And we’re back! The school year here is about to end and we will be freed from our academic responsibilities for a few months. To make up for our weeks of silence, we’re offering you a short list of gaming apps that almost always finds its way into our therapy activities. Check out a few apps that simply refuse to leave our iPad:
- Perfetto by GoodAppl ($0.99): This one is a bestseller among our bigger kids who love the simplicity of the task matched against immense time pressure. Ever had one of these as a physical toy? Quickly sort complicated shapes into their respective holes and beat the time. Once the toy (or the app) hits 0 seconds, the toy/app “shakes,” throwing off all your pieces. There goes all your hard work!
- Lil’ Kitten Shopping Cart Game by PODD Corp. ($2.99): Before you exclaim and say “$2.99!” let us tell you that this quirky app is perfect for visual attention, auditory memory, visual recall, even mental calculation, all bundled in the everyday life functionality of grocery shopping. Momma Cat gives Lil’ Kitten grocery money and a shopping list. Your task is to help Lil’ Kitten find and buy the items on the list. Guide Lil’ Kitten to the correct aisles, have her push her cart down the shelves, look real hard for the item, AND choose which items are cheaper. There even is a Sale shelf. Up the difficulty by having your kid memorize the grocery list instead of consulting it every few seconds. Watch Lil’ Kitten save up more and more change as she goes through each difficulty level. We don’t know about you, but for us, this game app is SO worth it.
- My PlayHome by Shimoun Young ($3.99): An SLP’s iPad must have at least one dollhouse app in it, and if there is, we hope it’s My PlayHome. The characters and other items look hand-drawn and painted, with an overall look that is almost endearing. Navigate through rooms in the house. Drop a member of each family into any room you want. Manipulate the curtains to open and close, feed Mom an apple, pour juice into a glass and put the glass in the sink, even have Dad bounce in the baby’s crib (not appropriate!). Know what we mean? Follow multi-step directions, divergent and convergent naming, language processing galore.
- Sortee by Flow Studio ($0.99): Unbelievably priced at $0.99, this gaming app must have been designed for SLPs (maybe it was!). Start at a level where there are two huge pipe openings on each side of the screen. An object from afar (which is across the desert), floats fast towards you and you have but a a second or two to engage your visual recognition skills and swipe the object into its appropriate pipe (category). More difficult levels utilize 4 pipe openings for you to swipe objects in. If you see a cactus approaching, tap the screen with both fingers to vanquish it.
- How It Works: Machines by Geek Kids, by Next is Great ($1.99): For your curious machine-loving kids, this app allows one to look into everyday machines without tearing the actual ones apart. The pieces are set apart on the screen, prompting the user to tap-drag each piece into the machine. Assemble the car / vacuum cleaner / hair dryer, you’ve got yourself a working machine. Whimsically drawn and easily manipulated, this is one of those apps that you’ll want to try out first before letting your young client use it.
- Little Things by KLICKTOCK ($2.99): This is an iSpy-like game that, while perfect for older kids, can test even our own frustration tolerance levels. Big figures are made up of tiny figures. A list appears on the screen’s right side, prompting you to look for those items within the drawing. This promises to hyper-engage anyone’s focused attention.
- Tiny Dentist by fantastoonic (FREE): This app puts your young client on the OTHER side of the dentist’s chair. Swipe across the patients’ faces to change clients. Use a scaler, a drill, tweezers, even braces to remove and fill cavities, fix, whiten and beautify the teeth of several kid patients. Guaranteed a bestseller among your kids, just lower down the volume when the scaler’s squeaking and drilling: it brings back memories of your own dental visits.
- Phrasal Verbs Machine by Cambridge University Press (FREE): This app is certainly for older kids or even adult clients. Lovingly crafted into a virtual wooden case, the app quickly shows the user an animation, and then prompts the user to choose which one of the following 5 phrasal verbs matches the animation.
- Endless Alphabet by Callaway Digital Arts, Inc. (FREE) Ah, but this is not just any alphabet. Download once, then redownload to get the rest of the letters and words. Given a word (several times these are ‘big’ words), a bunch of monsters run across it to mess the letters up. As you drag a letter onto its designated letter space, the letter cries out its phonemic sound over and over again. Once you have put the word together (ex: word is “humorous), the app tells you the meaning of the word.
So there you have it! Whether the app is paid or free, the fact is these are great therapy material, and can be used over and over again. Check the App Store for more apps. For all you know your target app had gone free recently 🙂