The Skinny: Where is the Cake? and its sequel Where is the Cake Now? are wonderful illustrated books without any words. Taking away the text can be great for some children who are nervous about reading, and prompt them to create their own narratives about the pictures. What it is: Where is the Cake? and Where is…
The Skinny: This particular app has already been given Apple’s “App store Hall of Fame” status. So you know it’s pretty good. Toontastic is an amazing game that you can use to build language and story sequencing. It is simply designed to show how a story goes from beginning to climax to the end. They even integrate music so…
The Skinny: Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head are great open-ended activities prompting language, learning about body parts, and practicing pretend play skills. What it is: Mr./Mrs. Potato Head (any version) What it’s used for: Language – teaching requesting,”more”, body parts, and colors, following directions Ways to use it: Language: Withhold Potato Heads parts momentarily to prompt your kid to…
The Skinny: FREE AT STARBUCKS NOW! For a limited time only! I posted about a comic app before, and I’m always happy to learn about fun ways to engage kids with simple language. If they feel that language is easy and fun, they will more likely use it. This app is full of images and templates to…
The Skinny: Okay, I think this is one of the simplest, yet coolest products out there! It’s very simple in the sense that your kid can wear a different message every day. But, the best part about it is it allows your child to enjoy playing with language. See some of the pictures I took just playing…
The Skinny: This is a fun Rube Goldberg type game that really works on your motor planning. It’s a cross between a marble run game and the board game Mousetrap. There are 7 obstacles to move your ball through. Each one has its own joystick or button to maneuver the ball with. The goal is to move the ball through the course.
What it is: Screwball Scramble
What it’s used for: Motor Planning and Language
Ways to use it:
I would start with just successfully doing one task, then move up from there, one at a time.
I would progress to setting up sequences to solve, to encourage their constant accomplishments
Lastly, once they have solved the entire board. I would pull out the timer. For some kids, competing against their own time or that of a friend, is a great motivator. The goal with having your child do this task faster and faster is that they are working from muscle memory, versus thinking through every step. Similar to breathing, you don’t realize that you are doing it, but you are. You don’t think about it, you just do it. Like walking. We want the fingers and the brain to work simultaneously.
For language, I would be constantly describing all the different segments with unique descriptive words: Lever boards, rails, tubes, ringing bell, etc. There are several different areas to describe that you can build multiple new words into your child’s vocabulary.
Then, if your child is ready for it, and the game motivates them, you can have them name pieces of the game with the new words you have just taught them. “Label 3 items to the get the next ball to play with” It’s a bit ABA, but it does get the repetitive practice in.
The Skinny: Word Magic is a great app that we used with my kid to help him learn his first words. At about 3 years old, we were still very concerned about his language. But, he was starting to come along. I remember the time when we had a giant matrix of words, and worked every day…
The Skinny: Pictello is a great app for story sequencing and basic language. You easily create visual stories and talking books on your iPad or iPhone. Our speech therapist recommended this years ago, and we still use it to do a simple scrapbook of any trip we go on. However, we started by simply documenting an excursion we might go on during an afternoon. Essentially, each page is a simple photo pulled from your phone, and a caption for that event. Put a half-a-dozen of these together and share them with your family! The program has a nice read-along feature that will read what you write, so your kid can practice hearing the correct language about a subject they want to know about. And, once you are finished, you can share it!
What it is: Pictello
What it’s used for: Story Sequencing and Language
Ways to use it:
Start simple. Do a task around the house and take a photo for each step. i.e. feeding the dog. First photo of the dog, “Fido is hungry”; 2nd photo, “I’m feeding the dog”; 3rd photo, “Fido is eating his food”. It’s really simple, but gets the basic steps across for an activity that he or she can related directly too.
And complexity. This piece goes on and on to wherever you want to take it. Have it cover an entire day’s worth of activities. Or the weekend trip to Disneyland or visiting the Grandparents.
Share it with friends and family. This something your child can be proud of, make sure everyone recognizes them for it!