Hollywood Moms: Best Guilt-Free iPad Apps for Kids

Mason Disick playing with an iPad on August 26, 2012
"Maybe I'll have him guest-blog sometime," Kourtney Kardashian has joked of iPad-loving Mason, 3. X17online.com

Just because the school bell rang at 3 p.m. doesn't mean learning needs to stop for the day! With the help of Ingrid Simone of Common Sense Media (commonsense.org), Us Weekly rounded up our favorite age-appropriate apps to help entertain and educate your little ones outside of school hours. Did we miss your favorite app? Leave your suggestion for other parents in the comments section!

Morton Subotnick's Pitch Painter (Ages 3+)
Finger painting becomes music to tots' ears with this "ingenious interface" that turns scribbles into the notes of 12 different instruments, raves Simone, whose Common Sense Media reviews kids' entertainment. ($4)

Alphatots (Ages 3+)
They'll learn by doing! To master the letter A, little ones add A candles to a birthday cake. For X, they X-ray presents to see what's inside! A friendly narrator sounds everything out. Says Simone, "Children want to use this app again and again!" ($3)

Love to Count by Pirate Trio (Ages 5+)
For preschoolers who would rather walk the plank than add, activities such as splitting a pizza into swashbuckler-size pieces and counting a stingray's spots show "how math helps in everyday life," says Simone. ($4)

Faces iMake (Ages 5+)
Artists can click and drag photos of household objects (broccoli, buttons, chess pieces) to compose collages, add fun sound effects and catchy jingles, then share them in an online gallery. Bonus: no cleanup! ($5)

Toontastic (Ages 6+)
Wascally wabbits can try cartooning, thanks to this tool that lets them pick characters (or design their own!), direct action, record dialogue and score scenes. Explains Simone, "The way it guides kids through the basics of storytelling is great." (Free)

Numbers League (Ages 7+)
Set to "old school detective-show music," says Simone, the brainteaser introduces a villain with a name and number — say, Dad, 18. To defeat him, gamers must build a hero with numbered body parts whose sum is greater than the bad guy's. ($4)

DragonBox Algebra (Ages 8+)
Students solve for x with nary a number in sight. Instead, players are dealt two card-filling trays and challenged to isolate the glowing card (x). "In learning the game, the kid learns algebra," says Simone. Sneaky! ($6)

Britannica Kids: Solar System (Ages 8+)
Got a starry-eyed child? She'll love this "stunning" virtual encyclopedia about astronomy, says Simone. Jigsaw puzzles, memory matchups and timed quizzes reinforce the material. ($5)

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