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7 top educational apps for the holidays

Adios, ballistic birds. Our tech expert finds the snazziest new smarts-boosting apps.

By Christina Tynan-Wood

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Ages: Elementary school and up

When my game-obsessed teen asked where Dublin is, I knew it was time for a geography cram session. Since he loves to steal my Android to play games, I showed him MapMaster ($1.99), a geography game that uses his innate need to score points to trick him into learning. The game shows a map of the world and asks you drop a pushpin in famous places, capitals, and cities. The closer your pin comes to the right spot, the higher you score. As your gameplay improves, so does your geography knowledge. Curious kids can dig deeper and learn about where their pushpins have landed, too.

Bottom line: A satisfying game that teaches advanced geography

Christina Tynan-Wood has written for Better Homes and Gardens, Popular Science, PC World, PC Magazine, InfoWorld, and many others. She currently writes the "Family Tech" column in Family Circle and blogs at