Tuesday, October 18, 2011

iPad Apps - Part Two

Today's entry is a continuation of yesterday's post on iPad apps. Yesterday focused mostly on the apps we use with Gavin for "touch training", communication and his entertainment. While the apps in today's post are also available to Gavin...they are mostly enjoyed by Brian, who will soon be three.

I hope that you're able to discover some new apps from this list - for your iPad or your "i-anything!" And I ask again that if you have apps you'd like to recommend - please leave them as a comment under this post or yesterday's post. I would love it if someone was googling "special needs apps" or "toddler apps" and they found this blog with my list and all of your recommendations...all in one place!!
Books:

There are many Dr. Seuss apps available, but currently the only one we have is Hop on Pop which Brian loves.

Probably our most beautiful book is PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit. It's too advanced for the boys at the moment - rated for ages 4 and up. But I'm glad I have it - a classic book with beautiful graphics.

Five Little Monkeys is a favorite book of Gavin's, which is why I bought it. I was a little disappointed that the song - which is what Gavin loves the most - is not included. And the reading is slow and flat which means I lose him pretty quickly to boredom. Brian likes it, though!

The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin is a favorite hardcover book we have. A beautiful story of a pumpkin that was born square in a pumpkin patch full of round pumpkins. A twist on the ugly duckling story that gets me to tear up every time when, in the end, the square pumpkin realizes that his shape gives him worth. I was thrilled when I saw the app - but really disappointed with the s...l...o...w... narration. It makes the book really boring. I wish all these books had the option to let you record yourself reading it!

We love Sandra Boynton's books, so I had to get Moo, Baa, La La La! for the iPad. It's very cute and one that Brian often chooses. The graphics are great and there are lots of fun surprises depending on where the child touches on the screen.

"My Tales Digital" makes My Bookshelf which features six different books that the child can choose "off the shelf". Brian loves this and his favorite book on the shelf is Mrs. McGee's Coconut...a bit of a strange story, but whatever floats your boat, Bri!

Toy Story Read-Along is another favorite of Brian's and features the real voices of the characters which is a lot of fun!

Sesame Street: The Playground is popular - with Brian. I was disappointed that there were no authentic character voices. And they could have maybe picked a better voice over artist - this guy reading it is not great. But - this book does have the feature of recording your own voice reading it which is what I am planning to do. One of these days. It also has a fun "coloring book" which Brian loves. I was surprised with his interest in this book due to the lame narration and the fact that you just listen and turn pages - it's not one that has hidden features that do something when you touch them. Although it's funny to watch Brian touch the screen to see if anything will move or jump. (He now does that in real books - which is either funny or sad. Not sure which.)

Brian's a little obsessed with Once Upon A Potty. It's such a funny book and has definitely gotten him more interested in his own little potty seat - and his 'little hole for making poo poo'. Yes, that's really part of the book. But hey, we all have one - right?

His absolute favorite book - and mine, too - is The Monster At The End of This Book. I can't say enough about this adorable app!! It has Grover's authentic voice...incredible animation...hilarious graphics...and so much interaction on the screen. Every time Brian touches something - something funny happens and he giggles. If you don't have this book - get it now!! You won't be sorry!

Games and other fun apps:

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox is a BIG favorite - of Brian AND me. It has counting, matching games, colors, letters, puzzles and spot the differences. It's easy to navigate - has adorable graphics -and the little monkey makes Brian laugh. HIGHLY recommend this app!

Interactive Alphabet - ABC Flash Cards is a great app that babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers could enjoy. Each letter becomes interactive - the Z becomes a zipper that the child zips and unzips. They show the upper and lower case letters - and sound out the letters, too. The songs are catchy as well which is a bonus for me!

Another favorite of Brian's is Happyville Pet Shop. It's a book and a game. The narrator takes the child through a pet shop where the child can pet, feed or play games with each animal. Then, at the end, the child chooses a favorite animal to "bring home" to play with. Brian has so much fun with this app!

His current obsession is an app called My Play Home. Think doll house on the iPad. There are four different rooms - the kitchen, the family room, the bedroom and the bathroom. Every room has working lights, TV, fish tank, kitchen sink, washer, shower, etc. Brian can feed the family, put dishes away, build blocks with the baby, put the kids to bed, give everyone a bath, brush their teeth...the possibilities are endless. It's a great way to get him to practice every day words when we play together. Really a very cute app. He can even change the CDs in the stereo!

Talking Anya is one that I chose with Brian's speech in mind. Anya is a little girl that can repeat what he says. She blows bubbles, sings and dances. He can change her clothes, her eye color, her hair and her location! I took a little video so you can "test her out" before you take the leap and get suckered into buying the extras on this "free app."

I have two games by Toddler Teasers. One is Toddler Preschool Shapes which asks the child to identify different shapes. The other is Toddler Preschool Colors. They were popular for a while - but Brian's kind of "over them" now.

My Magic Songs is something that sucked me in because it was free. It creates personalized songs and videos starring your child...and Gavin loves loves LOVES to hear his name. But after downloading it, I realized that only one song is free - the rest are available to buy. So when Brian tries clicking on the other song selections - he gets frustrated when nothing happens. And I feel cheap. I'm on the fence about whether to buy more songs. Some of the "albums" are $7.99! It is a cute app, though, I have to say.

Where's Mommy? is a really cute app. You can load your own photos and record your own voice for each picture. Then it's a game that asks the child to find each picture. I'm currently loading all of Gavin and Brian's cousins pictures and recording "Where's Emily...where's Brendan...Where's Mark...?" etc. It's a fun way to learn all their cousins names in between holiday get togethers!

Toddler Jukebox is just what it sounds like - a jukebox for kids. I got this for Gavin because it has some of his favorite songs on there. It's cute that the kids can choose their favorite song...but it got old pretty quickly and we barely use it anymore.

Little Dialers is not really a game as it is an educational tool. You type in the ten digit phone number you want your child to learn - and he copies it on the phone keypad. The hope is that through repetition and positive reinforcement the phone number will stick in their mind in an emergency!

Pocket Pond is mostly for Gavin's enjoyment. The iPad screen turns into a pond with Koi fish swimming by periodically. If he touches the screen it makes sounds like he's touching the water and creating ripples. And if he touches the fish they quickly swim away. If you're having trouble falling asleep - start fiddling with this app while you're sitting in bed. Works like a charm. Oh, and it's free which means it's cheaper than Ambien. Bonus!

Finally - whew! - there are the Clicky Sticky apps. This is a very cute app - like a sticker book for the iPad. Children can pick backgrounds and then drag stickers onto the page to create imaginary scenes. So far we have the original ClickySticky which includes dolls, ocean, airplanes, dinosaurs and safari scenes. Then I got the ClickySticky Halloween version. You can put costumes on kids, make a trick or treat scene complete with kids holding light up flashlights and create your own jack-o-lantern. And we also have ClickySticky Christmas where they can dress snowmen, decorate houses, fly santa's sleigh and tap the screen to make snow fall.

I was asked what cover we have for the iPad after yesterday's entry. First of all, I had the iPad wrapped entirely with a Zagg Invisible Shield. I did not do it myself - there was a stand outside of our Apple store that provided the service. I highly recommend this. Gavin drools too much so I wanted the screen protected from that - and from scratches. Then I chose the Otterbox Defender for the outside case. I like that it has rubber edges - like bumpers. I like that it has a built in stand. I sort of like that it has weight to it so Gavin can't easily knock it around when it's standing. But the weight is also it's downfall. I will not have this case forever. It's just too heavy for Gavin to carry around someday. But for now it offers maximum protection - which is key. I just pray every day that Brian doesn't drop it on his toes. Ouch.

That's all, folks! Don't forget to leave suggestions for apps in the comments! And let me know if your kids end up falling in love with any of these apps!


4 comments:

  1. You should check out this site http://digital-storytime.com/sale.php#2. I use this site to get apps for my 3 year old. I usually only go for the free ones - that way if they are bad or she does not play them no big deal.

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  2. Talking Tom is an example of an app that repeats what the person playing says. Talking Tom is a cat where if you touch the cat in different spots it does different things. For instance if you touch the cats tail he gets mad in a playful way. You can also give the cat milk etc. There are many different apps that are all very similar. There is a giraffe, dog, bird etc. They are all free and then you can also purchase them and they will have even more options than the free versions of themselves.

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  3. I just found your blog this evening. My son has Childhood Apraxia of Speech and we use his iPad2 as part of his therapy and communication. I see you are using the Otterbox. Do you have and iPad1 or 2? The reviews of the Otterbox for iPad2 aren't great and I hate to drop a ton of money for a so-so product. I look forward to browsing through your blog more tomorrow during naptime. :)

    ~Tricia

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  4. Thank you for this. I just discovered your blog.. through Love that Max..... I am waiting for my ipad in the mail!!!!! I hvae Jaime a 4y.o. with Down and I am madly researching apps. I will keep checking back!!! Thanks for your blog!!!
    Liz Tree

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