Using the iPad as a platform for family games can be a great use for technology in bringing kids and parents together. However, many iPad games can be expensive, and parents are hesitant to purchase an app that they’re not sure will get much use. However, with this list of the best free iPad apps, you can have your game and play it, too! All without emptying out your bank account at the same time. However, beware that many free apps include in-app purchases, so be sure to turn off your in-app purchases before settling into a free iPad game marathon!
Harbor Master HD
Anyone who has toyed with the app FlightControl will likely love Harbor Master HD. In a screen littered with boats, users must draw lines that direct the travel of boats from one dock to another. However, users need beware to not create a collision, a la Miami Vice. This is a perfect app for kids working on logic, while also offering a chance to refine motor skills in the line drawing activities. Sit down and play this one together – it’s a good time, and with multiple bodies of water to choose from as backdrops, this app stays fresh.
Paper Toss HD
Flick-style games for ipad require users to use their finger in a “flicking” motion to direct an object towards a goal. In this case, a crumpled up piece of paper becomes the flicking object as players try to aim it into a trash can sitting amongst a variety of fun backgrounds. With a wind throwing off your aim, there’s some definite skill to figure out here, but yet it’s easy enough for young kids to get involved in.
Draw Something Free
With this cool game, players connect with other Draw Something Free users to draw an object, and send it off to friends to guess what it is. Boxes at the bottom of the drawing give users a hint of what the drawing may be in hangman-like style. This would be a fun way for kids to connect with parents travelling for business, or with relatives far away by keeping in touch through drawings!
Snuggle Truck HD
Snuggle Truck HD is a fun racing game for kids capable of moving the iPad safely. The goal of the game is to maneuver a truck full of cuddly stuffed animals through a series of courses and deliver them to the zoo. However, crazy obstacles like moose and ramps require users to twist and turn the tablet to jump and maneuver their rig to the finish line. This app features graphics that will appeal to kids of all ages and genders.
Baby Finger HD
Babies like to play iPad, too! And with this cool, free game, they’ll have access to appropriate auditory and visual stimulation with an easy-to-operate interface. After opening the app, kids are free to simply touch the screen. Different modes bring up shapes, letters, or “things,” all in bright, well-designed graphics. Each time the screen is touched, a new image appears, prompting kids to keep touching. A great game for young toddlers and parents to work together on shape recognition!
Balloon Popper HD
With balloon popper, players are presented with a screen of different colored balloons. When logical patterns appear, you can pop the balloons by touching them. The goal is to pop as many balloons as possible, and while it seems like a simple concept, this game is addictive for parents and kids alike. With Balloon Popper, relaxing with your iPad can also help keep your mind sharp. This is a great choice for any kid old enough to recognize simple patterns.
Checkers Free HD
Checkers is a traditional game that’s an awesome tool for teaching kids strategy. In this virtual version for iPad, users can play against each other, or the app itself – making it a perfect single, or multi-player game. Can you say, “road trip entertainment?” The app features a traditional red & black checkers format, as well as a un-do feature if you just don’t feel like working around a challenging move from the app. But I probably wouldn’t tell the kids about that….
Air Hockey Gold
Is there anyone who doesn’t like playing Air Hockey? There’s something oddly enticing about whacking a puck across a table, and Air Hockey Gold takes the game out of the arcade and right onto the iPad. As with other multi-player enabled iPad games, Air Hockey Gold allows players to play independently, or with an opponent. The controls on this app work well, especially for a free app, and allow users to test their finger agility. And you get to play air hockey. Score!
Pilot Winds is a fun, and cute, game that gives players the flight controls to a stunt-loving penguin who is attempting flight. Tapping and tipping keeps the penguin in flight, while swooshing along the flight course allows the penguin to pick up extra points and goodies that boost your score. This is a fun game for kids and families based on strategy and concept. It’s a penguin in a leather jacket and flight goggles – that’s cute no matter who you are.