Monday, February 14, 2011

iSimon's Top 10 iPad Apps

Earlier today we met with one of the Neuropsychologists at KKI for an extensive evaluation. (I'll blog more about that after I have had the chance to process it). Aside from the eval, Simon got the chance to show off his mad iPad skills to the good doctor. At the doc's request, here are our top 10 favorite iPad apps (so far). These are good for special needs kids, but also (I think) good for early education in general. Many of these apps can be found for the iphone as well as the ipad. Enjoy!

1. iGo Potty: Free download from Huggies. This app allows you to program timed alerts, add a picture of your child, and has a reward chart built in. Every success gets a "sticker" and ten stickers wins a cute game. Simon now sings the huggies pull ups jingle spontaneously, as well.

2. iWriteWords: This application has adorable graphics that encourage children to trace letter forms, one step at a time, by following a dot-to-dot pattern made by a little crab. The letters and sounds are also repeated multiple times. There are options for upper and lower case letters, numbers, and simple words.

3. Super Why: from the PBS kids show, this app is also about letter recognition, writing and pre-literacy skills. The characters guide you through a series of games where you find missing letters, trace them, and then put them back in their proper place in the context of a story. The graphics, music and animation are all very slick and worth the extra few bucks this app costs.

4. Interactive Alphabet by Pikea St.: Super cute and engaging graphics and highly interactive animation accompany each letter. The child engages with the letters through sound, motion and cool visuals.

5. AutismXpress: this is basically a screen with a series of icons showing faces with various emotions. The child presses a face, and it takes up full screen, animating the feeling. This is a nice way to talk about emotions, explore them and even have your non-verbal kid show you how he/she is feeling. There are also some funny pics -- hiccups and burps included.

6. Sesame Street "The Monster at the End of this Book" featuring Grover: I don't know about you, but this was one of my favorite books when I was little. This interactive version is wonderful, and stays entertaining after many many reads (like the book!)

7. Handy Manny's Workshop: Another paid app, but you get four "games" for the relatively low cost. Coloring, FInd it, Match it, and (Simon's favorite) Puzzle it. You can set the level of difficulty for each game, and each game has multiple options within it. The graphics are disney-quality and therefore more engaging than some of the other free apps.

8. Fish School by Duck Duck Moose: Schools of cute fish make up letters, numbers, and shapes. There are color identification activities, free "play" options (where you can move the fish around by tapping them), and two games of comparisons (differences and matching)

9. First-Then: This is a picture-scheduling app. If you've got a special needs kid, chances are you've encountered the picture schedule. This application allows you to create and customize specific routines and schedules for your child using real photos.

10. Elmo's Monster Maker: No educational value here. Just pure silly fun.

If you have any favorites, or suggestions -- please share!

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