Game time with the kids

TigerFace Games has developed learning apps that let parents and children compete or collaborate. The TigerFace Games apps are just a few of the dozens of games that are part of the Fingerprint Network. We test-drove three Fingerprint apps; all are fun, engaging, entertaining and challenging, and the graphics and animation are excellent.

Cosmic Reactor: Two players compete head-to-head in seven math-based games. One is a memory-match game, where players turn over "plates" that have equations, trying to find matching pairs (for example, 5x2 and 20-10). In another, a randomly generated problem comes up ("pick the equation that gives 41"), and players have to find the right one from among a bunch of equation-sporting viruses that are floating around the screen. Customization is easy, so kindergartners can do simple addition and subtraction, while older kids can multiply and divide larger numbers. (Ages 5-11; $2.99)

Quick Tap Spanish: In this two-person game, players race to match foreign-language words with their English equivalents. Quick Tap (which also comes in French, German, Portuguese, Mandarin and others) includes more than 100 word pairs in various categories, such as animals, colors, food and numbers. A fun way to brush up on the basics. (Ages: 5-11; $1.99)

The Flying Alphabetinis: If you like Scramble With Friends (by Zynga) or Boggle, you'll love this game, where tiny acrobats with letters on their bellies pile on top of one another and create a jumble. Flash cards with hints (such as a picture of a boat) help early readers. (Ages 5-11; free-$2.99)

When parents download any of the 40-plus Fingerprint apps, they become part of the Network, which offers the ability to set up individual profiles for everyone in the family and track each child's progress. That way Dad and Mom will know whether there are specific areas the child needs to work on.

Right now, Fingerprint apps are available only on Apple devices. But Android versions will be out soon. For more info, visit

Tie up those shoes

Say goodbye to double knots and hello to Lock Laces.

These elastic strings can be trimmed to fit any size shoe and cinched tight with an adjustable plastic clip. Our kid testers found the ties sturdy enough to withstand considerable wear and tear (even in soccer cleats), but stretchy enough when loosened to allow shoes to easily slip on and off. (Lock Laces, $7.99,