Best Kids Apps

Cartoon ABC

Just the right amount of interactivity for inquisitive toddlers
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  • Age: 2+ |

  • $1.99

Cartoon ABC is an animated alphabet app that gently introduces kids to letters.

Recognizing that, to toddlers, the letters themselves aren’t inherently interesting, the app keeps things moving with lots of simple animations.

Why we like it:

This is a very open app.  Kids can explore the alphabet sequentially or they can hop around.  Also, they can end one animation and activate the next without having to wait, which is great for little attention spans.

If you’re the sort of parent who likes to see what your kid is up to — and who isn’t? — you can pull up the parents’ area to see how your child has spent her time.  This app has no ads and no integration with social networks, so kids’ privacy is safe.

Watch out for:

Nothing!  This app is pretty much solid gold for the short set.

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Write My Name

Throw out those boring, ol' handwriting books.
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  • Age: 2+ |

  • $3.99

Write My Name is a fun educational app that motivates preschoolers to practice writing the letters of the alphabet, sight words, and their own names.

Anyone who has spent time reminding a whiny, stubborn four-year-old to write the line for the letter A from top to bottom, will appreciate this app.

Kids use their fingers to trace the letters by following the sequence of arrows and lines of itty-bitty pictures as they appear. They can only trace in the direction the arrow points, which is great for learning about proper letter formation.

Why we like it:

Teachers can create 36 different nametags with a photo and a recording of each student’s voice to match their name.

Parents can use those nametag spaces to let their child photograph objects and people from their own lives. It’s so much more fun to practice the word cat, when you can hear a recording of your own pet kitty. Meow.

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Word Wizard

Got kids learning to read or spell? Start here.
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  • Age: 4+ |

  • $2.99

Word Wizard is the perfect mid-summer antidote to apps that are fun, but not all that mentally challenging for young kids.

Whether your child is just learning to read, or mastering tricky 5th grade spelling words (and nutty pronunciations like “tough”, “though”, and “thought”), this app can help.

Why we like it:

The app can pronounce and spell check any word, and has spelling quizzes and word lists.   Once school starts, you can even input the words that come home from the teacher and make your own custom lists.  Also, there are hints if kids get stuck.

Practicing spelling words is a drag the analog way — the iPad makes it fun!

For parents of kids aged 4-10, this is $3 well spent.

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