Best iPad games for 9-year-olds

If you’re looking for the best Apple iPad games for your 9-year-old to play on his first day of school, here’s a list of the best, new and old, that we think you’ll like. We’ve even included one free game, even though you might not be able to afford that yet.

1. Spiders, the Survival

The founders of New York City indie studio Fogbound Studios picked up the idea of turning what was essentially a collectible card game into an adventure game after seeing the Australian Survivor finale (a show we’ve long enjoyed watching).

That show is famous for throwing challenges at its participants, but on this title, you’ll face more desperate, life-or-death situations as a spider. Spiders puts you in control of a spider about to be eaten by a cobra and you need to use some of the eight available tools, like a bola to capture the cobra and a gun to shoot it. As you progress through the levels, you unlock new items that will allow you to tackle more deadly obstacles and the cobra won’t bother you as much.

2. Monsters, the Survival

Mikros Games is another indie studio, and it has an excellent new iOS game out called Monsters, the Survival. It’s based on one of the easiest and funniest cartoons to watch on TV, The Simpsons, and it has an easy, walk-through interface. You start out with a single hero and a single adventure, and by the end of the game, you’ll have more than 20 types of monsters to fight against.

3. Zoo Boom, the Adventure

The storyline for Zoo Boom, the Adventure will be familiar to a lot of iPad users. You start out in a zoo and, through adventures, you’ll go through the zoo, learning more about various animals in the process. Some of the most interesting animals are the ones that have trouble using the iPad’s cameras, such as a kangaroo that can’t see. You’ll want to pick your zoo wisely, as time is a factor in this game.

4. Run, the Runner

Now this is a different sort of game than Zoo Boom, the Adventure. Like Run, the Runner puts you in the shoes of a runner and you’ll use your finger or iPad touch to keep running, avoid obstacles, jump on platforms and dig holes to collect power-ups. The music is an appropriate, though upbeat, hip-hop track and it’s completely free to play. You’ll need to buy upgrades and gold to purchase better equipment, though.

5. Kung Fu Dragons 2: Fury of the Thunder God

Remember those action-packed fighting games from the 80s and 90s? Kung Fu Dragons 2: Fury of the Thunder God brings back that style of gameplay for your iPad, complete with the option to skip to another part of the level at any time. The fast-paced, fourth-wall breaking story offers plenty of surprises. The nice thing about the game is that it’s fully featured right out of the box with so many different mini-games to play.

6. Coding Challenge Academy

The whole point of the Coding Challenge Academy is that you can design your own challenges and then solve them in real time, using the iPad’s real-time coding blocks. You can come up with your own puzzles, but you can also download challenges from other players around the world and download from an online challenge library. If you’re into coding, it’s a great way to play around with coding concepts.

7. Temple of Solomon, the Survival

Forget about being a typical dungeon crawler with strange monsters and superpowers. This game is set in a temple in ancient Israel and you have to use your imagination to figure out where to go and what to do. You’ll be crawling through and attacking rooms, to move around the temple and figure out its mysteries. The challenges are pretty intense and it’s easy to get lost, so make sure you don’t lose your way.

8. Hot Dog Fun World, the Game

If you’re a sucker for goofy humor, then this iOS title is for you. Hot Dog Fun World takes a very brief explanation of the Wright brothers and uses it to make a fun game. You’ll need to maneuver your little hot dog hero around the playfield and outwit the goat, pig, horse and chickens that are chasing you. The actual puzzle-solving is pretty fun, though you’ll probably want to take a moment to recover from laughing.

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9. Farm Town, the Game

Farm Town is a game similar to the standard games on Facebook. You start out with just a few crops and a few animals, but as you grow your farm, you’ll need to improve it. You’ll need to collect more resources, farm your crops and watch out for insects and wildlife. This game has plenty of social features, such as the ability to share photos and farm updates with your friends. It also has some augmented reality features for bonus content. It’s another game that offers the ability to try before you buy, so you can see if the game is something you can sink your teeth into.

10. My Big Backyard, the Game

Trying to figure out what to do with the excess space in your backyard? This game is for you. My Big Backyard will have you busy from dawn until dusk, as you try to create a neighborhood from scratch and fill it with homes, pools, restaurants, houses for pets and even monuments and roads. You’ll want to build a store for pets and an actual house for you and your family. There are even hidden areas that are impossible to reach without your ability to climb trees, jump rope, and cross busy streets. This is another game that gives you plenty of freedom to go as crazy as you want.