'Twas the night before Christmas and across the map, every child was playing with a holiday app. The holiday season means festive parties, volunteering, family gatherings, and last-minute shopping—one seriously jam-packed schedule. That's why just like Santa, you need a bag of the best holiday apps for kids to use on tablets, smart phones and MP3 players, keeping little hands busy while you check items off your to-do list.
The best holiday apps won't only keep your kid busy, but these interactive games can help keep his mind sharp, and avoid a winter slide before school starts up again. Here are ten entertaining, educational apps—found on iTunes, Android Market and Amazon—that will test your little one's reading, math, logical and spatial skills.
Snowman Math ($.99) Who needs to brave the cold to build a snowman? Skip the time it usually takes to bundle up your little one and let him build Frosty indoors with the Snowman Math app. Every time your kid answers a simple addition or subtraction problem, he'll add a carrot nose, mittens, coal eyes, or other traditional snowman accessories to his icy pal. Classical guitar, enchanting graphics and sound effects add up to seasonal fun with numbers.
A-Story-A-Day Advent Calendar Christmas($1.99) Looking for an interactive Advent calendar without the sugar buzz? This app allows your child to count down to Christmas with a customizable calendar. Help him choose from holiday tunes and background themes to make this countdown his own. Each of the 25 days also comes with a different Christmas image and corresponding holiday book to read. You'll look forward to reading and watching as Christmas gets closer.
Cookie Doodle ($.99) Avoid a sticky mess without sacrificing tradition with the Cookie Doodle app. Boasting 199 cookie cutters, 24 make-your-own cookie dough recipes, 21 instant cookie dough flavors, 48 different sprinkles and 85 candy toppings, this baking app has everything your little baker needs to create colorful, mouth-watering treats for Santa—without covering the kitchen in flour. Your kid will learn some of the basic rules of baking, including how to measure and mix ingredients, that he'll eventually be able to use in the kitchen.
Cut the Rope: Holiday Gift ($.99) This Christmas-themed version of the popular game Cut the Rope challenges your kid to slice strings of lights, freeing holiday goodies to be scarfed down by Om Nom, a hungry little monster. Your kid will be so jazzed about the adorable graphics, lively music and 25 levels of puzzles that he won't even notice reaping the educational benefits of physics fundamentals and fine motor skill practice.
Santa's Christmas Village ($.99) Step off the Polar Express and enter the magical world of lights, elves, and workshops in Santa's Christmas Village. This app features 17 classic brain games with a holiday twist—including solitaire, Sudoku, word searches, and checkers—set to a soundtrack of holiday songs. Challenge your child to a friendly competition with multi-player games, help Santa plan his delivery route, or help your child create a melody by tapping on the North Pole's most musical bears.
Super Dreidel ($.99) Rousing games of spin the dreidel are a Hanukkah tradition, and the Super Dreidel app puts a modern twist on the classic game. Up to 8 players can challenge each other in three different speed modes; Traditional, Vegas or Turbo. A quick swipe with a finger sends the dreidel spinning, and the last person with gelt wins! Complete with different versions of the classic "Dreidel Song," this portable game saves you the trouble of hunting down a spinning top after the latkes and brisket are eaten.
Reindeer Match 'Em Up ($.99) Challenge your child's memory, concentration, and motor skills with this fast-paced game. Find Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen's look-alikes in Reindeer Match 'Em Up, a virtual memory game played solo or with a friend. Rack up bonus points by matching Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen cards in record time.
Grinchmas ($.99) The grumpy hermit who attempts to steal Christmas is back, but this time in a highly addictive app. If your kid loves whack-a-mole, he'll love playing the part of 'Mean Grinch' or 'Merry Grinch' perched atop Mount Crumpit, lobbing presents or snowballs down to Who-ville. Speed and accuracy are crucial as your kid races against the clock, all the while soaking up information about physics basics and honing fine motor skills.
PopOut! The Night Before Christmas ($4.99) This electronic rendition of childhood classic, The Night Before Christmas, is full of surprises! Based on the beloved children's story by Clement Clarke Moore, this storybook app allows your child to interact with everything on the page as the story is read. He'll get to do pull-tabs, spin-wheels and other interactive elements, bringing these classic illustrations to life. As he goes, the "Read to Me" function can help him practice phonics, as words are narrated and highlighted on the screen.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ($2.99) Everyone's favorite little sleigh-leader is back! This digital book version of the 1964 Christmas special allows your kid to read the book in its traditional form, listen to the narrated version and follow along with highlighted words, or simply press play and watch the classic story unfold. With customizable music, original artwork and clips, this app is sure to warm hearts by bringing this timeless story of friendship and acceptance to life. By: Lori Calabrese - Education.com