Noah and I have found several free apps for our Ipad that tie in rather nicely with our Around the House with Noah preschool theme. As always, I’m sharing them with the people I love the most. 🙂
Injini Light- http://itunes.apple.com/app/injini-child-development-game/id462683555?mt=8 – is the free version of a $29.99 app. This is the only app I’ve seen that I’m even remotely considering spending that kind of money on. There are 10 games on Injini, and Injini Light gives you the first several levels of 8 of them. And they are ALL good. The game with the strongest around the house theme is the Find It game. A drawer appears with one or more household objects in it (you pick the number), and a little girl on the side of the screen asks for one of them. Your child drags the item to the girl and she congratulates them for a job well done. The app developers at Injini are marketing this to the special needs community, but beyond a doubt these games are appropriate and educational for all toddlers and preschoolers. This is by far my favorite preschool app to date, and I just have the lite/free version.
Next we have the I Touch I Learn Morning Routines – http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/itouchilearn-life-skills-morning/id412371450?mt=8. This is the lite version of an app all about morning routines – perfect for the child who is dependent on routine to progress through the morning. The full version is available through an in-app purchase for 99 cents. I know you must get tired of me telling you how much I love these apps – but the truth is, if I didn’t love them, I wouldn’t be posting about them. If I was getting anything out of this deal, I promise I’d have a couple freebies to give away. I love this app. A very cool cartoon-high tech child progresses through his day, actually doing the task as “This is the way we . . .” to the tune of Here We Go Around the Mulberry Bush plays in the background. At the end of the task, there is a very short, simple game for the child to play using the items used in the specific task. A GREAT tool not only for getting through tasks in an organized manner but also to build the vocabulary used in those tasks. Love it, love it, love it. The lite version gives you a few of the tasks, and the 99 cents unlocks the rest of them. I did purchase the full version of this and I don’t regret it.
My Playhome – http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-playhome/id439628153?mt=8 – is another winner, at least in the eyes of my kids. This is a doll-house iPad style. An ethnically diverse collection of adults and children are available for your children to choose from to create a family. (I’m not sure if the ethnic diversity is only available in the upgrade or if it is available in the light version as well.) Once the family is created, the lite version allows you to switch through a few modern-style doll-house type rooms and do things like open the fridge, microwave, cupboards, turn on the light and the TV, eat popsicles and apples, and a large variety of other activities. The full version includes more rooms and more things to do in those rooms. This is probably my kids’ favorite app for fun – from the 10-year-old all the way down to the 3-year-old. No real educational value, but if you can get your child to vocalize all the activities and choices they are making, this could be a great vocabulary and articulation builder for children who are struggling with speech. One of the things I love about this app is that the full version ($3.99 as of this post) has frequent free updates which include new rooms and new items. I love that!
Next we have Buddy Bear categories by Linguisystems – http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/autism-pdd-categories-lite/id527931314?ls=1&mt=8. This app is part of a very well-done series that incorporates lots of the receptive language skills Noah has been working on in speech therapy. This is by no means a high-tech app, just very effective. If you are familiar with the Buddy Bear books, you’ll feel right at home with this app. If not, it’s all very self-explanatory and a simple idea dependent on your child’s listening and understanding abilities. The down side is that the lite version of these apps only provide about 5 questions a piece, and the full version is $14.99 per app. The categories app is just one of many, so that $14.99 adds up very quickly. Categories asks questions in 5 categories: House, yard, kitchen, vacation and plays. This app is a great way to hone in on words common around the house. The upside to the Buddy Bear apps is that there are so many lite versions of the different apps, you can get quite a collection of them, and that makes up for the fact there are only five questions in each sample. I have a whole folder of the lite versions on my iPad, and I put them to use with Noah (5 with Down syndrome) and Bella (just turned 4).
This brings us to Little Mouse Vocabulary – http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/little-mouse-vocabulary-learn/id446671175?mt=8 a completely free app with four different screens full of household items for your child to manipulate through touching or dragging. As each item is manipulated, a pleasant English-accented woman names them, and the written word appears on the screen. Three of the screens have to do with food; the other is a screen of a messy room, and as your child touches each out-of-place item, the items fly into a basket. Pretty simple stuff, but the illustrations and voice are enchanting, and this is an excellent way to get in a little extra auditory bombardment and vocabulary. If your child is willing to have some interaction while playing, you could call out the items you want him to touch, and he could find your directions. Otherwise, he should have no problem finding his way around this app.
With so many free apps out there, it can be frustrating to try to find the ones most helpful for your unique child. Hopefully this will help a little, and as always, I’d love to hear what apps you are using with your children to address their special needs and interests.