Ask Lifehacker: What Are The Best Family iPad Games?

Dear Lifehacker, I found a couple of family-friendly games for the iPad that were free and pretty good, so we bought the paid versions but there are many games without a trial version and I am reluctant to spend money on a game that I can't try first. It would take forever to go through the list of all games to find the best ones. Which games would you would recommend? Regards, Ben

Dear Ben,

Games aren't bread and butter material for Lifehacker, but I figure in this case they do have a productivity angle. Letting your kids play on the iPad is a great way of keeping them occupied while you get on with other tasks, whether that's on your PC or in the kitchen.

With that said, I'm not a dedicated iPad user so I can't personally recommend anything other than Plants vs Zombies, which has proved dangerously addictive for me after I was introduced to it by my young nephews. Of course, zombie-based carnage may not be what you had in mind for your children, so I'll open this one up to the readers: which iPad games have you actually found worth paying for? Tell us in the comments so Ben can get onto his own weekend projects.

Cheers Lifehacker


    It's a pity that the Playschool website is almost entirely Flash based. I hope it will be HTML 5 soon. I can't stand Flash.

    Go for Scrabble. I have it, and I'm hooked. It has the usual multiplayer via wifi, as well as "pass and play" (play on one iPad, passing the device between players, but also iPhone / iPod touch support. You download the program onto your iPod / iPhone, then it becomes your tile rack. I haven't tried it personally, but it looks neat.

    I was hoping this would be more about games that multiple people can play simultaneously, rather than games for children. In the multiplayer category I would recommend habour master or flight control, and probably Carcasonne when ipad support arrives.

    Fruit Ninja HD was a hit with my sister-in-law, my 3 year old neice and 8 year old nephew. It has 2 player modes as well.

    Angry Birds HD was a hit with my non-gaming friends and I think it would go down well with kids aged at least 6 and up

    There are some tabletop sports games like air hockey and foosball that I think would be good as well

    Angry Birds HD - though let the kids play it too! This is one game that you'll be wanting walk away with and play it by yourself until you finish it all.

    Osmos HD - awesomely fun and simple game that teaches a little about physics too.

    Puppet Pals - kids will love making their own stories with Puppet Pals and playing them back to you - free download, but additional costs if you want more sets and characters.

    Multipong - simple game with a twist - go multiplayer with up to four players at once.

    Fruit Ninja HD as mentioned before is great fun and simple too.

    My 5 old boy is thoroughly addicted to both Angry Birds HD and Plants vs Zombies.

    Flight Control (by Firemint). It's not HD but the larger format majesty much easier for little fingers

      You can always get the HD version if you want it (dodgy that its a separate purchase and costs a lot more).

    That should be 'makes it', not 'majesty'. Damn this tiny iPhone keypad.


    Definitely, Memory Kids is a must for families with kids

    I just found "iSpy..."
    it's the I spy with my little eye game we used to play when we were kids. I downloaded it yesterday and my kids absolutely love this iPad game! playing and laughing for hours now :)

    Match Up is a good retro memory style game, and no pieces to lose!

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