I believe a lot of developers don't take under consideration that applications for kids require a certain amount of UX knowledge and I guess most of them don't even try their app on kids before they take it to the store. To be more specific: looks like those apps are trying to make money on your kids back. So no, I'm not saying kids apps shouldn't make money, I just really doubt the in-app purchase model when it comes to children. Can you honestly tell me that A Wagon Of Smurfberries worth $99? And if you must have ADS on your apps could you at least make sure they are kid-friendly?
Too bad Apple is not doing anything to increase the level of quality in their store because the amount of garbage is such a waste of time for parents.
You want to make money from your app in a decent way? Build a better App. Allow the ability to try one or two sections from the app before the payment, and don't use extra ads while doing it. Promote an app that cost money inside one that is free if you have several apps. But most important, keep the experience clean, and it's best to have parents zone if you are aiming for the little ones.
All the Applications in my list today are Free (still) and so worth the download. Most of them are for little kids as I believe bigger ones (age 7 and up) don't really need any recommendations from me or you. They know how to find apps themselves.
(age is just a suggestion)
Melody Street - (age 1- 5)
A beautiful interactive story to teach kids about music instruments. Tapping on the characters brings more sound options which makes the story more interesting and fun to use. The graphics and animations are lovely and colorful, and because the story is told by a kid it makes the whole experience magical.
Mozart Interactive (age 1-5)
From the same developers (Melody Street) this wonderful Application takes children into a magical journey where they can decide what happens next. A great music interactive experience that I yet seen before on the iPad. (done with Interlude technology)
Monster Chorus (all ages)
It's not the first time that I recommend Monster Chorus, it is just that good. Every monster plays a different sound and together you can play or record any song you like. Please note that you can close the ads on this app (for free) as well as any other option that annoys your kid.
Tap & Sing (all ages)
Very similar to Monster Chorus (no recording option though), with more characters and a list of sound style to choose from. Fun activity for the whole family, and the most cute characters you'll see in an app.
Cool Coloring (age 2-4)
A very easy coloring app, where kids just needs to pick a color, click on a section, and it fills with the color of their choice. In the color plate you'll find a special color that changes itself on every click, which is very useful for younger kids.
Maily (age 3+)
I wrote about Maily when it first launched, and since then it seems like the core concept stayed the same (which is good) but the design has changed, and I must admit that I liked the old version much better than the new one. Having said that, Maily is still a great solution for little kids to communicate with their friends or parents.
Great British Chefs (age 5+)
A wonderful and very delicious App, with many recipes and innovative ideas for kid parties or just to encourage children to get more involved in the preparation/cooking of their meals. The app also includes a series of How-To videos, four of which are pre-downloaded, specifically created to help children learn some of the basics as well as some of the more complicated techniques involved.
Let's Create! Pottery (all ages)
The only app in the store that its free version is good as its full version. If you never downloaded this app, you must do it now (even if you don't have kids) - this app is all about fun, and the experience is like something you never seen or had before on an iPad.
Toca Tailor Fairy Tales (age 2+)
I love Toca Boca. Their games are all very beautiful and original, and they always releasing free versions to make sure everyone will try and see the quality within their apps. And it works. People buy their apps simply because they are good. Toca Tailor Fairy Tales is the mini version of Toca Tailor, and one that my nephews are so in love with. Pure fun.
And while writing this story I bumped into this (which means you can download Toca Hair Salon for free till tomorrow)
Christmas Jigsaw Puzzle Pango (age 2-4)
Pango apps are the most thoughtful and magical for kids. This one contains several jigsaw puzzle that together build a larger puzzle which encourage kids to finish all the puzzles in the game. Cute, smart, and very Christmassy.
Pango Playground (age 1-5)
This has been at the top of my list for a long time. Another app that its free version worth downloading, but the full version is way much attractive. A game that your kids will want to play over and over. My almost 3 years old nephew and I are playing this constantly!
Freckleface Strawberry Monster Maker (age 3+)
There are so many book apps in the app store, but this one is unique and will lead your kid into an interesting adventure that finished with the creation of its very own monster. Can it get better than this?
Baby Finger (age 1+)
There aren't much apps in the store for toddlers at their very early age, but I remember I played this with my nephew when he was just 6 month old (maybe even earlier). It's just a blank screen where toddlers can tap and see all kind of shapes and hear all kind of random sounds. It's pretty amazing to see their reaction to this game.
This game is all about Disney Princesses and their Pets. Since we're talking about Disney here, the graphic and animation are of course superb, and this is the only app that I feel is more suitable for girls, but I could be wrong here :)
PBS Parents Play & Learn (age 2-6)
Designed specifically for parents, this App provides more than a dozen games parents can play with their kids, each themed around a familiar location – including at the grocery store, at home, in the kitchen, and many more.
Leo's Pad (age 4 and up)
The reason it took me so much time to write this post is because of this app! So much fun, and lots of activities along what seems to be just a video, but is not. Very enjoyable, your kids will LOVE it!
TinyTap (age 4 and up)
A Disclaimer: I am working with TinyTap as a product consultant.
But even if I weren't, I'd still recommend this as an awesome app to download, especially when it is one of its kind.
Kids can easily create games in Tinytap and share them with the Tinytap community. I personally believe kids creativity is endless, and we've seen it through the many ways they use the app to express themselves.
There are so many things that I can say about this app, but the best way would be for you to actually try it. It's fun, it's creative, and educational - three things that go well with an iPad.