Friday, February 15, 2013

The Writing is on the pad...the iPad

I am always looking for great handwriting apps.  One of the things I work on with most of my children is handwriting and encouraging them that it can be fun.  With the introduction of the iPad to my professional (and personal) life, I have been able to motivate some of the kids who struggle most with handwriting by using the iPad.  I have a bunch of them on my iPad and iPhone.  Have even begun to use them with my almost 3 year old daughter, Quinn.  She is already eager to learn because of the super cool apps out there.  LetterSchool is definitely one of my go-to apps.  I use this in conjunction with the Handwriting Without Tears program and have found that my kids at work are more motivated and excited about learning how to write their letters and alphabet.

Today, during one of my home sessions, I was talking to an 8 year old who his struggling with handwriting and has recently been introduced to cursive.  She is one of the most awesome and hardest working girls I know and I want to find ways to make her feel better about her handwriting.  As we were practicing writing, I decided to do a search for fun and motivating iPad apps that featured cursive handwriting.  I am so excited about what i stumbled upon.  Fizzbrain Apps has a series of handwriting apps that will be sure to excite and motive your child.  I have already downloaded the Touch and Write and Cursive Touch and Write apps on my iPad.  And I can't wait to start using them at work.

There are a lot of great features of this app and I am still learning them all.  One of the things I really like is that it follows the Handwriting Without Tears way of writing so I will be able to use this in conjunction with the workbooks I use.  One of the things my kids love is that you can choose from over a dozen different materials to write with such as shaving cream, green jello and ketchup!

Another great feature is that you can change the level of difficulty depending on your child's skill level. For beginners, there is are cupcakes throughout the letter you are practicing that you have to drag a monster too.  Once you have mastered that level, you can choose to just drag the monster through the letter without the cupcakes as a visual cue.  If you don't draw the lines in the correct order, you have to keep trying.  The picture below shows the monster being dragged using chocolate frosting and having to follow the cupcakes as a visual cue.  

One of the last features I really love is that you can work on writing words as well.  There is an option so you can add words that you want to work on.  Great for children who need practice with their spelling lists.  Could also add your name (as seen above) and maybe the names of your friends or family members.  I love the idea of being able to personalize the app to your child's needs and/or interests.  

I can't wait to spend more time exploring this app with my children at work.  There is nothing like watching a child begin to master and feel more confident with their handwriting.  Children have so much on their plates in school these days.  So many expectations and they are constantly comparing themselves to other children and recognize their struggles or how things come easily for other children. My goal with finding these apps is to have fun while helping to develop a sense of mastery with skills.  As a therapist, I try and "hide" the work aspect of things and focus on the fun.  Chances are they will master and generalize the skills much easier and faster if i do it that way.  

For those of you with younger children who aren't working on letters yet, they have created a shapes version of this app.  Check out Shapes Touch and Write for you little ones.  It is never too early to start working on developing good graphomotor skills.  I am definitely going to begin using it with my almost 3 year old daughter Quinn.  

Do any of you have any great handwriting apps that you can share with me?  Would love to hear of any others out there or if you too have had success with either of these Fizzbrain writing apps.  As always, I am just a click away and would love to hear from you and answer any questions you might have.

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