Best educational apps for kids 2012

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Hitting the road with the kids in the backseat has its pros and cons…OK, mostly cons. Instead of suffering through hours of whining, fighting, crying and tantrums, or putting on another mindless DVD, why not let them entertain themselves?We’ve rounded up five of the best apps for a road trip, ones that will keep the kids quiet and let you keep your eyes on the road. We’ve picked a combination of visual and interactive apps that should occupy the children long enough for you to get to your destination. Click the links below for our full-length reviews.

BrainPOP Featured Movie With a different educational movie offered every day; info on subjects as diverse as geometry, data analysis, U.S. history, making music and nutrition; and quizzes to double-check that all that knowledge sunk in, this app is a fantastic way to pass the time on the road. Its top-notch design and lovable hosts (one human, one robot) have made this a long-standing favorite.

Meet the Orchestra This is a great app for the road as it focuses on listening (we’d recommend a pair of earphones for this one). Meet the Orchestra teaches children to identify the sounds that different instruments make, and reinforces that information with games. We love that this app teaches something that’s important to know, but that isn’t often taught in schools, and kids seem to love it too.

Numberlys Sometimes you just want to kick back and watch the magic happen. Numberlys is a calming and beautiful storybook/movie that explores the alphabet in a slow-paced visual homage to Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”. The narration is good enough that you can switch it on and let the story read itself to your child (great for nighttime driving). If you’re a fan of Numberlys, you might also want to check out The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, another great Moonbot Studio production.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
This ebook highlights words as the narrator reads, and your young reader will love interacting with objects featured on each page — touching them brings up their associated words. (ages 2-8, $3.99; iPad and iPhone)

The Magic School Bus: Oceans by Scholastic

Ms. Frizzle and her students embark on an aquatic journey in this interactive storybook, which features science facts, pictures, games, and videos. (ages 4 and up, $8; lighter free version also available; iPad only)

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