Friday, September 06, 2013

25 iPad apps (set #5) for children with special needs: developmental level K-1

SET #5, apps 23-25 and Books 1-19

Here are 25 teaching apps and 19 story book apps that I've installed for my 7 yr old daughter with Down syndrome and my 4 yr old typically developing daughter.

View Set #1 (and my criteria for "keeping" an app for my kids!) HERE:
Set #2
Set #3
Set #4

23. Early Learning Academy (Early...cademy)
by Age of Learning Inc(iPhone and iPad)  
FREE (BUT requires subscription to use- includes a small trial with two activities).
This app MUST have a subscription to the site in order to access the full content.  This app is much like the online content, and the "Learning Path" can be set up to start your child at the level you'd like them to start at (from early 3-yr old through end of kindergarten!).  You can set up your own lesson plans and other fun things online, and when a child goes from the PC version of this game to the iPad version, they can pick right up where they let off.  It's a Touch-Screen alternative to the computer version!  And with just one subscription for both access points, that's even better.
I wasn't going to include this in these app reviews, however my girls have both just taken off with this and really enjoyed it (though one of them is almost finished with the older content).  So, here it is... and we have a free subscription currently through our private school umbrella for homeschooling.

Cost is about $8/month, however there is a free 1 month subscription, and is FREE for all public and private schools at the moment, so you might consider asking your school if they will register and share the information so your child (and whole family!) can have access if you have a child in public or private school (don't forget private umbrella schools are still private schools!). Information about subscribing: 

Videos, books, coloring pages, songs, activities... there is a LOT to do on this app and online program!

Also, check out these two additional FREE apps, which are technically "books" but are interactive and teaching, so I am putting them in the app list instead.  

Search and Explore: Mount Rushmore (ABCmouse):
Search and Explore: The Grand Canyon (ABCmouse):

24. Fizzy's Lunch Lab Fresh pick (Fresh pick)
by PBS Kids(iPhone and iPad)  

What a FUN game! My "typical" 9 yr old created his own profile for this game, wanting to join in the fun as well!  Grocery mapping, buying groceries, neighborhood mapping, pantry hunt, fizzy's invention, customer change, "find Freddy", and a Food matcher are the challenges, and the funny characters, cute animation, and the 'game show feel' is a lot of fun! :)  Short videos transition between areas and explaim directions.  The language is a little above a k-1 child, but the activities are definitely do-able, especially with a parent nearby.  This works on narrowing down (like the old board game "guess who" as the image shows above.  

I think the game show feel is really what 'sells' this game, and the funny 'absent minded' professor that is the show host.  If you skip the videos, you may or may not know what's going on, but you can still play the games if you can read the directions.

This game also teaches left, right, up, down with the 'mapping' games, and my younger kids were still struggling to do those, but trying, trying, trying!

This is a fun and well made activity by PBS kids which I expect the kids will figure out and continue to enjoy more and more over time.

25. Special Words (Special Words)
by Special iApps(iPhone and iPad)  
Saving a great app for last-- and also the most expensive app I've ever spent the money on.  This app was made by an organization that I support, and based on research SPECIFICALLY for children with Down syndrome and visual learning.  This app is very easily customized- you can choose different modes- picture to picture, word to picture, picture to word, or word.  You can turn the spoken words on or off.  You can have it auto advance, and can even add your own pictures, cards, and voice recordings.  This app is the digital version of a long-used "paper based" program of a similar feel which was designed based on years of research.

From their website:  The words and pictures provided with Special Words are the same as those in the See and Learn Language and Reading resources from Down Syndrome Education International, and this app can be used to complement the use of their paper-based See and Learn activities."

This is an app worth purchasing if you have a struggling learner, a visual learner, and if your child is engaged by the "flashcard" approach to learning.  Our kids really enjoy it and have mastered many sight words through this approach!

Now for the books!  There are 19 storybooks which at the moment are "new to me" and either are interactive, teaching, and/or simple and easy to navigate.  Though there are 19 books, they will be clumped by type since when a company made one good book, they sometimes made three more just like it :)

1-3. Larry Lizard Books (Lazy Larry, Look Our Larry, Lost...Lizard)
by Wasabi Productions(iPhone and iPad)  
$2.99 each (I downloaded these during a promo and they were FREE)
Lazy Larry Lizard Bedtime Story Book:
Look Out Larry!  Animated Story Book:!-animated-story/id427064272?mt=8
Lost Larry Interactive Story Book:
I was a little disappointed to see that these are $2.99 each now, but really, I think I would consider purchasing them even for that.  These are great 'read to me' but also have interactive components.  Easily help Larry through the path by tracing a path, or to jump rocks by counting out the 7 rocks (must tap each in the right order).  Help him jump over a break in the cliff.  These stories highlight as they are read, the voice has intonation to it (not computerized), and it verbally tells the directions of what to do.  The child's "tap" is what activates the animation to 'wake up' Larry, or help him through the maze, or to jump, etc.  Wasabi has several great apps, and this set are the only ones on this specific review, but when I saw the name I knew they were one I'd enjoyed in the past as well.  

4. Ten Giggly Gorillas (Giggly Gorillas) 
by Wasabi
(iPhone and iPad)  
$2.99 (I downloaded this during a promotional when it was FREE)
These fun monkeys are the traditional "ten little monkeys" story, with the interactive element where you're supposed to listen to the clues and tickle the monkey- then they fall down!  But only if you pick the right one!  This is a fun interactive storybook, by the same makers of the Larry Lizard (and I understand there is now a "Gorilla Band" book out, which we've not purchased).  A fun book with a  Monkey Memory game at the end with the different storybook monkeys on the game cards.  A fun little story, and great for listening to directions to see WHICH monkey you're supposed to tickle!

5-14. Books
by Age of Learning Inc.(iPhone and iPad)  
Dan and Jan (Dan and Jan):
The Hen in the Pen (Hen in the Pen):
The Tortoise and the Hare (ABCmouse):
The Boy who Cried Wolf(ABCmouse):
Ham with Jam (Ham with Jam):
Big Pig Little Pig (Big Pig...le Pig):
Big Bug Little Bug (Big Bu...le Bug):
The Fox and the Stork (ABCmouse):
The Lion and the Mouse (ABCmouse):
To Run is Fun (To Run is Fun):
These FREE books are great!  They have some interaction, they can read in three different styles (read to me, read with pauses between pages, and child reads on their own).  There are also images at the bottom of each page.  You can 'pop' the picture out, See just the words and click to hear each word (as seen in green above), go to the 'parent tips' for each page, and change the settings.  I wish these weren't on EVERY page, but for a free book, it's not that big of a deal :).  The "brown" colored books  also have a "G" book at the bottom, which is a glossary.  It's only active for some of the pages, where it might be necessary.  These are Aesop's Fables books.  Each color book is a different 'series'.  Worth trying out, and no risk since they're FREE! *Though I've written most of these app reviews at night, I am doing the books during the day to finish off the series.  Lynae is sitting with me (almost 4 'typical' daughter) and she's asking that I please let her FINISH each book instead of flipping through them! :)

15-18. Fairy Tales by McGraw-Hill
(iPhone and iPad)  
Jack and the Beanstalk (Beanstalk):
The Little Red Hen (LittleRedHen):
Little Red Riding Hood (Riding Hood):
Country Mouse and City Mouse (Country & City):


These are simple books, but great stories and fun images with some slight animation and sound effects.  The two choices of "read to me" or "read it myself" are simple enough, and on each page you can tap each character to hear other little 'tidbits' in the stories.  Click either arrows or 'turned up corners' (depending on the book) to change the page.  These are great FREE books with classic stories!

19. Open, Wide, Snap (Open Wide) 
by Kid e-storybooks
(iPhone and iPad)  
$0.99 (I downloaded this during a promotional when it was FREE)
This is a nice long book, which is what caught my attention.  It also has a puzzle and a "Pairs" (concentration) game that you can play.  The story is fun and simple, the drawings are well done and consistent, and when you're on an iPad with constant input and changing from one thing to the next to the next, sometimes it's nice to be able to sit down and actually STAY STILL for a few minutes to read an entire little book!  This is a cute story of an alligator with a toothache, and it highlights the words as it reads to you, or you can read it to your child (or have another child read it to them!).  

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