3 Kids' Apps to Download Now

Check out these perfect-for-kids apps

Chalk Walk

Chalk WalkChalk WalkTeaching your little scribe to properly hold a crayon takes patience and control - on both your parts.

Get a grip with Chalk Walk, an app that does the job through fun graphics and fine motor movement practice. It was imagined by a Chicago schoolteacher who noticed that the finger motions that minimize and expand iPhone and iPad screens were the same needed to practice the pincer grip.

Available at itunes.apple.com, $3.

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Dragon Brush

Dragon BrushDragon BrushDragon Brush, a new interactive story book for the iPad and iPhone, is exemplary in its use of storytelling, animation, and technology. In short, download it now, but keep reading.

Based on a Chinese fable, it's the tale of a bunny who's given a magic paint brush - everything he paints comes to life. the real magic is that the app doesn't forsake story in the name of interaction or game. Instead, finger-painting tricks reveal content (a la invisible ink books), moving the story forward; little readers collect hidden inkpots to be used in a create-your-own artwork feature to explore when story time is done.

Available at itunes.com, $3.

Smash Your Food

Smash Your FoodSmash Your FoodSmash Your Food, an engaging iPad and iPhone app, serves up valuable lessons about nutrition through quizzes and funny gross-out videos. Even the first lady has taken notice; it won Michelle Obama's Healthy Apps for Kids national contest.

Kids are prompted to guess the amount of sugar, salt, and oil in certain foods (this takes a little more explaining for younger players). Silly noises, animation, and video kick in, and a metal compressor smashes food into a messy pulp on screen. Donuts ooze jelly, fries drip grease, and noodles shoot in every direction. It's all so unappetizing it sends the message that junk food is icky.

But the joy of learning? Consider it super-sized.

Free mini version available at itunes.com; expanded version available at itunes.com, $3.

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