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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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Presidents vs. Aliens

Ages: Elementary school and up

Who knew learning basic presidential facts — nicknames, quotes, dates in office, party affiliation, predecessors, successors, historical events — could be such addictive fun? On Presidents vs. Aliens ($0.99 on iTunes, for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad), you answer multiple-choice questions by choosing the correct president's head. Get it right and you get to toss that head at a swarm of space aliens in an attempt to knock them out of the sky. Three right answers in a row earns you another president — and all of his facts. The gameplay is so silly and engaging that it's futile to resist learning facts that'd otherwise be too boring to contemplate.

Bottom line: Addictive fun with dull presidential facts

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