The 10 Best Apps for Kids of 2011

We asked our readers to share the child-friendly apps that enhance their little one's learning experience -- and for the times when they just need a few minutes of peace and quiet.

TeachMe: Toddler

child reading book on ipad

Allyson Thayer Gowdy

School your toddler on six different subjects: letters, letter phonics, numbers, shapes, colors, and counting. You can choose specific questions, customize lessons, and review your child's progress on each subject. Kids earn stickers, which can be used to create colorful scenes, when they get correct answers, or they can earn coins for a reward system you create. When your child outgrows these lessons, there are TeachMe: Kindergarten and TeachMe: 1st Grade apps available. (99 cents; iPhone, iPad)

Toddler Teasers Sorting

Toddler Teasers was created when two parents realized that their 2-year-old was better at operating an iPhone than most grown-ups are. There are different educational apps to choose from on the Toddler Teasers site, but our favorite is Sorting. Little ones learn numbers, shapes, and letters by sorting them into containers and treasure chests. There are four interactive scenes with voiceovers and colorful animations to make the educational process fun. Once sorting skills have been mastered, move on to a quizzing app. Make sure to check out the website for special promo codes and deals. ($1.99; iPhone, iPad; toddlerteasers.com)

Tozzle

Puzzle apps are a big hit with our moms, and this app seems to be the most popular. It includes more than 40 puzzles that can help your toddler improve shape recognition and motor activity. If she needs help finding the right piece to a puzzle, a helping arrow appears to lend a hand. Once a puzzle is solved, children can play around with funny sound effects by tapping the screen. When the kiddies go to sleep, test out your own puzzle-solving skills -- the app's creators boast that it can keep everyone from 2 to 99 entertained! ($1.99; iPhone, iPad)

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox

Our readers love it, so it's no surprise this is the number-one preschool app available in the iTunes store. This collection of six different games teaches kids ages 2 to 5 about colors, letters, numbers, shapes, differences, and more. Parents and children love the animated monkey that helps with lessons along the way. Each player earns stickers after winning a game, but, best of all, the app is easy to navigate so kids can play on their own -- perfect for when you're cooking dinner and need to keep them busy! (99 cents; iPhone, iPad, Android; monkeypreschool.com)

Memory Train

Improve your child's recollection skills by hopping on a train to the circus with Spacey the elephant. As the train whizzes by different backgrounds, he will need to pay close attention to featured objects and then recall colors, shapes, numbers, and more. Four can play at a time, so the family can compete to earn stars, badges, and peanuts (elephants love them!). Plus, with 10 levels, you're sure to find one suitable for every age group. (99 cents; iPhone, iPad)

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