Video games pull kids towards them as automatically as a magnet pulls iron shavings, and the low price and easy availability of iPhone games makes them especially accessible. Not every child has an iPhone; they’re costly, and, being multi-function devices, they are typically on temporary loan from parents. Nevertheless, there are a multitude of games for the iPhone that rank beyond simple toys and distractions. Many are also fun, engaging, and even educational. If you’re a parent who’s looking to load up your iPhone with quality fare for your kids, consider:
Angry Birds — This one’s a given. Rovio’s Angry Birds is a physics-based phenomenon that challenges players to fling birds of various shapes and sizes into rickety structures populated by pigs (no, seriously). It’s a fun and charming game, and Rovio is always on top of adding new content. It’s also an educational game: if you don’t think out your shots before launch, you’re going to fail. When that happens, you’ll have to endure some very smug smiles from some very self-satisfied pigs.
DragonVale — Lots of free-to-play iPhone games let you run amusement parks, but only DragonVale lets you run a park where the main attractions are of the fire-breathing variety. Not only does DragonVale task you with building a magical tourist attraction, but you’re also expected to breed rare hybrid dragons that will bring in the visitors.
Fruit Ninja — Fruit Ninja is a simple but insanely addictive game that pits you against reams of succulent fruit. How many melons, apples, kiwis and bananas can you slice in a given time period? Test your reflexes, and try not to drool on the screen.
Doodle Jump — Another simple but addictive game, Doodle Jump is one of the App Store’s best-sellers. Using the iPhone’s gyro sensor, you must guide the ascent of the game’s main fellow, who has one heck of a spring in his step. Perilous platforms and enemies await.
Bookworm — Bookworm is a great vocabulary-building game for anyone, but will especially fly with kids aged nine through 12. You use a letter grid to select blocks that spell out words and earn you points–but if you don’t do something about the burning blocks before they hit the bottom of the screen, you’ll end up with a cartoony interpretation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
Pocket Frogs — Pocket Frogs is a game about the care and breeding of many, many pretty frogs. It’s far more fulfilling than it sounds, and teaches a fun and easy lesson about genetic selection. You can literally spend hours in your attempt to–ahem–catch ’em all.
Tiny Tower — Build a tower to the sky, manage your tenants, keep their businesses stocked, and keep tabs on your “Bitizens” by nosing in on the entries they’ve posted on their Bitbooks. Tiny Tower isn’t the most accurate simulation on the App Store, but it’s definitely one of the busiest and most charistmatic.
Minecraft PE (Pocket Edition) — Minecraft is an indie title that’s taking the gaming world by storm, and for good reason. It’s indescribably fun, and exercises your inborn god complex. Imagine having all the Lego bricks you could possibly want to build with–and imagine having the entire world as your building base. That’s Minecraft.
Pocket God — If Minecraft PE still leaves behind an itch to rule, consider Pocket God. Pocket God lets you rule over an island civilization, and leaves it up to you whether or not you’ll be a happy god or a vengeful god.
The Moron Test — Everybody loves to try and prove that they’re as smart as a whip–but all it takes is a tricky trivia app to put you in your place. The Moron Test is a tongue-in-cheek game that forces users to come at its plethora of problems with an open mind. Proving your intelligence is not as easy as it initially seems.
(Special Thanks: Best Kids Apps)