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15 Mighty Apps

Everyone is talking apps, short for “applications.” These simple Web-based tools for smartphones can entertain or educate. The best do both! We recommend these 15 iPhone apps for parents and children to enjoy together for their quality and good value.

By Warren Buckleitner | null , null
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MY FIRST APP
Prep your tot for the wide world of touchscreens.

Koi Pond
A goldfish pond in the palm of your hand! Shake to feed the fish. They nibble at your fingertip when you hold it to the screen. Drag-and-drop lily pads. The Blimp Pilots, $1. Ages 2 and up.

Wheels on the Bus
This interactive version of the classic preschool song will have your little one sliding doors open and shut and swishing the wipers back and forth. Duck Duck Moose, $1. Ages 3 to 5.

Fish School
A colorful underwater playground where a cloud of quick little fish can swim into an alphabet strip formation or numerals 1 to 20. Duck Duck Moose, $2. Ages 3 to 5.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
In this sleek digital representation of a Dr. Seuss classic, all pictures are labeled, helping little ones learn basic words. Oceanhouse Media, $4. Ages 3 and up.

READING & LANGUAGE
No app can replace a good book, but these strengthen skills.

iSPY Spooky Mansion
One of the first touchscreen editions of the famous picture riddles — find the words spelled out onscreen. Nicely adapted for finger-driven exploration. Scholastic, $1. Ages 4 and up.

MATH & LOGIC
Numbers and geometry come alive!

Preschool Connect the Dots Game
Touch the letters or numerals in sequential order to gradually form the outline of an object; then color the object in. Darren Murtha Design, $1. Ages 3 to 6.

Sums Stacker
Move numerals and sets of numerals around to create and solve equations. A race mode is available for those seeking a challenge. Carstens Studios Inc., $2. Ages 4 and up.

My First Tangrams
Drag and drop squares, rectangles, and triangles into place to build figures like fish and ducks. 36 puzzles; soothing background music. Alexandre Minard, $2. Ages 3 and up.

ART & CREATIVITY
Imaginative, mess-free art projects right in your pocket

Faces iMake
Create silly faces out of real-looking garden veggies or household objects! You can assign your child’s creations to your contacts or upload them to Facebook. iMagine machine LLC, free. Ages 3 and up.

TonePad
Make a song by creating dots on the 16" x 16" grid. Each dot becomes a musical note, helping children better understand how math and music work together to make patterns you can hear. LoftLab, free. Ages 6 and up.

SpinArt
Set the white canvas into motion with a swipe of your finger, then experiment with splatters of paint; a playful, unique way to explore geometry concepts. Brian Smith, $2. Ages 3 and up.

JUST FOR FUN
Add a touch of whimsy to your family's day.

Road Trip Bingo
Turns your screen into a Bingo board! Touch the items you see as they fly by your car window; over 40 to find. Bright Bunny Studios, $1. Ages 6 and up.

Doodle jump
A never-ending sky of vertical mazes. Tilt the screen to help move your jumping bug up to the next floating platform. With the new update, Doodle Jump goes under water! Lima Sky, $1. Ages 6 and up.



About the Author

Warren Buckleitner is the editor of Children's Technology Review. Visit childrenssoftware.com.


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