Below you will find Apps/games that are suitable for you to download on your smartphone for your grandchildren to play. All are sure to educate, amaze or just entertain … and some of them are free!
300 Bowl – With realistic movement and sound effects, this is “a bowling alley in the palm of your hand.” Kids can roll on their own, or against a friend or the computer.
Air Hockey – The old favorite from your basement moves to the iPhone. Kids can play against the game or put the phone down on a table and square off against each other with one or two pucks.
The American Museum of Natural History – This App lets you choose from a variety of tours or allows you to create your own from a list of popular exhibits, specimens, or artifacts. Take a quick tour and then create a scavenger hunt for your grandchild!
Animal Memory Match – This matching game asks you to remember where pairs of friendly animals are hiding behind colorful cards. The game can be played with 6, 12 or 20 cards so you can make it more challenging as your grandkids grow wiser.
Asphalt4: Elite Racing – For the car game enthusiast, Asphalt4 will thrill kids who want to race high performing cars through cites including New York, Shanghai and Paris. Grandchildren can also compete against other racers who have the game on their phones.
A Story Before Bed – This App lets grandparents record audio and video of themselves reading children’s classics from the apps library. Their grandchildren can then read along to the story images while also watching their grandparent(s) reading the story in a corner of the screen. Ideal for those who are far away.
Catcha Mouse 2 – Can you set enough traps to catch the elusive mouse before he jumps down a hole? This witty, multilevel App gets more challenging, and the mouse bolder, as the game goes on. Kids can also be the mouse as well as play against friends in multiplayer mode.
Doodle Kids – This artistic iPhone App is one of the most popular ones for kids and it’s free! It turns a child’s finger taps or streaks into random shapes and colors. To clear the screen and start again, just give the phone a shake.
Flight Control – This challenging and addictive game allows players to use their fingers to draw landing paths for planes approaching what must be the world’s busiest small airport. Your goal? Avoiding any collisions!
Fresh Paint for Windows 8 – This App was made by Microsoft to showcase the potential of touch-screen devices running Windows 8. It includes oil, watercolors, pencils and all of the appropriate tools needed for painting an original masterpiece. With this App, your grandchildren can finger paint and there will be no mess to clean up!
Google Earth – While this App is not a game, you can use it to make up your own geography games with your grandchildren. Find downtown Paris or suburban Chicago. Zoom in and take a look, or tilt the phone to peek over mountaintops.
Great Lightsaber – Yes, it’s a light saber…on your iPhone. It might be silly but your Star Wars-obsessed grandkids will love unsheathing the weapon and tilting the phone to make authentic Jedi battle sound effects as music from the films plays in the background.
iChalky – Reviewers call this the best-ever App for distracting kids. Chalky is a stick figure on a chalkboard that tumbles up and down as you move the phone back and forth, or stretch his arms and legs and make him dance. For extra silliness, insert your grandchild’s photo or your own face on Chalky’s and then bounce each other around.
Multiplication for Kids – Flash-card programs for kids are plentiful on the iPhone. This is an easy-to-use App that will help grandchildren master their multiplication tables from 0 to 20.
Ocarina – The ocarina, an ancient flute-like instrument, is brought to life in this App. Kids just blow into the phone’s microphone and run their fingers over the “holes” on its screen to make beautiful music. There are tutorials and notes for songs available online, but grandchildren will have plenty of fun just trying out the simple tones.
PuriPhoto – This free App turns your phone into a photo-sticker booth straight out of a carnival. Kids can import any photo in the phone’s memory, decorate it with stickers, phrases, borders and backgrounds, and then e-mail it to family or friends.
Shazam – This App can “listen” to a song on the TV or the radio and then tell you (in most cases) the name and artist. You can then view the lyrics to sign along, read the artist’s bio, or even connect to the iTunes store to buy it for the kids. It’s an amazing and free App for music fans of all ages!
Smithsonian Seriously Amazing – How do you challenge the curiosity of your young person? Just ask the six quirky characters of Smithsonian’s website.
Tic-Tac-Touch – This version of tic-tac-toe can come in handy when your grandchildren have already covered the front and back of their paper restaurant placemats in Xs and Os but are still waiting for their food.
Trace – This game’s hero can only dodge obstacles and make it across rough terrain if your grandchildren skillfully draw bridges, steps, or arches for him to climb over. This free iPhone game is easy to learn but harder to play than it looks.
Wheels on the Bus – As children are guided from verse to verse, they can open (and shut) the doors, help the wipers go swish, swish, swish, and make the people on the bus go up and down. You can set the song to sing in a male or female voice; you can sing along; or you can listen to a recording of your grandchildren singing it.
WordFu – A combination of Boggle, Scrabble and Yahtzee, this word game challenges players to make as many words as they can out of a set of nine lettered dice. The App allows players to “flick” the dice to change letters as they try to scale the high-score table and become a Grand Master.