iPad Games for Newbies: Both Young and Old

Busy Shapes 2

A really well designed and thoughtful game about shape matching and basic platform gaming design.

Toddler Appeal: My two year old could play the first levels immediately and with assistance about half the game in a week or two. Within a month he could do 90 of the 110 levels on his own. Beautiful colors, pleasing sound effects and exciting interstitial animations. Supports multi-touch and while there are a couple glitchy spots, it over all has very smooth and forgiving game play.

Adult Appeal: A great primer for platform gaming. Teaches about timing, reading 3D design and basic game logic mechanics. 

Busy Shapes 1

A extremely well thought out shape matching game with basic color theory.

Toddler Appeal: My go to recommendation as a first game for toddlers. The sounds and textures are fantastic, the colors pleasing and the difficulty curve reasonable. Somewhere around the level 80 the puzzles become frustrating and my son still can't beat the last 4th of the game without me doing all the heavy lifting, but he will happily replay the first portions over and over again. Supports multi-touch, has no glitches and is of the high quality I expect of Edoki Academy games.

Adult Appeal: Don't bother. The early levels will be too easy and I found the later levels annoying instead of fun. It also has no reward at the end and just loops back to all the levels played on random.

Think Rolls

An obstacle laden logic game with cute graphics.

Toddler Appeal: There's an easy mode that very gently teaches them the logic puzzles. My son made it three worlds in with minor assistance. The critters talk in a manner similar to the Minions that my son found hysterically funny and obstacles such as balloons and crackers seem designed to appeal extra well to this age group. It supports multi-touch and has great UX

Adult Appeal: It has a challenging mode, enough content to feel worth the price and is an enjoyable physics based logic game.

Dinos Jump

A beginners platform game replete with mini games and extra pleasing sound design.

Toddler Appeal: The main game is currently impossible for my 2 year old to play, but short enough that we can do the run together to open up the mini games, which he loves. The mini games range from matching, memory, puzzles to easier computer games. All of them have an educational, teach you about dinosaurs edge. My son loves the sounds and cute design. My only complaint is as a multi-platform game, it does not support multi-touch, which can be frustrating and its fairly punishing in terms of flailing toddler fingers that don't execute particularly well on their intended tasks.

Adult Appeal: The platformer itself is good practice in the basics of side scroller game play. The mini games, with the exception of the T-Rex on the unicycle, will all be too juvenile.

Pango Blocks

A puzzle based game where you are trying to build a path from point A to B with adorable interstitial animations.

Toddler Appeal: Entertaining cut scenes as a reward for finish a section, cute character designs and puzzles that go from dead simple to extremely difficult. It doesn't support multi-touch and it's way too easy to hit go, before you've completed your bridge, but even with that and being susceptible to the toddler flail, it's still a fun, engaging game.

Adult Appeal: Has a difficult mode and, honestly, even on easy I found there to be a bit of a learning curve even for me with the last set of levels actually challenging.

Fruit Ninja

An oldie, but a goodie. I recommend the classic version and playing it in Zen mode initially and moving on to Arcade once you've gotten the concept. Slash fruit and try to beat your high score.

Toddler Appeal: This is not a kid's game, but it's very forgiving and has lots for them to love like zany sound effects and many different types of fruit. Supports multi-touch and has scads of different "swords" and "dojos" to play with.

Adult Appeal:  This was the first iPad game I got into. It's mindless, enjoyable fun and the fruit facts at the end of each round are surprisingly edifying.