This week’s preschool and early grades round up is a winner, with lots to play with and explore. Every one of them has a unique feel and brilliance to it. Some are a little older, some just out - all of them worth a look see and download. Let's take a peek at some of the highlights! The White Book by TIWI and based on the book by the same name, is an absolute delight in the exploration of color. By selecting a color from an array of paint cans, a child doodles across the page drinking in the richness of a particular color and immersing themselves til satiated. What’s that you spy in the corner? A BLUE BUBBLE BLOWING HIPPO? By painting, kids uncover a graphic that when tapped, they can interact with on screen. Although the app does not identify the colors verbally the simple silence is elegant and it will encourage kids to ask questions. This is one of those forever apps that you will keep on your iPad as it never fails to delight when seeing a child discovering the beauty of color for the first time. Sound Salad by Funny Yummy Studio UG is an app sure to please clinicians and teachers everywhere. In Sound Salad, kids learn to listen and then discriminate a variety of sounds amidst increasing auditory clutter. This not only habituates them to sounds in general and begins to associate their source, but also teaches them the ultimate life-long skill of being able to filter out extraneous environmental sounds from what is important. The interface is simple and uncluttered. Graphics are outstanding and truly unique works of art – part steampunk and part over the top creative textural collage. The play is highly motivating, and it is hard to stop! Colto never fails to deliver, and their app Art Gurus is an exploration of color and design. Little designers get to explore and design parts of a classroom…a globe, a book bag and even the wild and crazy hair of the teacher! Design tools include markers, stickers and a magic wand that taps into creative juices by producing color, patterns, and stickers randomly onto your piece. Colto designed this app with a preschooler’s attention span in mind and expected length of play (15 minutes). It's loads of fun but kids will move on after a bit. This is a very thoughtful and insightful detail and allows for off screen carryover of activities readily available. Lucy and Pogo by catsndogz studio is a beautifully illustrated story about social bias and prejudice. Lucy is a cat, who longs to go to school. The school, however, is for Dogs Only, so Lucy devises a scheme to dress up as a dog to gain access to education. Pogo, her dog friend can’t even see through the ruse! There are interactive features on the pages that compliment and do not distract from the story – as kids are acting as Lucy in the classroom. There is a wee bit of potty humor in the math lesson, but it is a scream for kids. Soon enough the ruse is up as Lucy accidently exposes herself after saving the day for a busload of dogs trapped on a bridge. Later, Pogo and the teacher come to the rescue and open the hearts and minds of all at the school…and shows that everyone matters and contributes in the world. This is a must have book for modeling the benefits of diversity. It’s brilliantly done and handles the subject matter with precision and openness. Moonlight Hide and Seek is another one of a kind storybook by Weily Apps that is sensational. It teaches simple counting with adding and subtracting within the storyline. Set in the country at night, kids have the opportunity to interact with a variety of night creatures. Play involves picking an animal and a number and finding out how many other animals are hiding using a base of ten. Kids have plenty of choices to help navigate the story, and the results are that no repeat play is quite the same. On each page is a counting line, which would be fun to make up as a tangible for kids to cipher with while reading the story. Included are interesting facts about the animal’s behaviors and habitats. The artwork is exceptional and rich in texture. It gives off the feel of a breezy kiss across your cheeks from the night air. Jo Booth OTR/L has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals of SEPA, Montgomery County Division mainly focusing in Early Intervention. It is an APS (Approved Private School) and home outreach based setting. She has also worked in Adolescent and Adult Rehabilitation. Writing reviews for Teachers With Apps has been a tremendous opportunity and experience to share and learn with others.
Written by Jo Booth
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play every day; so that “her kids” grow up to be healthy independent learners.