One of my favorite activities in speech therapy is to use technology in our sessions. Children are often motivated by even the thought of the use of an iPad, and will participate in almost any task with the slight chance that they might have an opportunity to play on an iPad. What these little ones don't know, is that "play time" is also "work time" here at Sound. Apps can be some of the most effective, and fun, ways to approach treatment, especially when you go beyond the screen, interacting with the child and the apps they are playing with.
So how does this work? What can you do at home to use apps as a way of learning and interacting with others?
Take one of my favorite apps for children ages 1-5, Lazoo Zoo. This app at first glance looks like a scene from a book that interacts with you (e.g. animals swinging from trees, eating food, etc.). Now let's think of it as a tool to engage in communication. We can target almost ANY goal by interacting with the child with this app.
Let's click on the penguins! Now let's think about the goals we could tackle:
- Concepts: count the animals, name the colors, talk about the water (wet, cold),
- Expanded vocabulary: use verbs (splash, eat, squawk), make longer sentences (the penguins eat)
- Speech clarity: swipe through the foods, many of them are multi-syllables (e.g. pepperoni pizza)
- Sharing: take turns with your child feeding the animals, practicing a back and forth turn taking can help them learn and extend this concept to other activities/games
When you start looking at apps as interactive books, or activities that you can discuss with your child, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Here are some of my favorite apps to engage in play with little ones of all ages!
- Auditory Memory Quick Stories: a great way to practice listening and answering stories.
- Speech with Milo sequencing: helping little ones explore story telling by sequencing picture cards.
- Toca Boca Tea Party: a digital tea party! Target pronouns, verbs, sharing and more with this fun app.
- Toca Boca Hair Salon: get silly with colors, concepts (short/long) and verbs.
- My Playhouse: use the many items in the room to practice direction following and build language skills.
- Monkey Preschool Lunchbox: little learners LOVE this app! Answer questions and gather stickers.
- Articulation Station: an app that makes articulation practice fun!
Have fun, and send your favorite apps my way!