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During the dog days of summer, your kids' brains are probably more focused on picnic tables than times tables. To help them transition back into learning mode, here's a list of kid apps that make doing math fun.

Slice Fractions

Ululab, best for ages 6-13, $2.99, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android

Rating: 4 stars (out of 4)

Kids help an adorable mammoth as he travels over challenging terrains. In each of the 90 puzzles, players slice objects into fractions to clear out ice and lava blocking the mammoth's path.

What makes it cool: This app uses slicing mechanics similar to that of the mega-popular puzzler Cut the Rope, so you know kids will like to play it. The developers worked with a team of learning experts from the University of Quebec to perfect the math curriculum, which is cleverly inserted into the gameplay. The result is an engaging physics puzzler that feels like a game but which also hones kids' math skills in working with fractions.

Bug Mazing — Adventures in Learning

Little Bit Studio, best for ages 4-6, 99 cents, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad

Rating: 4 stars

Preschoolers and kindergartners become heroes as they save the peaceful Bug King from nasty insect invaders. Each adventure takes place in a maze through the magical world of a garden floor filled with realistic-looking bugs.

What makes it cool: Most kids can't resist a good maze. And this app is chock-full of them. Add to it an Indiana Jones-type adventure setting, complete with dodging giant boulders, to hook kids on becoming the Bug King's champion. By completing mazes, filled with number challenges and pattern completion as well as ABCs and tracing, kids save the king and push out the interlopers. With this app, kids go buggy over math.

Numbers League

Bent Castle Software, best for ages 6-14, $3.99, iPad

Rating: 4 stars

Pow! Wham! Bang! Comic villains have taken over Infinity City. Kids join the elite Numbers League to use their superpower of doing math to defeat bad guys. Each villain has a weakness to a specific number. Players capture the bad guys by deploying the right combination of numbered heroes and crime-fighting devices which, when combined, equal the baddie's vulnerable number.

What makes it cool: Kids love defeating the bad guys, and this time their weapons aren't brawn, but rather brains. Players generate their army of crime-fighting good guys by using a slot-machine device to spin body parts into place. Each body part has a number, and the value of the hero is the sum of his or her body parts. By using their math prowess, kids group heroes together to come up with the exact right number to defeat a villain. Up to four kids can fight crime together on the same device; and they can lever up the math to include multiplication and even negative numbers. "Numbers League" brilliantly creates a way for kids to use math to save a comic book world.

Motion Math: Pizza

Motion Math, best for ages 7-14, $3.99, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad

Rating: 4 stars

If your kids love pizza, they will adore this app. As the owner of a pizzeria, kids get to design their own signature pizzas, shop for ingredients, set their prices and then sell their pizzas to customers. In the process of learning how to make their business profitable, they will use addition, multiplication, proportional thinking and mental math.

What makes it cool: This well-designed business simulation places kids in their dream job: owning a pizza joint. It lets them experiment with creating different kinds of pizzas and then learning about economics by setting prices based on how much their ingredients cost. Kids even learn comparative shopping for ingredients from two funky vendors. The app bubbles over with fun from the silly names you can create for your pizzas to serving all kinds of customers —— including animals. This is one of the best economic sims for kids.

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