Back to school doesn't have to mean swapping high-tech gadgets for low-tech notebooks. These new apps are so much fun your child won't even realize they're educational.
For ages 5 and younger
In MarcoPolo Ocean (free at iTunes), journey to the most unexplored part of the planet: This interactive app is all about the ocean. Kids can make dolphins jump, build a coral reef, explore the deep sea and create their own aquarium, all while learning early skills in science, technology, engineering and math.
For ages 4 to 8
Kids can get a jump start on computer programming by solving puzzles that use game mechanics based on computer science ideas in Lightbot Jr. 4+ ($2.99 at iTunes). Players gain a practical understanding of basic concepts such as writing instructions, debugging problems and simple procedures and loops by guiding a robot with commands.
For ages 6 to 8
Cursive Writing Wizard ($3.99 at iTunes) allows users to learn how to trace and write in cursive with this customizable app. Parents can add their own words through audio for kids to practice and check progress through a system of reports and profiles.
For ages 9 to 11
The winner of a United Nations award for innovation in teaching young students about culture, Touchable Earth (free at iTunes) is the first dedicated global citizenship app for kids. They can learn facts and develop an insight into life around the globe by visiting families and schools, seeing games other kids play and being introduced to other cultures.