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Published April 23, 2012, 11:30 PM

Parent-approved apps keep kids occupied, learning

It’s mind-boggling to learn that Apple recently sold its 25 billionth app(!), but it’s certainly not hard to understand why. A dazzling array of wondrous, educational and just flat-out entertaining apps exists for all ages.

By: Andrea Pyros, www.RetailMeNot.com, INFORUM

It’s mind-boggling to learn that Apple recently sold its 25 billionth app(!), but it’s certainly not hard to understand why. A dazzling array of wondrous, educational and just flat-out entertaining apps exists for all ages. If you’ve got children, and you’re about to hit the road for a family vacation or have a new iPad and want to explore this amazing technology with your little ones, download these kid-friendly favorites.

ABCmouse.com Zoo Set 1

iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (99 cents)

Learn about animals in their natural surroundings and test your knowledge of them with the quiz feature in this cool app.

Big Nate: Comix By U!

iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad ($2.99)

Who hasn’t wanted to become a cartoonist? This app, which is based on the best-selling Big Nate book series, allows kids to craft their own comics along with some art assistance from author Lincoln Peirce’s hilarious books.

Cupcakes!

For iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android (99 cents)

It’s so enjoyable to indulge over and over again in making, decorating and eating delicious-looking cupcakes. Mmm!

Cut the Rope

For iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android (99 cents)

Kids and adults alike can’t get enough of this silly game in which you have to feed candy to a goofy, cheerful green monster named Om Nom.

Drawing Pad

For iPad ($1.99)

Pen, ink, paints and markers are wonderful things but not so much on, say, a cramped, crowded airplane or the backseat of a minivan. Drawing Pad is an at-your-fingertips, fully stocked easel, so your child has access to virtual paint, colored pencils, crayons, stickers and more. Your kid can even email her finished creations to friends and family. (Also, check out the free Doodle Buddy for another nifty art-based app.)

The Electric Company Wordball!

For iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (Free)

Catch “wordballs” and sharpen spelling skills while enjoying music videos from Ne-Yo, Jimmy Fallon and The Electric Company gang.

Farkle Dice

For iPhone, iPad and Android (Free)

One tech dad friend raves about this two-to-four player “awesome dice game,” which he says is ideal for those times when you need to kill a few moments.

Fruit Ninja

For iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android (99 cents)

This slicing-fruit game is insanely popular, so if you’re one of the few that doesn’t own it, go ahead and find out what the hype is all about. You won’t be sorry. Fruit Ninja is fun, slightly ridiculous and a totally satisfying way to make a virtual mess.

Juno Jr’s The Day the Music Stopped

For iPhone and iPad ($2.99)

When everything in Harmonica Springs gets “shushed,” Juno, Rai Rai and their friends have to bring the music back. Your child will be able to help by interacting with everything she sees. Belinda Takahashi, a parent, Ph.D. and Emmy-award-winning composer, created the app.

LEGO App4+

For iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android (free)

LEGO lovers get the chance to build their own truck and then take their cargo on its merry way. This is a simple game, which makes it easy for younger kids to master and explore over and over.

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