8 Great iPhone Games for Kids (According to Kids)

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My family is originally from Ecuador, and I recently got the opportunity to go back to the land of my birth and spend a few months living there. During that time I’ve been staying with my aunt and uncle and as a result have gotten to see a lot of their grandchildren. These four precocious girls, ranging in age from five to 11, were delighted by my iPhone the first time I showed it to them and now, each time they visit, my iPhone is appropriated for a while so they can play games on it.

Seeing how much they enjoyed the games I had on there, I went out and bought a bunch of additional games to give them some variety, and now have almost 40 on my iPhone, most of them aimed at a younger audience. Curious about which games they enjoyed the most, I asked each to list their favorites. I’ve decided to share the results with all of you in case you’re wondering which games to go out and buy for kids.

Note: All links point to iTunes.

Animal Memory Match Kids
Endorsed by: 5-year-old
Cost: 99 cents
A matching game with adorable animals on the cards and cute sounds when you make a match. My 5-year-old cousin loves this game, and even challenges herself by switching between difficulty levels, which just increases and decreases the number of cards you have to match.

Brushes
Endorsed by: 9-year-old, 11-year-old
Cost: $4.99
Not strictly a game, I bought this as a curiosity after watching the demonstration of the iPad version during last January’s keynote. I had no expectation of actually using it, as I have no talent for drawing or painting, but a couple of my more creative cousins picked it up and love it. If you believe you might have a budding painter on your hands giving them this app to play with might be one of the best things you could do for them.

Crazy Penguin Catapult
Endorsed by: 7-year-old, 9-year-old, 11-year-old
Cost: Free (99-cent paid version also available)
The idea is simple: Use a catapult to launch penguins and take out polar bears and other enemies. Launching a penguin involves just a simple swipe across the screen, you just have to time it right. The music is engaging and the noises the penguins make when you launch them are very fun. There’s a second version of the game out now, with both free and paid versions.

Cro-Mag Rally
Endorsed by: 11-year-old
Cost: $2.99
One of a couple of racing games I have on my iPhone, this one definitely lends itself to kids with cartoonish characters, simple gameplay and a fun soundtrack and audio effects. Despite the simple controls, just tilt left/right to steer and use a couple of on-screen buttons, it’s still complicated enough that only the oldest of my cousins mentioned it.

Dizzy Bee
Endorsed by: 5-year-old, 9-year-old, 11-year-old
Cost: $2.99 (Free version also available)
The idea behind Dizzy Bee is simple: Gather the flowers while avoiding the bad guys. You move Dizzy Bee about using the accelerometer, but your movements also cause the bad guys to move as well, so you’ve got to be somewhat strategic. The bright graphics, fun sounds and gameplay that can get more challenging at higher levels made this a favorite across the range of ages of my cousins. Dizzy Bee 2 is also available.

Frogger
Endorsed by: 7-year-old, 9-year-old, 11-year-old
Cost: 99 cents
I bought this arcade classic for myself, and found it somewhat surprising that my young cousins enjoy it so much since they didn’t grow up with it like I did. Very simple gameplay and easy-to-use controls — just swipe up/down/left/right to move the frogger — makes this an easy game for small kids to pick up.

Pickin’ Time
Endorsed by: 5-year-old, 11-year-old
Cost: 99 cents
The gameplay is exceedingly simple: You pick a vegetable at the beginning and then are presented rapid-fire with images of various vegetables. Simply tap on the screen when you see yours and avoid tapping when it’s a different vegetable. Each time you play you are scored on both accuracy and speed. Although my cousins don’t use it, there’s also a multiplayer mode available.

Tap Tap Revenge Classic
Endorsed by: 7-year-old, 9-year-old, 11-year-old
Cost: $1.99
One of the most iconic iPhone games out there, I wasn’t surprised to see this game endorsed by my young cousins as it combines fun music with straightforward gameplay. So far they’re still working on the built-in songs, but the older girls are definitely getting better at it. I’ve also bought the newer Tap Tap Revenge 3, but for whatever reason the girls prefer the original version.

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