We have had a fun-filled week trying out our new chore app, Chore Cards. As the week progressed, I realized this will also be a great way to schedule Noah’s daily activities and ensure his cooperation. He’ll do just about anything to get to swipe the iPad; so interaction with the Chore Cards app is a great motivator. To purchase Chore Cards or to see what the App Store and other reviewers have to say about Chore Cards, visit http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chore-cards/id510270097?mt=8.
The concept is pretty simple, really. The free version allows you a good picture of how well this app is designed and just how much it can simplify your life and get your children excited about doing their chores. Don’t have an iPad? No problem. This app works just as well on an iPhone. As a matter of fact, the smaller size of an iPhone serves this app well in the scanning mode.
In the free version, there are 25 preset chore cards in a Tiger Boy theme or a Tiger Girl theme to be assigned on a per-chore basis to one child. You can change the name of the chore but not the accompanying image on the free version. (The full version, on sale now for just 99 cents allows you unlimited custom themes, unlimited custom chores, and unlimited child profiles, all with the ability to modify the image.) Each chore is assigned a point value by the parent. Custom rewards are added by the parent via uploading a picture or image of the reward along with a point value. The parent sets the child up in their own profile complete with a photograph of the child, and chores are assigned by day of the week.
When the child is ready to start doing chores, the child taps the app selection to open it, clicks on their photograph, and is taken to a screen with a strip of assigned chore cards on the left and a “Drag Here” box on the right.
(Images taken from the Chore Cards page at the App Store.)
The screen is self-explanatory and intuitively leads the child through the chore checking and completion process. A gold star with the number of points earned in the current day sits above the done box. A small yellow ribbon on the top of the page keeps track of how many total points the child has to redeem.
When the child has collected enough points, he taps on that yellow ribbon and it takes him to a screen where the custom rewards are displayed. He taps the one he wants, taps the redeem button, and the points are automatically deducted from his account.
All customizable options allow you the ability to easily use your own iPhone or iPad photos to illustrate the choice.
Here’s the real beauty of what you get for your 99 cents. Any of you out there have children who grab things off the grocery aisles just to be able to run it under the check price scanner, or perhaps they beg and plead to be the ones to scan the groceries at the Self-Check Out lane? Well, Chore Cards gives your kids the option to do just that with the chore cards you print for them. The app sends you an email that contains all your chore cards. (You must have email set up on your iPad or iPhone to be able to do this.) I wound up forwarding the email to my PC email account, to then use Windows to cut and paste the cards to a business card template (provided by Chore Cards via a free link) and then print. There is a whisper that a future version may simplify this process for us. At the bottom of the cards are boxes similar to bar codes that your child scans with the camera feature of your iPad or iPhone. If your child would rather scan the cards than click and drag them to the finished box, he has that option.
I know some of you don’t like the idea of your children having to keep going back to the iPad or iPhone as they finish each chore. So here’s another option that is working for us. Print out all the chore cards for each child. Give them their own physical box, and as they do each card, have them place the finished chore card in the box. At the end of the day, or before they go off to play, they use the Chore Card app to do their scanning or tap and dragging all at one time.
My kids LOVE this app! Noah (5 – Down syndrome) is itching to be added into the user profiles, and I’m hoping to get him going on it next week. For him, I’ll just teach him how to tap and drag the cards into the done box, but I think it will be a real motivator for him to get through his daily activities, even those which are typically a struggle for him (namely homeschool and articulation drill activities). .
I personally love clicking on the picture of each of my children after lunch and being able to see which cards they still have left to do. No scanning through endless chore lists or trying to remember who got assigned which cleanup duty. The chore cards can also be left intact and posted on a wall for easy reference, and they can be scanned whether they are cut or left intact.
Obviously, Chore Cards is a great way to organize chores in any household, but I’m finding it especially helpful in my house of nine, including a child with Down syndrome and several children who seem to need visual cueing to get through their day. This app has so many applications in the world of special ed and special needs. Here are some alternative ways to use chore cards:
1. Behavior Management – with cards like “Apologize when I’ve done something I shouldn’t have.”
2. Homeschooling – with cards like “Complete math assignment and do corrections.”
3. Visual Scheduling – with cards for daily routine items, including school and therapy tasks, social greetings, self-care, living skills, television or computer time, rest time, etc.
If you can’t tell by what I’ve written so far, I’m pretty crazy about Chore Cards. There are a couple things that bumped up against, though.
1. I had a difficult time figuring out how to do some of the custom work. I was convinced there was a bug, but when I contacted app support, they answered my email almost immediately and instructed me on how to do what I wanted to do. All of the features work, but it did take some experimenting and asking questions to do everything I wanted to do. I do have to say that their app support is the finest I have encountered. Here are the answers to some of the questions I had:
- Q: On the full version of Chore Cards, how do I add custom chores?
- A: The custom chores are added under the settings screen. From the main screen tap the gear in the top right. Then tap the “Themes”. From here you can add chores to a built theme (by substituting your custom images and chore descriptions for theirs) or create a totally new custom theme with completely original custom chore cards-
Q: My children click on the bar code to scan their chore cards, but all we get is a black screen. How do they actually scan the cards?
- A: If your iPad or iPhone is in a case, you will have to lower the flap that covers the camera lens. You will use the camera to do the scanning.
(Okay, okay, that second question was just downright embarrassing, but somebody else has got to make that mistake too. Anyone???)
There is a great video tutorial for the basic Chore Card features at http://appdads.com/ChoreCards/.
App Store page for Chore Cards: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chore-cards/id510270097?mt=8
Developer page for Chore Cards: http://appdads.com/ChoreCards/
4-1/2 out of 5 stars
It’s not quite 5 stars because I’d like to see easier chore card printing capabilities and a little more in the way of printable charts to visualize all the chores and who they’ve been assigned to. We’ve also had an issue with the cards sticking if we close down the app mid session and then open it again. This is pretty easy to overcome by just going back one screen and then returning.
Since very few of the apps I’ve seen have the in-depth instructions I’d like to see, I can’t really dock them for that.
That said, it’s hard to not shower Chore Cards by APPDADS with bonus points for their outstanding customer service in the form of app support, which more than made up for the documentation issues, the practicality and design of this app, and the value that is packed into this app that is currently selling for only 99 cents. I definitely would urge you to snatch it up now, because I’m guessing it’s not going to stay 99 cents for long.
To help you do just that, Noah and I have free codes for the full version of Chore Cards for three lucky www.wordsofhisheart.wordpress.com readers. Just leave a comment below, and the kids will draw the winning names on Monday, September 17th (a week from today).
Blessings, and app on! (For those of you from my generation, that would be the equivalent to rock on . . . oh, never mind.)