Monday, October 27, 2014
Trick or Treat? These Halloween Apps Are A Def Treat!
In preparing for a long car ride this weekend, I decided to take a look at the App Store and see what kind of fun Halloween apps were out there to entertain her. I also had the kids I would be working with in mind when looking at the apps and trying to figure out what kind of fun things I would have in my bag of tricks for Halloween week. In addition to lots of fun craft ideas, I also have found some great apps that I can whip out this week. For any of you who are regular readers of my blog, you will know that the iPad is a tool that I use quite often in conjunction with all kinds of other techniques. I never use the iPad by itself and try and be sure to pair it up with a hands on activity to work on generalizing the skill. When possible and appropriate for a child's goals, I will have a kid play the iPad while lying prone on the net swing to work on increasing upper body strength. For older children who are struggling with developing a proper grasp, I try and use a stylus to encourage the development of a more mature grasp when holding writing instruments.
Sago Mini Monsters-children get to create their own colorful monsters...they can make a different monster each and every time they play the game. Perfect for children ages 2-4 years old but I guarantee like all of the other Sago Mini apps, the older children in your life will enjoy it as much. Some of the fun things you get to do with your very own monster is feed them a yummy treat, brush their giant teeth and color them in and decorate them.
One of the nice features of this app is that you can take a picture of the completed monster. I like this so I can share with parents what we worked on during our session and then talk to them about it with them later on. So many of my families would love to be able to come to sessions and see what's happening but can't so this is an easy way to involve them.
If you want to add a hands on/take home activity, have all kinds of monster bodies, eyes, ears, horns, teeth, etc. cut out and let the kids create a monster to take home.
Grandma Loves Bugs-this is actually an app that has been around for a while but has a fun update for Halloween. For a limited time, it is free so don't miss out on getting it!
It is an educational app that helps children (mostly under the age of 5) learn to spell, count and learn about bugs and creatures that live in the forest that they are exploring. Letter matching, identifying number groups and spot the difference are just a couple of the games you can play. In addition to educational games, there are a lot of mini games that keep the kids entertained. And right now, many of the mini games go along with a Halloween them. For example, catch the bugs from the mama's beak to feed the baby bird. Make sure you don't feed them any of the Halloween candy they throw down every once in a while. Or build a spider web and see how many bugs fly into it once it is completed. So many of these games are great for visual motor and visual perceptual skills.
Toca Boo-my iPad has been full of Toco Boca apps since they first started creating their awesome apps. In their newest Halloween themed app, Bonnie, a little girl, dresses up as a ghost ride before bedtime. She is sneaking around the house trying to scare her family as much as she can and she needs your help! As the player, you are responsible for exploring Bonnie's house and finding people to sneak up on a scare. You have to explore the whole house, including (but not limited to) under the Toca Boca apps, the visuals are fun and very kid friendly.
covers in bed, inside the toilet, behind furniture...nothing is out of the question as you explore the whole house. I think this app is great for working on improving focus and attentional skills and increasing language skills for preschoolers and school age children. Like all of the other apps, the graphics are kid friendly and motivating for kids. If you work with small groups of kids, this could be a really fun app to play to encourage team work as they navigate the house and figure out the best rooms to explore.
Go Away Big Green Monster-I have been reading this book to the kids I work with, and now my own daughter, for years. I was excited to see that it was an interactive book available for the iPad, especially this time of the year. The iPad version of the book is narrated by Ed Emberley, the author and illustrator of this longtime popular book. There are three different modes to the app: read along with a friend, read along with Ed (Emberley) or Sing Along as the app turns into a musical and animated experience. There is also an option to read the story yourself. I like this option to work on building awareness of colors and different parts of the body for my younger kids. The kids will love how they can interact with the story as they watch the monster react to them touching their body parts.
I love this book/app for so many reasons, but especially for the ability to take the book and turn it into a really fun and meaningful arts and craft activity after it is read. You can have all the different parts of the monster's face cut out and have the kids build their own monster to take home to share with their families. This is a great craft activity for children who need to work on improving body awareness.
As a bonus, have the kids "read" this while lying in the net swing to work on increasing upper extremity/neck strength. They will be so involved with the story that they will forget that they are actually working.
I hope you all have a wonderfully spooky and fun Halloween. Like I said earlier, there is nothing more exciting than getting to live all the holidays through the little monsters in your life. It's only Monday and the energy of the kids today was infectious. They are all ready for the big day on Friday! If you have any other great Halloween apps that you want to share with my readers, please feel free to email me and let me know and I will pass them along! I am always a click away and love learning from each and every one of you!