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Phuket with Kids in Dec

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Hi,

Planning a short trip from Singapore to Phuket sometime around 2nd or 3rd week of Dec, Looks like it will be pretty busy as I noticed from the air fares and hotels.
Kids are aged below 8 years and our interests are mostly beaches, boat rides and a bit of shopping. Not too much into nightlife as you'd imagine.
Prefer a quite beach- which is family friendly. Planning to spend about 5 days there. Wondering if anyone might be able to help with the below questions.
a) Which is the best place to stay and which beach. From what I gather, Kata beach is not too busy and wold be a good choice.
b) Can anyone reccomend a good area to stay. Not crazy about a resort since we will be spending time on the beach anyways, Prefer an apartment. Most of the places are very pricey though. My bydget is around US$150 per night
c) What are the suggested plae to include in my itinerary. SHould i make a day trip to Krabi and do PhiPhi islands? Is it a good idea to stay there overnight?
d) Lastly, is it worthwhile renting a car from airport? I am not sure of the traffic sense in phuket though. Prob better to take a taxi instead?

cheers

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