Ten Giggly Gorillas (by Wasabi Productions) for the iPad
iWriteWords (Handwriting Game) (by gdiplus) for IOS devices
This app has been around for a while, but it has remained highly ranked by teachers and parents. I like iWriteWords because it uses simple dot-to-dots for teaching preschoolers how to form their letters correctly. I can guarantee your child’s kindergarten teacher will thank you for teaching your child proper letter formation. iWriteWords includes both upper and lowercase letters, and the drawings that accompany each one are actual children’s artwork. Don’t worry if your little one’s fingers are clumsy. The app is designed to accommodate a preschooler’s fine motor skills; I have used it successfully with children who have special needs, so I know that most children can be successful using it.
Studies have shown that apps which encourage language, problem-solving, and imagination are best for children this age. My advice to new iPad users is to purchase a few apps and try them out; don’t bombard your child with too much, too soon. It’s better to keep a wish list and add apps slowly, once you see which ones your child is still playing after two weeks.
Here are some other tips for first time iPad parents:
- The iPad belongs to you. It does NOT belong to your child, regardless of how much they use it.
- Talk about the “rules” with your children ahead of time. If they fight over it, or if they balk when it’s time to stop, that means they lose the privilege for the next day. Setting a timer may help.
- In general, preschoolers should not be using an iPad longer than 30 minutes a day, and not longer than 15 minutes at a time (except for special circumstances such as a waiting room, a long car ride, etc.) Eye strain from staring at a tablet is a real problem that doctors are just beginning to study.
- Children should enjoy a variety of activities each day- going outside, listening to stories, playing educational games on the iPad, and engaging in cooperative and imaginative play.
- I advocate a “No electronic devices at mealtimes” policy.
- Extra iPad time (up to 15 minutes) can be earned by doing special chores, doing well in school, or being kind and respectful at home. Surprise your child with a coupon for extra iPad play!
- Consider buying a protective case for your iPad. Also, invest in a protective screen covering. This won’t protect it from all damage, but it will pay for itself the first time the iPad survives being dropped on the floor.
Top Five Review by Julie Peterson, a speech/language pathologist (SLP) currently working in a school setting, serving children with special needs ages 6-14. Her iPad is her favorite therapy tool, and she is excited about new advances in both tablet technology and app design. Embossed on the back of her iPad is the saying, “My iPad, My rules”
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