PBS makes dozens of apps guaranteed to capture your little one’s imagination (or avoid a meltdown in a pinch), but the Elmo Loves ABCs for iPad has legitimately helped speed along my 2-year-old’s recognition of upper and lowercase letters, colors, shapes, and word pronunciation. Plus, he loves it. The app jumps between more than 80 classic and new Sesame Street clips with favorite monster characters Grover, Cookie Monster, Murray, and, of course, Elmo, coloring pages, songs, and letter tracing.

You can try A, B, and C for free, but if you get desperate to get beyond carrot, cactus, and cookie (as I did) you may want to bite the bullet and spend $4.99 for all 26 letters.

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