June – Apps we love

Toca Boca: Toca Kitchen Monsters

Note: Toca Kitchen Monsters is the free version of Toca Kitchen which has more characters and ingredients

I read quite a few blogs, and a lot of SLPs are talking about Toca Boca apps. The kids love them because they are fun but I love them because of all the language that can take place. Here is what PrAACtical AAC  said:

  • joint action routine practice- can take different roles & predictable sequences
  • multiple choice making opportunities can choose characters as well as many aspects of the activity (foods, colors, hair accessories, spices, etc)
  • modified social story experiences or as we like to call it personal participation story experiences allows learners to have various illnesses, cook on hot stoves, eat foods, change hair colors; these are experiences that often can not be experienced on demand.
  • making abstract experiences more-concrete shows how things work that can not be seen typically during the experience (the stomach, tasting over spiced foods, etc)
  • providing focused opportunities to talk about past events – allows you to photograph ‘creations’ for later discussion, writing,
  • providing focused opportunities for commenting- the characters often give a specific photo comment as you take the picture (think paint my wings)
  • providing low stress learning- (for both learner and adult facilitator) there are no in-app purchases, no timing to complete activities, no win/loss scores, and no negative error messages
Here are some screen shots form some of my favourite moments:
   

Left picture: If you aren’t sure what to do with the food they’ll give you an idea..notice the monsters face  – do you think he likes lemons?

Right picture: what happens if you feed it to them. YUCK!

Left picture: Cooking fun. What happens to the mystery blue vegetable when you microwave it? What about when you boil it?

Right picture: What happens to the mystery blue veggy when you fry it?

What I’m learning is that apps like this belong in my “TherAPPy Toy Box” and then they are gold!

I luv Drawing (Series).

The step by step app started with Animals, and now the series includes Santa (Christmas items – free app), People, Dinosaurs, and Monsters. Since drawing people has always been my biggest struggle I’ll use this one for the examples, but they all work the same*

There are 3 index pages of images to choose from as well as a horizontal and vertical blank pages.

The app show you which lines to draw in blue, when you go to the next step the previous lines turn dark grey. At the end the trace lines all disappear.

You can draw in pencil or coloured crayon with choice of 3 widths. I use the pencil as it works for a border for the paint bucket.

When your drawing is done  you can paint or colour, add a background, and even stickers. Then save your drawing to the iPad’s photo library, the app’s drawing book, email or print (with air print).

My only criticism of this app is that when using this app in a structured way for teaching, the number of steps  varies per image, as well as the number of things/shapes to draw per step. There is no way to identify this except to go through each image. Therefore in a typical ABA program I likely wouldn’t recommend starting with this app when teaching step by step drawing.  However for advanced drawers and in the classroom this is a great way to expand your drawing skills!

*Animals is slightly different than the other apps in the series:

  • the trace lines are dashed.
  • these pictures use more classic shapes but then require you to erase lines at the end. The later apps use shapes that don’t require erasing.
  • Animals also has more detailed parts that are hard for even me to do accurately with the fine tip. Features are less detailed in the later apps
Please note that there is an HD version for each which is more expensive (the iPhone versions are often free) but the HD version is much clearer on the iPad. The iPhone version is very grainy when at 2x the size for the iPad.

Barnyard Dance – Book

I have spent many hours acting out this book to wide eyed children. The price tag of this app made me hesitate but my love of Sandra Boynton got me to purchase. I wasn’t sure if the app could be more fun than my crazy charades, but the jig music is just the start of how this book comes alive on the app.
It gets points right away for having both a read to me feature and when you read it yourself having the ‘tap to hear’ feature (where the reader can tap a word and it is spoken).
On each page the story and the animals come to life.
Here my pig bowed to the cow and on the right I twirled them around so now the animals are backwards!
These interactions add meaning to the text and add a whole pile of fun! Enjoy 🙂
I picked this free iPhone app to help out someone showing their house as it makes one of those photos where you can pan around a room. I discovered that while its great for selling homes it has a lot of potential for any other area you want a full view of.  This is great for talking about new places and recalling details. It’s also really fun to use to make pictures!
To use the app hold your device vertical and move slowly and as steadily as possible in a clockwise direction. The circle at the bottom shows how far you have to go to complete the 360. It takes a video as you record so when you view the picture, the longer you took to make it, the more detail there is in each section.
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