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iPad Apps for Kids and Families

Making Your iPad a Kid-Friendly Device

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It's no secret that kids love gadgets. If you've already purchased an iPad, you've probably experienced that first-hand. But it's not always easy to find quality apps for your family that entertain, simplify life or maintain the Internet safety you promote at home. These iPad apps will help keep your family mobile computing life fun and safe.

1. Toy Story (free)

Toy Story is a free app from Disney Publishing is an interactive story book that includes sing-alongs, coloring pages and animated sequences from Disney's Toy Story. You can read the story yourself or have it read to you, and you can even record your own text. The illustrations are gorgeous, and you can't beat the price tag! For fans, Disney Publishing has another great iPad app for kids in their Toy Story 2 version. That app is $8.99.

2. Preschool Playmat: Farm Fun

Preschool Playmat: Farm Fun is an iPad app geared towards young kids. The app currently includes a memory game, shape matching activity and hidden object game. The developer plans to introduce new activities through monthly updates. If they follow through, this app will be a wonderful value at $2.99.

3. Plants vs. Zombies Mobile

It is no secret that I'm a fan of the PC version of Plants vs. Zombies. It's quirky, creative, addictive and fun. If you don't have a copy already, you'll definitely want to get this iPad app, which is rated for ages 9+ in the app store. Even if you have already mastered the game, you'll probably want to get the iPad version for an iPad-only mini-game and unlockable achievements. Plants vs. Zombies for the iPad is $9.99.

4. ColorPlay Animated Coloring Book

Coloring books set the standard for quiet, independent and creative playtime. But if you've forgotten the crayons at home, you can turn your iPad into a coloring book for your kids. ColorPlay Animated Coloring Book allows kids to choose one of 10 farm animals to color. Once they're done, they can turn on the animation and see their creation come to life. And, at $0.99, this iPad app is a great on-the-go option.

5. Drawing Pad

Games come and go, but a solid drawing program keeps entertaining. If you have budding artists in the family, they'll probably enjoy Drawing Pad, an iPad app that allows for free drawing. Drawing Pad includes crayons, colored pencils, markers, stickers and various other tools that help set your imagination free. You can even save your drawings to email to friends. Drawing Pad is $1.99.

6. Safe Eyes Mobile

Worried about what your kids might access while playing with the iPad? Safe Eyes Mobile serves as a browser and blocks inappropriate content, such as pornography, gambling and violence. Parents can also create their own list of sites to block and/or allow. As a bonus, you can sync Safe Eyes Mobile with your home-based version of the software. Safe Eyes Mobile is $19.99.

7. Flock It!

Flock It! is the mobile version of the popular puzzle game, Flock! Your goal is to herd sheep into their pen using your finger as a virtual herding dog. It sounds easy, but sheep can be stubborn and there will be obstacles to avoid. There are plenty of badges to unlock, as well as mini-games, so Flock It! should provide plenty of value for its $1.99 price tag.

8. i Love Katamari

The Katamari series of games (available also on the PS2/PS3 and X360) are weirdly wonderful. The storylines differ between versions, but your basic premise is to roll up everything in sight to create a "katamari." This mobile version of i Love Katamari uses the accelerometer to control the katamari so you'll be tilting your iPad around as you tackle each level. I Love Katamari was originally designed for iPhone use, so you may not see the best use of iPad graphics, but this is the type of game that appeals to a variety of ages and skill levels. It's $4.99 from the app store.

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