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Empathy Apps: Tech Tools that Teach Kids to Care (page 2)

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Updated on Apr 1, 2013

Leo's Pad Appisode 1 & 2. (Kidadaptive; ages 5–10; free–$1.99; iPad only) This is a full-fledged learning app with stunning graphics and a wide variety of activities for little learners. Lessons on social skills like taking turns, patience and considering the feelings of others are integrated throughout. The first episode is free and features a fictional young Leonardo Da Vinci as he builds things like a telescope or paints a homemade birthday card for his friend—little Galileo. Parents will be captivated by quality of the illustrations and the in-depth interactivity.

Touch Pets Dogs 2. (Ngmoco; ages 7–10; free; iOS) Kids learn to look after a virtual animal pal with this in-depth pet care app. Your child can practice feeding, petting and cleaning up after her puppy and, in the process, discover that pets need more than just playtime. Practical tasks must be accomplished before players can progress in this game. Your child is rewarded with a happy companion and the opportunity to interact with other virtual "pet owners" online.

Always remember that as good as these apps are, they're just one part of your "parent toolbox.” Don't simply purchase them and park your kid. "The best way to scaffold cognitive and developmental skills is talking with children and interacting directly with them,” says Tricia Striano, Ph.D., psychology professor at Hunter College and founder of HowBabiesLearn.com. “Whether you're reading a book together or exploring a new app on emotions, the key to learning is engaging and playing together with your child."

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