Apps for Learning
Apps can be a fun and motivating way for children to engage in fine motor, visual motor, and visual perceptual skills.
Caution should be exercised in the amount of time young children spend on apps even if they are educational. Research has shown that focusing on a screen frequently or for extended periods of time takes time away from large motor and small motor activities, which are critical to the development of motor , vision, and perceptual skills.
Listed below are a variety of apps and the skills they might address.
Cause and Effect
These apps help children learn that their actions can have a specific effect on the environment. They help to develop eye-hand coordination, finger isolation, and click and drag skills on the iPad.
- Fun Bubbles: Children tap to create and pop bubbles and drag to create multiple bubbles. Clicking and dragging cause fun visual and auditory effects!
- Sound Touch: Children click on a choice of specific objects (ex. Animals or vehicles) and a new screen opens up so they can see a picture of the object and hear the sound it makes.
- Easy Bake Treats: This app let’s your child bake, decorate, and eat delicious virtual cakes, cupcakes, cookies, cake pops, pizza and pretzels. A great way to develop click and drag and cause and effect skills.
- PlaySchool: This app lets your child explore a school and even pretend to be a teacher! A motivating way for your child to learn to accurately click and drag.
- PlayHome: It lets child play with various items in a play house, moving people and activating objects with the click of a finger.
These apps help children develop eye-hand coordination and visual perceptual skills as they identify similarities and differences between objects/letters/numbers.
- Tiny Hands Lotto: Teaches matching based on various themes including shapes, colors, clothes, animals and vehicles.
- Drag and Match: Children learn to click and drag to match related items.
- Match the Objects: Children learn to match an object to its outline, which helps promote visual perceptual skill development.
These activities teach children to group objects with similar properties, such as by color or size. This helps children develop problem solving and early math skills as they learn the same object can be sorted into a variety of categories.
- Tiny Hands Sorting: These apps help children learn to sort and classify by color, shape, seasons, vehicles, etc.
- Candy Count: A fun way to work on sorting colors, arranging numbers, counting, and comparing quantities. This app is for older preschoolers.
- Pick & Match: Children learn to sort objects by shape, size, color, and other attributes. Helps developing sorting and classification skills as well as problem solving.
These activities work on finger isolation, eye-hand coordination, and timing of movements to complete tasks.
- Button Board: This app works on matching and recognizing colors, eye-hand coordination, and fine motor skills as you click and drag buttons to make a picture.
- Cut the Buttons: This app targets finger isolation, timing, visual perceptual skills, and sequencing of movements as children work to cut buttons and make them fall into the cup below.
- Cut the Rope: This app targets eye-hand coordination, planning, and sequencing of movements as children attempt to slice a rope to feed a monster.
- Dexteria Jr.: This is a favorite app with three fun games targeting eye-hand coordination, pincer grasp, and early tracing skills in fun and engaging ways.
- Dexteria: This app for older preschoolers/elementary students promotes strength, control and dexterity with fine motor and writing activities.
- Dots: This app promotes eye-hand coordination and visual motor planning as children work to connect dots to complete a puzzle game.
These apps focus on teaching correct letter formations in fun ways. Try to have your child complete these activities while using a stylus to promote generalization to pencil/paper skills and help develop a mature pencil grasp.
- Letter School: This engaging app reinforces correct letter formations. Be sure to set the font to Handwriting Without Tears style.
- Wet Dry Try (Handwriting Without Tears): This app uses the Handwriting Without Tears font and virtual activities that are used in the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum used in the Shrewsbury Public Schools.
- Write My Name: Children can practice sequencing the letters in their name and correct letter formations. When they are done, they can hear their own recorded voice say their name!
- Ready to Print: This app, developed by an occupational therapist, incorporates a variety of activities working on pre-writing and early writing skills. Skills are presented in a sequential manner.
- Writing Wizard: This app shows and reinforces correct upper and lowercase letter , number, and word formations. You can create your own PDF worksheets to use with your child. It is easy to customize letter size and level of difficulty.
Puzzles are a great way to promote development of eye-hand coordination, fine motor control, visual perceptual skills, and problem solving skills. Puzzle apps are an engaging way to work on these skills.
- Animal Puzzles: Single inset piece and jigsaw style puzzles with various levels.
- Kumu Labs Animal Puzzle: Three levels of animal puzzles including farm, jungle, and sea creatures.
- Puzzles ‘N Coloring Sea Life: Sea life puzzles and coloring pages.
- M2H Game Studio Jigsaw Puzzles: Over 135 jigsaw puzzles with between 24 and 96 pieces and with a variety of themes.
- Merry Cubes HD: Three-dimensional cube fruit puzzles with two levels. Requires fine motor control and planning to rotate and turn the cube blocks.
- Shape Builder The Preschool Learning Puzzle Game: Easy to move shapes that snap into place on top of silhouette 5 to 10 piece puzzles. After positioning all of the pieces, the real image is revealed.
- Shape Puzzle Word Learning Game HD for Kids: A variety of 5-10 piece puzzles where the child slides shapes onto silhouettes.
- Paper Puzzle Kids 123: Six categories of animated puzzles with 60 pictures where the child slides puzzle pieces onto the matching part of a silhouette.
- Tangram Mania: Fun animation and sound effects as children place shapes into the correct position.
- Tangram Fun: This game targets visual perceptual and fine motor skills as children tap pieces to turn and position them correctly.
Visual perception is the brain’s ability to interpret what the eyes see. These apps focus on a variety of visual perceptual skills, including the ability to visually discriminate between different objects and find objects hidden in a complex background. These apps are for older preschool and elementary students.
- Highlights Countdown: 45 hidden pictures with six new pictures posted weekly.
- FlowFree: Connect matching colors on a grid with a line until the entire grid is filled in. Hundreds of increasingly complex levels and a variety of ways to play keep this game interesting.
- Lost in Letters: Hunt for letters hidden in a busy background.
- iOT Session: This app targets visual tracking, visual scanning, and eye-hand coordination skills as well as fine motor and sequencing/organizing abilities.
- Spatial Line Puzzles: This app targets visual motor and spatial skills as children copy dot grid designs and line grid designs onto a board next to a model.
- My Mosaic 2: This app helps promote eye-hand coordination and visual perceptual skill development as children work to copy a pictures made with colorful dots.
- Kodable: This app works on sequencing and visual tracking skills as children input a simple code to help a furry alien navigate a maze.
- Matrix Game 1: This game targets visual discrimination and spatial skills while also working on categorization and classification.
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