The iPad’s intuitive operating system and multi-touch screen make it an ideal device for kids to use.
A number of games, ebooks, and educational apps featured in the App Store may soon have you playing tug-of-war with your children for iPad time. While the iPhone and iPod Touch have their share of kid-friendly games, the iPad's larger screen size is revealing a larger assortment of applications, with interactive books being among the most popular.
The following is a collection of some of the most popular and highly regarded kid-friendly applications.
“Alice for the iPad” (Atomic Antelope, $8.99, released April 13) [image above]
This retelling of the classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland re-imagines interaction with a book. Children can flick cupcakes, toss around a jug and play with the smoke from the caterpillar's hookah. The book is an abridged version of the full novel, but there is plenty here to keep a child (or adult) entertained and awed by the careful recreation. A lite version provides a sample chapter should you want a trial run before downloading the entire book.
"Sketcher HD" (Acai LLC, $2.99, released April 1)
The Etch-a-Sketch is a classic toy that many adults remember fondly. Now it can be shared with your child: iPad style. "Sketcher HD" has the familiar horizontal, vertical, and undo knobs. If you don't want to toil with the knobs, then drawing on the screen works with a finger also. "Sketcher HD" promises to be more than just a digital Etch-A-Sketch, it also will save images that can be shared across social networks. Sketcher HD has its own Flickr feed that shows off some of its users' creations.
"How to Train Your Dragon" (FrogDogMedia, $2.99, released April 2)
Fans of the popular book and movie will likely want to watch it over and over again in iPad form. This app includes an animated story (narration is available if you have already read it 1,000 times) that really pops on the iPad's screen. It is not as interactive as "Alice," but the images and graphics will probably be a hit to those who love the story. And if the user reviews are any indication of its popularity then children everywhere will soon be bugging their parents to download it.
"Tic Tac Math Universal" ($4.99, IPMG Publishing, released April 14)
Since your child is likely to spend a bunch of time with your iPad, why not make it educational? This math game is a fun take on tic-tac-toe, but with a catch: kids have to solve math problems in order to win. This is not just a game for first graders as there is addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems available. It can be played with one or two players and includes three levels of difficulty.
"The Cat in the Hat" (Oceanhouse Media, $2.99, released April 1)
Another great ebook that makes it an engaging read for kids. The strength here is that the time-honored illustrations and zany storyline really are a different kind of experience on the iPad when compared to the printed page. Parents may appreciate the opportunity to further expose children to reading and great stories through this app. Price: $2.99.
“Drawing Pad” (Darren Murtha Design, $1.99, released April 18)
It is called an iPad after all, so it only makes sense that it be used as a drawing surface. With "Drawing Pad" a child (or even an adult) can get as messy they want with anything from the color pallet with no cleanup required afterward. The app uses realistic crayons, markers, paint, and other tools to allow children to create a masterpiece. And instead of simply taking a child's drawing and hanging it on the refrigerator, it can be e-mailed to grandma or shared with friends through Facebook and Twitter.