In today’s day and age, technology has worked its way into the fabric of our everyday lives. You may have even noticed the trend trickle down into your children’s everyday norm. In our fast-paced world, finding the balance between free play and iPad time can seem more like a chore than a choice. However, technology doesn’t have to be the enemy! Ipads can be a great tool for fine tuning your little one’s brain while having fun. These six apps will provide endless laughter while your children work hard to solve puzzles, work on skills and learn to create. Compromise is key when it comes to technology, so be sure to set time limits and work through the apps with them as they first explore to ensure that they don’t get too intimidated by a new challenge.

Flow Free

Free, Ages 4+, iPhone, iPad, Android

Much like Chess, this puzzle game inspires critical thinking as your little ones connect the dots to complete the grid. Connect the matching colored dots to create a pipe without intersecting any others to finish the puzzle. The free version has 1,000 levels that increase in difficulty as you progress. More levels are available through in-app purchase so be sure you set the ground rules before they begin playing to ensure you’re both on the same page.

Sudoku

Free, 5+, iPhone, iPad, Android

Have fun with numbers in this game designed to challenge your mind. This puzzle is designed for all different ages and skill sets with easy, medium and hard difficulty settings. The goal is to complete the puzzle by filling every row with the numbers one through nine. Figure out the blanks and fill in the correct number but be careful not to repeat a row and be sure to double-check your work! Mom and dad can even join in on this fun!

SpellTower

$2.99, Ages 4+, iPhone, iPad, Android

A clever app that combines the best of Tetris, Boggle, and spelling. This game is so fun your kids will forget that they’re actually learning in the process. Swipe across, up, down and diagonally to create endless word combinations. Your child can start out with a simple beginner mode or go for a challenge in puzzle mode while racing against themselves as they try to make as many matches as possible before reaching the top! You might even find yourself asking for a turn!

Stack The States

$2.99, Ages 5+, iPhone, iPad, Android

Learn about geography with this exciting social studies game. Answer questions about our state’s shapes, capitals and more in a race to the finish line. Earn a state for every round played and complete the mission when you acquire all 50 states. Then, once you have a handle on the US you can purchase the Stack The Countries app and learn about geography from around the globe. Bon Voyage!

Monster Physics

$1.99, Ages 7+, iPhone, iPad, Android

Engage your future engineer with this quirky science app. Not only are your kids learning about physics, engineering and design but they’ll also be working on their critical thinking skills.Your little ones can choose to create their own design for fun or follow the missions to help out the monsters. That’s one small step for science and one giant leap for your kids.

Drawing Pad

$1.99, Ages 2+, iPhone, iPad, Android

Everyone could benefit from a little creativity. Studies have shown that working on creative skills can encourage focus and critical thinking in children. So when you’re not at home or don’t want to bring out the messy supplies – try this app on for size!

Merissa Principe is a teacher and a freelance travel blogger from NYC. Teaching early childhood education has provided Merissa an opportunity to travel all over the world and live in new places. Be sure to follow her at Citygirlriss.wordpress.com for all things travel, beauty, fashion and New York City.

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