Priddy Books, an imprint of the Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, is releasing Play and Learn with Wallace, a series of children’s early learning apps for the iPad. Designed in consultation with educators to combine educational gaming and interactive play, the app is now available for $3.99 in the App Store.

Play and Learn with Wallace offers a series of apps aimed at young readers that teach first words, counting, and spelling. In an e-mail interview, Roger Priddy, publisher of Priddy Books, said the series is launching with three apps: Counting Fun, First Spelling, and My First App. Each has a primary theme – counting, spelling, puzzles, colors and shapes, writing, phonics, etc. – and contains six interactive games that feature a variety of skills.

Priddy expects to release a new app every four to six weeks. Plan and Learn with Wallace is an organizing app and bookshelf environment, he said, that “allows for new purchases within the app.” Once parents download the Wallace app, “parents can see all the available apps in the series and create user profiles for their kids.” When new apps are available they appear on the screen when the app is launched; kids and parents can try out the apps for free before buying. The apps are designed and conceived by the Priddy Books team in collaboration with app developer Unicorn Labs.

Among the apps' features, Priddy said, is “the Super Shuffle mode, which allows the apps to be shuffled together, creating an integrated learning experience by automatically combining games from each of the different apps. We worked with early learning experts to develop the series – research shows that children learn best when activities are integrated across different areas of learning, and Play and Learn with Wallace creates a unique experience each time a child plays."

The app also features a parents' section with information on how a child is progressing, and rewards, stickers, and certificates to mark a child’s accomplishments. Priddy said the parent area “shows how many games [have been] played, last score, best score, and progress since last time played for each specific app." Parents can use this information to work with the child to improve specific skill sets (i.e. counting, numbers, letters). In the Player Profile parents and kids can view the child’s Awards Gallery and see the certificates and stickers earned. More information on Play and Learn with Wallace is available here.

Jon Yaged, president of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, said, “Parents have become more comfortable sharing their devices with their children. The Priddy Books content has always resonated with parents and kids, and we just needed to figure out how to best marry the two. Play and Learn with Wallace is the result and we could not be happier.”