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Motion Math: Hungry Guppy

Ages 2-up
Overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Why we like it: This is one of those apps you wish you had back when you were a first grader. Why? It helps you learn to add, by connecting a child’s fingertip with addition concepts. This is the fifth app from the Stanford University-inspired app studio Motion Math; second that deals with a hungry fish. If you have young children (ages 3-6) consider this app.

Need to know: Unlike the previous app Hungry Fish, there are no in-app sales. The music is a little repetitive but you can turn it off.

Ease of use: 8/10
Educational: 10/10
Entertaining: 7/10

$2.99

1guppy

The Legend of Momotaro

Ages 5-up
Overall rating: 4.125 out of 5 stars

Why we like it: With a design inspired by a scroll (or Emakimono) instead of a page, this beautifully illustrated folktale contains ten scenes that tell a famous Japanese folktale about a older couple who have a baby boy.

Need to know: Because some of the narration is provided by native Japanese speakers, this app could be good for informal exposure to the sound of the Japanese language. Note that the text appears small on the iPad mini, despite the ability to zoom in.

Ease of use: 8/10
Educational: 9/10
Entertaining: N/10

$2.99

2legend

Junior Astronaut – Breaking Through the Space Barrier

Ages 9-15
Overall rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

Why we like it: Rocket science 101 comes to your iPad, nicely explained along with hands on mini-games that make it fun to experiment with concepts like friction, gravity and rocket design.

Need to know: The design was inspired by the classic space books of the 1950s, featuring artwork from British illustrator, Chris Madden.

See a video preview here.

Ease of use: 9/10
Educational: 10/10
Entertaining: 9/10

$2.99

3jr

Matching Puzzle Cards: Colors

Ages 2-4
Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Why we like it: This app turns the pedagogy of the flash card inside out, by turning them into simple snap-together jigsaw puzzles. Because it is high in child control, this is a good first introduction to touch screens, with a bit of fine-motor development and language experience mixed in.

Need to know: Content is limited (12 colors and 24 related object words), but the song has lyrics and a game where you race the bunny to collect his eggs. All in all, this is a solid, well designed title, with limited content.

See a video preview here.

Ease of use: 9/10
Educational: 9/10
Entertaining: 9/10

$2.99

4colors

Pitch Painter

Ages 5-up
Overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

Why we like it: Music educator Morton Subotnick has a long history of using computers to help children learn and apply musical concepts, which is why were were pleased to see his latest app. Pitch Painter is a musical finger painting app that is simple yet surprisingly sophisticated.

Need to know: The menu is a rather cryptic, but once you figure it out, there are a lot of cool effects to try. For example, you can make a song and then flip it upside down, or hear it backwards.

Ease of use: 7/10
Educational: 9/10
Entertaining: 9/10

$3.99

5pitch

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Chris Crowell
Chris Crowell is a veteran kindergarten teacher and contributing editor to Children’s Technology Review, a web-based archive of articles and reviews on kids apps, technology toys and video games.Practice addition, match puzzle cards and learn scientific concepts like friction and gravity — all in this week’s top apps for kids. Check out our gallery for more educational apps that incorporate learning with fun and games.

Children’s Technology Review shared these five top apps for children with us from their comprehensive monthly database of kid-tested reviews. The site covers everything from math and counting to reading and phonics. Download a free issue of CTR here.

Check back next week for more Top Kids Apps from Children’s Technology Review.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr, AngryJulieMonday.