The three new apps that most caught my attention this week were a diverse grouping, but effective for learning and imaginative creative play. First up on the list is “This is my Food – Nutrition for Kids” by urbn; pockets. The play is intuitive, and kids are in control throughout the play. When dealing with picky eaters or kids with feeding issues, this is a must have featured so that the child stays in control and makes the decision of what goes into their bodies. Fighting over food is non-effective, but at the same time food must be presented on an ongoing basis so kids can familiarize themselves with the sensory qualities of a certain item and gradually incorporate it into their repertoire. So how is that balance dealt with, without a parent pulling their hair out? Through the play of course! Kids that are highly sensitive benefit from using an app such as this as it gives them exposure in measured doses before introducing something outright. By the time they have explored lima beans 20+ times, playing in a bowl of them is not so intimidating and then the next step may be to actually pop one in their mouths. After selecting an avatar, kids choose between a meat based or the vegetarian plate. Opportunities for exploring foods on the plate vary from a short narrative to interactive features about a food. Exploring nutrition and appropriate behaviors is key, and there are suggestions for off screen experiments in growing food. Kids can document their experience in growing plants on an ongoing basis, and then share it with others. The app also has fabulous online resources at www.urbnpockets.com/handbooks. This Week's Preschool Beat -Top 3! Get yourself a cardboard box or a laundry basket; place the iPad in a Gripcase for an instantaneous steering wheel and turn on Moonbot’s latest – Gizmo for the ride of your life! This is an entirely new way to interact with an iPad and treads unexplored ground for creative play through the added use of technology. Gizmo is not an app for a static site and explores experience, but a get on up and move kind of app. Therapists can use this in any position, anywhere for an instantaneous trip through the universe or down under the sea. Use for visual focusing and attention to detail in the midst of other competing input as well as learning to scan, point and learn about cause and effect. This app has many opportunities for discovery and bridges concrete cause and effect play with role-playing by stirring the imagination. Night and Day Studios new BabyLit app the “Jungle Book – Hide and Seek” is a sure hit with beginning iPad users, emerging readers, and story lovers. The basic premise of the play is to help Mowgli find his friends in the jungle. In the app, the iPad holds a smart feature that follows the user’s movement and mirrors their tilts and turns. Kids can either swipe to progress the story or hold onto a scene to search and find all of the characters and see slights hints of where they can be unveiled. This is an extraordinary intro to classic literature, and how the English language is used as well as teaching attention and attention to detail. These are both critical areas for readers to discriminate salient features when looking at an object/future world. An absolutely in depth parents and teachers section will introduce the characters and the story line, and this is one app that playing it before introducing it to children is a bonus. The biggest plus is that you can get to know all the details and surprises first and help prepare a child for what’s coming next. Night and Day Studios always have the adventure to follow and teach basic skills to children. Check out this app and more at http://www.nightanddaystudios.com. I use their apps daily and can’t recommend them enough. The graphics and narration are tight, and their love for children’s self-discovery is ever evolving. So take a look...this has been what's playing on my iPad this past week, and it's a joy to witness the discoveries!
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.