Yes, I will admit it. I let my kids play with my iPad. If I’m being totally honest, the iPad is the best thing to happen to long waits at the doctor’s office since the invention of Highlights magazine. It’s great for kids because of how intuitive it is to use and because if shared sparingly, judiciously and under close supervision — will lead to them being quiet for the length of time it takes for me to drink a cup of coffee.
My kids use the iPad to play (Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Land-a Panda) and also to learn (Word Bingo, Dinosaur Chess, Mathmagics!). It’s a great tool and one I never would have thought the entire family would become so attached to. The holiday apps we like best range from free to $1.99 and can be strictly for fun or even occasionally educational. Here are the ones we like best:
Cut the Rope Holiday Gift (free) 1 of 12All three of my kids will happily play this game for approximately ... always. It's far and away everyone's favorite holiday app at our house ... including mine. And it's free!
Get Cut the Rope Holiday Gift right here!
Grinchmas ($0.99) 2 of 12This was a favorite among many last year, too. Though technically an iPhone app, the graphics work well on iPad and it's fun enough that you won't mind. There's a lots to do and my 6- and 8-year-olds really love it.
Get Grinchmas right here!
Super Dreidel ($0.99) 3 of 12I got the Isreal HD version, which works better on iPad because of the higher res graphics. It's lots of fun and a great way to teach kiddos all about the game of dreidel.
Get Super Dreidel right here!
Angry Birds Seasons 4 of 12This is available for iPad for free (and can also upgrade for $1.99). It's really awesome, but you guys already know that. Even my grandmother knows that, and she doesn't have a cell phone and thinks Regis Philbin is hawt.
Get Angry Birds Seasons right here!
Santa’s Christmas Village ($0.99) 5 of 12This app has enough versatility and playability that it's hard to get bored. I may even still play it after the holidays are over. I mean, MY KIDS will still play it. ::cough cough:: I'm a grown-up.
Get Santa's Christmas Village right here!
Reindeer Match ‘Em Up ($0.99) 6 of 12This is a groovy match game from the same folks who brought you Santa's Christmas Village. I love the voices that provide direction — they seem like they were recorded by bored cashiers at GameStop trying to earn extra money for a trip to Chipotle.
Get Reindeer Match 'Em Up right here!
Santa’s Village Snowman Math ($0.99) 7 of 12If the iPad is good for only one thing, it's tricking my kids into learning stuff. These also feature the bored GameStop voices (which I love) and I can make my kids do math, which feels sort of cool and Tiger Mom-ish.
Get Snowman Math right here!
ABC Xmas Lite (free) 8 of 12This app is both free (SWEET!!!) and great for distracting preschoolers (EVEN SWEETER!!). They get to trace letters with their fingers, improving their fine motor skills and learning the alphabet while providing mommy with a few minutes of much needed peace and quiet.
Get ABC Xmas Lite right here!
Hamster Holidays ($0.99) 9 of 12Essentially this is a hamster bell choir that plays Christmas carols. My kids went ape schmidt.
Get Hamster Holidays right here!
Xmas Booth for iPad ($0.99) 10 of 12The opening graphic looks a little dodgy, but it's actually a very fun app that allows you to take a photo (provided you have an iPad 2) or use an existing saved photo and jazz it up with all kinds of fun Christmas flair. And as we all learned from Office Space, more flair is always best.
Get Xmas Booth for iPad right here!
Sticky Ice Games Christmas Tree (free) 11 of 12Another free app! My daughters love to decorate the trees, and it's even easy enough for my preschooler to use.
Get Sticky Ice Games Christmas Tree right here!
Super Dance Elf ($0.99) 12 of 12This is sort of like the not-as-good version of JibJab's Elf Yourself. The JibJab one is brilliant. This is a cheap substitute. But it's cheap! And it works really well on iPad! And my kids think it's awesomesauce with a side of gravy.
Get Super Dance Elf right here!
Want more apps? Check out our top 50 iPhone and iPad apps for kids!