Need to Distract the Kids? There's an App for That

Filed under: Activities: Babies, Toys, Gadgets, That's Entertainment

'Where's Gumbo?' is a digital lift-the-flap book. Credit: Jacob Favre

Used to be that a long flight, long line or long wait at the doctor's office was a frazzled parent's worst nightmare. But thanks to the iPhone -- and the thousands of apps designed for kids -- a quick distraction or instant activity is just a tap away. Here, our faves for every age. Find them in the iTunes app store.

Toddler and Preschool

  • Where's Gumbo?: A digital lift-the-flap book that asks kids to help find a lost puppy. It's better than analog because the animals behind the "flaps" change each time you play. $1.99. Lite version available.
  • Old MacDonald: From the designers of acclaimed app "The Wheels on the Bus," this new interactive sing-along storybook has more than double the pages and touch features as "Bus," with the same appealing animation. $1.99.
  • Shape Builder: Preschoolers will be endlessly entertained by this drag-and-drop puzzle game, and you can feel good that they are learning all the while. 99 cents. Lite version available.

The Colorama app comes with quirky drawings. Credit: Colorama

Younger Kids

  • Colorama: A wide selection of rich colors and 50-plus quirky drawings set this apart from the coloring-book pack. Kids can save and send their masterpieces. 99 cents.
  • Animatch: A top-notch matching game that works junior's memory with adorable animal illustrations and funny sounds that aid in recall. 99 cents.
  • TappyTunes: Kids can play their favorite ditty (choose from 20 children's songs) simply by tapping the screen to the tempo. Cute lyrics-inspired graphics add to the fun. $1.99. Lite version available.
Older Kids

  • Skee-Ball: Just like the arcade version and just as addictive, use a finger to fling balls at the target. Part of the well-designed Flick Sports series (Flick Fishing is also great). 99 cents.
  • Wooden Labyrinth 3D: The iPhone is perfectly suited to this real-world game adaptation; you tilt and rotate the device to move a ball through a maze and avoid pesky holes. With 180 levels, it'll keep them busy for hours. $2.99. Free version available.
  • Wurdle: Much like family favorite Boggle, players search for words in a randomly generated letter matrix. So engaging they'll forget it's educational. $1.99
All Ages

  • Face Melter: The perfect time-killer, choose images from your photo library and let your brood manipulate them by dragging, pulling and pinching the screen. Hilarious results guaranteed. $1.99. Lite version available.
Love an app you don't see here? Tell us about your family's top picks.

Related: iPhone Puts Fitness at Your Fingertips
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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.
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As AOL continues to grow and evolve we are taking necessary actions to ensure our efforts and resources are
focused on the areas where we can create the maximum amount of value for our loyal consumer base. As a result
we have decided to sunset AOL Answers. Thank you for your participation in this site. If you have an AOL-related
question (passwords, account information, etc.), please visit our AOL Help site at help.aol.com.