“I loved your article on iPad apps and have been using most of them with my child. Do you have any others that you use or recommend for young children?”

My column on iPad apps was a popular one! Apps can be a great way to work on a variety of speech and language skills. As always, I encourage play and social interactions more than technology; however, as a working mom, I know how difficult that can be some days. For those days when you need the help of technology, here are a few of my favorites:

  • CATEGORIES (by: I Can Do apps): This app can be used with very young children as well as older children because the tasks become more challenging as your child progress through the program. It includes five different levels of categorization that can help improve a child’s vocabulary, receptive language skills, expressive language skills and cognition. It helps children develop associations and connections between concepts using brightly colored pictures of objects.
  • Fun with Directions: This app was designed to strengthen language and listening skills with children of all ages. The app targets easy, intermediate and advanced directions that include colors, categories, location concepts, object function and size concepts. It includes a “Superstar Direction” which provides the opportunity to work on expressive language skills. The app tracks progress using data collection.
  • Toca Boca – ALL OF THEM: Toca Boca apps are fun for children of all ages. I love all of them but here are a few of my favorites:
    1. Toca Pet Doctor: This app is wonderful for improving vocabulary and turn-taking skills. It’s fun and very easy to use. The child has the opportunity to be the veterinarian and take care of different animals that are sick or have injuries that need attention.
    2. Toca Hair Salon 1 and 2: This app allows children to style a character’s hair using a variety of tools (e.g., scissors, hair dyes, razors, bows, magic grow formula, curling irons, etc.) It targets sequencing, vocabulary of verbs (wash, dry, cut, shave, grow) and adjectives (wet, dry, straight, curly, short, long), following directions and describing different feelings.
    3. Toca Kitchen 1 and 2: This app targets sequencing, vocabulary, narrative skills and pretend play. Children can verbally create narratives about each step of this fun-filled application. This app requires the child to consider preferences of the eater and is great for inference skills. It may prove helpful for those picky eaters as well.
  • My Play School: This app expands the “My Play Home” app into the classroom. Children can explore a life-like school by being the teacher or student, playing the piano in the auditorium or eating in the cafeteria. This app builds narrative skills, improves children’s ability to follow directions, improves their vocabulary and enhances imaginative play.
  • Cake Doodle (by: Shoe the Goose): Who doesn’t like cake? I’ve used this app with boys and girls of all ages. Cake Doodle offers 14 different cake recipes, 18 cake styles, 49 different colors, 74 icing tips and 142 decorations for children to choose from when making and decorating their cake. It targets sequencing, vocabulary, expressive language skills, receptive language skills and more. It is a great app for turn-taking with a peer.      

Enjoy and stay tuned for more of my favorite apps in upcoming articles!