Blog Post

8 Great iPhone Games for Kids (According to Kids)

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 (s aapl) 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.

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.

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.

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub req’d):

Is There Any Demand For a True Gaming Phone?

28 Responses to “8 Great iPhone Games for Kids (According to Kids)”

  1. Alfredo,
    I have lived many years in Ecuador and my wife is from Quito. I enjoy your articles, especially the one about games for kids. Too many games these days are full of violence. I just finished my first App called iDigger-an educational, dig for dino bones, game for kids. I’d love for you to check it out and let me know what you think.
    Bill Ward

  2. As an educator, I was thrilled to partner up with a close friend (who is also an amazing designer), to form the company Smarty Shortz. We have Smarty K out and smartyshortz 1st. It has six subjects with four lessons each (24 mini lessons!) and then the app reinforces each mini lesson with a short game (24 mini games!). So, you get a total of 48 lessons and games with one app. Learning is FUN with Smarty Shortz!! for the iPhone and for the iPad

  3. understated elegance

    I just asked my 8 year old her all time top 3 iPhone apps and she said:
    Shrek Driving
    Pets Live

    Then i asked my 4 year old:
    iearned that

  4. Madeline and Zoe

    Our Dad got us Lilbug which is a real cute little ladybird who flies around and tries to eat flowers. The different coloured flowers are worth different amounts of points.It gets harder because after a while he has to avoid a frog who is trying to eat him. Then it gets harder again and a spider comes which he also has to fly away from or he will lose a life and get dizzy. It’s just the right amount of trickiness for us.

    Madeline and Zoe aged 10 and 8.

  5. Hello,

    We would like to introduce you a creative game for young children – “4Kids”.

    Applications goals:
    – Development of logical thinking
    – Designed for 3-4 year old kids by professional educators
    – No violence or bad emotions, just colorful images
    – Really simple for really, really young kids

    What are the advantages over the other games for kids?

    – it’s designed for small children who may not be able to read&write yet
    (this is a common issue with other apps that makes them require adult’s

    – it motivates kids and makes them smile every time they make a right choice

    – no text commands; the game is completely graphical and can be easily
    understood all over the world

    4Kids is an educational game for children aged 3-4 and even older.
    Thanks to 4Kids your child will develop visual perception and logical
    thinking. Playing with matching images combine great entertainment with
    the development of thought processes. Each board ends with Joyful Sun,
    which will bring a smile on your child’s face (confirmed by 30
    preschoolers!). 4Kids was developed in cooperation with professional
    educators. You can give your child the game for self-education or assist
    him, and together enjoy successes.

  6. ABC ZOO

    we have developed a new fun educational app for kids.
    ABC zoo is a teaching and developing iPhone and iPod touch application for your kids. Easy-to-use on a trip or whenever you are out with your children to amuse or keep them busy. A useful and funny app that lets your kid get used to reading. Your kids will learn alphabet while playing.
    Available here:

  7. Thanks! Being iphone favourers we love our kid learning and playing with apple products.
    And recenlty to our surprise we partnered with educators from learning centers for preschool children where our kid is studying. They desired to go public with Apple with new technology at hand.

    The result of our relationship is BabyCounting – the first educative application in a series of apps for preschool age mainly focusing on early education.
    Check our app here

  8. David Schwartz

    Thanks, Alfredo.

    Our grandkids love our iPhones gor pictures and youtube but, my wife and I were born a couple of generations to soon for us to be into games – well, unless you coint Tetris and PacMan. So, your suggestions will be a lot of fun for all concerned.

  9. I love brushes! I was skeptical at how practical it might be as a creative platform, but I’m really impressed… the app’s biggest limit is my artistic ability. Brushes on the bigger screen of the ipad is actually the most compelling reason for me to even consider a 1st gen ipad. Check out my review of brushes here.