You got the iPad for the kids to do educational things, but are they really going for the educational stuff or are they playing endless games instead? Here are some cool iPad apps that have elements to keep them entertained and learning at the same time.

Basic Skill Builders

1 and 2. Pala Software's MathBoard and SpellBoard are two great simple apps to get your kid started on the iPad. (They work on the iPhone as well.) The ability level is for all ages and both are great starters for kids learning to both manipulate the tablet platform and build skills. Kids love the puzzle option on the Spellboard. These are $4.99 apiece.

Science Apps

3. TouchPress offers the periodic table as you've never seen it before. The Elements: A Visual Exploration gives full dimensional color and life to the periodic table. A must-have for your chemistry students, but even young elementary students will love this for its sheer beauty and fun manipulation.

4. Nothing beats the award-winning Virtual Frog Dissection app! This one takes the student through all steps of dissection without the smell and discomfort of formaldehyde and the frog's death. (Though students have held their nose at the opening of the frog because it is just that life-like.) The current version also takes the student from tadpole stage all the way through the life cycle.

5. GoSoftWorks has the incredible GoSkyWatch planetarium app. Simply point the iPad to the sky and get an instant report back on exactly what your child is looking at with a complete breakdown of names, calculations, you name it — for $9.99.

High School Shakespeare

6. If your child's school is doing one of the four usual high school Shakespeare plays — "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet," "Midsummer Night's Dream," or "Macbeth" — boy are they in luck! MindConnex has apps for the iPad and the iPhone that supply animated unabridged versions of the plays, study guides, analysis, notes, and pretty much everything a budding young Shakespeare scholar might need, all for $14.99.

General Education

7. No list of educational apps would be complete without Brain Pop. Brain Pop has a daily app feature that gives kids something different to look forward to every day. They often cover famous people's birthdays or famous concepts — all things kids need to know at some point, but done in animated and interesting ways. Recent animated histories include Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, Maya Angelou, Kurt Vonnegut, Teddy Roosevelt, and gravity.

Educational apps are proving that learning in the 21st century can be a whole lot of fun!