(iOS, itunes.apple.com, $4.99; Android, play.google.com, $3.64)
This is a great app for children who are just learning to write. It has a cheerful design, colorful animations, and easy-to-follow lessons to keep younger kids focused and engaged. Before forming a letter themselves, kids tap dots that show the formation of the letter. The next level of the game requires that they trace the letter on the screen. Each completed letter becomes animated. Children are then encouraged to make the letter without any guides or dots, and they are awarded stars for each letter they master. This reward system, paired with the fun visuals and sound, really motivates young children.
(iOS, itunes.apple.com, $4.99; Android, play.google.com, $2.99)
Writing Wizard has functions like those of LetterSchool — animated letter demonstrations, outline tracing, and freehand writing exercises — but it also has some bells and whistles of its own. Parents are able to customize lessons for their kids, allowing them to create word lists and record their voice to help children sound out letters as they write. Once a writing activity is complete, children are awarded one of four different mini-games, motivating them to complete each exercise. When children learn the basics, parents can tweak the settings to make the app more challenging. New settings will require clearer handwriting, and will offer less demonstration.
Cursive Touch and Write
(iOS, itunes.apple.com, $2.99) This app, developed by classroom teachers, is perfect for kids who have a solid grasp of basic handwriting skills. This app features detailed practice modes for individual letters, as well as the option to write out entire words with connected, cursive letters. When a child completes a letter, he sees the letter used to make a word. The app keeps things fun by letting children select what they’d like to write on, from regular lined "paper" to waffles, tiger stripes, or corn on the cob. The standard pencil can be replaced, too, with silly writing materials, such as ketchup, shaving cream, or jelly. Fair warning, though. Once your child starts writing by hand with whipped cream, returning to a number 2 pencil will be a hard sell.