many of them free) that are great for kids. Some of them, I’ve even loved playing myself. Whenever I can, if there is a free trial version of a game, I’ll usually download that first to see if it holds their interest long enough to make a purchase worthwhile. In some rare cases, I’ve just gone ahead and splurged and just bought a game because it looked cool from the description (usually at a pricetag of $1!! Big spender that I am!)

I thought I’d share some of my favorite downloads. I’m constantly finding and downloading new applications (Yes, I have QUITE a few pages of apps on my phone!) so expect another post like this sometime in the future (shorter next time I promise). So assume this post is part one.

1) Solitaire City (Free trial | Full version)
Ok, maybe this one is more for me :) but I can see older kids liking this game. I think the concept may be too hard for the real little kids, though. I got the free trial, and it became one of my favorite games on my iPhone. I went ahead and bought the full version to have access to all the other versions of solitaire, but the same one that is included in the free trial is the one I still play the most.

2) Airport Mania (Free trial | Full version)
In this list, you’re going to quickly find out that my favorite game genre is the what they call time management games. You have to do something for X Y and Z in such an order before A B and C walk in the door, or X gets pissed and leaves, etc. So this is a time management game with airplanes. Landing them in sequence, unloading and loading passengers, fuel and or repairs for the airplane.

3) Arcade Claw (Free trial | Full version)
Like the arcade game without the headache of feeding the machine endlessly while you continually just miss getting the super cool elephant stuffed animal.

4) Balloon Animals (Free trial | Full version)
I really like this one – kids “blow” the balloon up (by blowing into/at the iphone) then you shake the iPhone to twist the balloon into an animal. We only have the free trial on this one because it only comes with 7 animals if you buy it. (The free one only comes with one.) The description says it’s “packed with various animals” – I don’t really consider 7 to be “packed”… 15-20… maybe that’s packed. 7? Not really. Also, the game is about $2 (yes, I know, we’re getting nit-picky).ย  If they lowered the price, I’d buy it. OR if they added A LOT more animals, I’d buy it. In the meantime, my kids are still amused by the one that comes free.

5) Bug Squash (Free trial | Full version)
This one is a big favorite with them. Pretty simple game, bugs run across the screen – you need to squish them by touching them on the screen. We bought the full version on this one to get access to more bugs and get rid of the nagging in the free trial to upgrade. It’s worth it. My one complaint with this game: My son really isn’t playing a game here – he just likes squishing the bugs. For him, I wish they had an “endless mode” that would just keep the bugs coming until you said you were done.

6) Bugs! (Free)
This is like Bug Squash – with the endless mode – but without the variety you get in Bug Squash. BUT it’s free. ๐Ÿ˜€

7) Cooking Mama (Free trial | Full version)
We have this game on the Wii and my daughter loves it – we got the trial version and then the full version for the iPhone. You have to do certain things to cook a meal – and the better/quicker you do them, the higher you will score.

8 ) Crazy Hotdogs (Free trial | Full version)
Another time management game – cook hotdogs, don’t burn them (it makes the customers angry) :) give them to your customers before they get tired of waiting and leave.

9) Diner Dash (Free trial | Full version)
Time management – seat customers, take their order, get their food, clean the tables and get the next set of customers in before they leave hungry. :)

10) Crazy Penguin Catapult (Free trial | Full version | Free trial version 2 | Full version 2)
Apparently there is something extremely entertaining about catapulting penguins. At least to my kids. Should I be worried? ๐Ÿ˜‰

11) Pocket God (Full version)
This is one of those games I just had to risk it. As of this writing the game is only $.99 which is an amazing bargain for the amount of content they already have in the game. It seems like every other week they add a new “episode” (which you get as a free update after you buy the game) with new stuff. I don’t even know how to describe this “game” really – there’s pygmies on the island, and you can pick them up and move them around… or fling them into the distance into a volcano. Do that enough times and it will rain lava on the rest of the pygmies. A shark swims by, pick it up and it tries to eat the pygmies. Or in another scene, there’s a dinosaur egg that if you pick up and drop enough times, a dinosaur appears and eats pygmies that get too close to it. Latest episode has a dodo bird that flies overhead. Touch the dodo bird to drop… uhm… droppings on the heads of the pygmies. Just crazy random stuff.

12) Sally Spa (Free trial | Full version)
Cute time management game – my daughter loves this one. Send customers through a round of various spa services.

13) See ‘n Roar (Free)
My son loves this one. A wheel you spin with various animals on the wheel. When the arrow lands on an animal – you hear the sound it makes.

14) Supermarket Mania (Free trial | Full version)
Time management game – stock shelves in a supermarket, pick up dropped groceries. Watch out for theives, etc.

15) TanZen (Free trial | Full version)
Fun game with tangrams. When I first bought this game – it was missing a few features they’ve since added. Most notably a “hint” feature. (You’ll need that one the tougher puzzles!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

16) ToMaCow (Free trial | Full version)
Another one that I don’t even know how to begin to describe the randomness. Aliens come to attack your farm, and you must try and kill them… with a hose that sprays… tomatoes.

17) What would you chose? Party game (Free)
I found this game through my niece (who is 13) and who giggled endlessly at the questions.

18) Dress Chica (Free)
Chica is a chicken puppet from the cable TV show PBS Kids Sprout, and in this application you get to dress her. Who knew putting clothes on a chicken would be so entertaining!

20) Kids Four (Full version)
I don’t know, maybe even the $.99 is still too much for what the app does, but my son really does like it. There’s four mini games – pick letters, shapes, colors, and numbers.

Also – don’t forget the applications that come with the iPhone (or at least the latest version of iPhone OS software). Voice Memos and the Camera are two of my son’s favorite apps. He especially loves recording himself singing. (Ironically, if I tried to get him to sing so I could record it, he’d probably refuse, but because he’s doing it himself, it’s fun)

(See Part II here for 15 more iPhone applications for kids)


  1. prettymom
    Jul 23, 2009

    thanks for this list. but should i let my kids play? they might think my iphone = their toys… lol!

  2. Jennifer
    Jul 23, 2009

    Yeah, I know. That IS becoming a problem. And what’s worse is that with the two of them, now they’re fighting over my phone. HELLO?! It’s MY PHONE! And then they’ll completely drain the battery playing games, and I’ll forget to charge it…. =sigh= I went for a run the other night, and the darn thing died half way through. There is definitely a downside to this! HAHA!

    We’re actually considering getting Rachel an iTouch. She’s kind of outgrown her gameboy and the iTouch seems like it may even be better than an Nintendo DS… I just wish the iTouch had a camera. I may hold off until it does… (my guess is they’ll add it in the next version)

  3. Rachel
    Jul 23, 2009

    Does seem likely that the next iTouch will have a camera. See http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10291681-1.html

    You could also go to an Apple store and ask if you bought the new iTouch if you’d be able to upgrade to next model when it comes out? I see the iTouch as a great replacement to a PSP type thing.

  4. Jennifer
    Jul 23, 2009

    Yeah I saw that article and I’m psyched!! With a camera and a few kid-friendly photo-type “games” (like the Nintendo DS has) and the iTouch will completely blow it away. Unfortunately her birthday is next month (it was going to be a birthday present) – so I think we’ll have to find some way to hold her off. I doubt they’ll let you trade in an iTouch when a new one comes out.

  5. Jennifer
    Aug 5, 2009

    For another game suggestion (although you may have already stumbled across it ), have you and/or the kids tried playing Rolando? That game is cute, as there are little round, orange (like the fruit)-looking characters and you have to tilt the screen to roll them around, and swipe your finger to make them jump. It’s a little like a puzzle game in that you have to figure out what path to take to safely get all the characters around the obstacles to the end of the level. It’s pretty fun!

    Also, for nostalgia value of games from the early 80’s, you can’t beat Oregon Trail!


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