When I first got my iPad I told my kids they’d never touch it. Ever. And here I am six months later and there’s more kid apps than mama apps installed on the thing. They’ve worn me down, people. So I’m always on the lookout for great apps, especially for the preschool crowd. Apps that will make my four year old’s time on my iPad more productive than listening to Party In The USA for the hundredth time and taking distorted pictures of her face.

And while they say you get what you pay for, this bundle of early learning apps from Lakeshore Learning, pack in a lot of learning for the price–free.

The three apps — Tic Tac Toe, Letter of the Day, and Sound Sorting — teach a range of skills from letter sounds to more complicated vowel sounds and syllables.

Of the three, Letter of the Day seems to be the best place to start. With an annoyingly catchy “chant” to help kids learn beginning sounds, they build on those skills by filling in a Letter of the Day bulletin board. Even more exciting, kids can practice writing the letters. It’s like a Penultimate scratchpad for preschoolers on primer paper.

Tic Tac Toe letter learning app for kids | Cool Mom Tech

Tic Tac Toe seems to build on all the skills in the other two apps and gets a little more difficult, touching on vowel sounds and syllables. In order to earn a square, kids must first answer a phonics question correctly. But the questions do a great job of quizzing on skills learned in the other two apps.

For the money this is a great little bundle of learning apps. But be warned, they aren’t the kind of apps your preschooler can play independently. You’ll have to get involved in the learning process. The apps aren’t completely intuitive to a preschooler’s clicking habits and reading abilities. So chances are, you’ll have to walk them through the apps a few times before they can get the hang of it. And even then, they still might require your help to truly get the full learning experience.

But at least there’s a full learning experience. Which is more than I can say for Angry Birds. -Molly

Tic Tac Toe, Sound Sorting, and Letter of The Day from Lakeshore Learning are available for iPhone and iPad in the iTunes app store and are FREE until December 30th!

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