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StoryToys Hungry Caterpillar Play School

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is one of the most beloved stories for preschoolers. It portrays the ability to transform or change who we are and what we can become. StoryToys Entertainment Limited has retained the magic of the book by empowering children to seek out and explore early learning concepts in their app: Hungry Caterpillar Play School. The app currently coincides with international early learning standards and objectives for Preschoolers and contains an introduction to help parents learn how to use the app for the benefit of their children. What makes Hungry Caterpillar Play School so stellar is that the content is continually evolving to stay on top of current evidence-based practices in learning. It is a subscription-based service that can be bought on a monthly or yearly basis. Let’s take a peek inside and see what makes this the first choice for parents.

 

INSIDE THE APP

There are 5 components to explore each with corresponding songs and activities. By mixing songs, movement and activities, children are continually receiving a variety of sensory input to attend and complete the sections of the curriculum. One of the things I had not recognized when previewing the app before playing with kids is that they audio was designed to help kids remain calm and focused. Although the music is looped, it does not become repetitive as much as it helps to settle and ground children within the activity. Below are the sections that your little one can select.

 

Colors, Shapes, and Puzzles (Spatial Relationships)

Letter Recognition (both upper and lowercase), Early Tracing, and Name Recognition Activities

Early Math and Pattern Recognition

Books and Stories to both Listen and attempt to recognize words for Beginning to Read. At the beginning to Read section, once children recognize that letters form words they can tap on a word to hear it sound out.

Creativity and Art Center – which allows kids to create their own masterpieces – just like Eric Carle!

 

A secret center lies in the midst of every selection page. And that is the magnificent array of balls that appear on the screen! They can be counted, sorted, and thrown to one own’s heart delight. I love how kids can be drawn into not only the sheer beauty of color but also learn about the natural world by directly applying some of the concepts they are learning too.

IN SUMMARY

We at Bluebee love this app for its eloquence and its ability to readily engage children. The app is patient and inviting. If a wrong answer is played, the app quietly waits for correction. The subtle message to persist is present by being non-judgmental. Younger children love “doing homework” like their siblings, and we can’t think of a better app to begin their lifelong journey of learning. Bluebee loves to read the stories, sing songs, and sound out letters. Watch him sing the penguin song!!

 

Mindfulness Beginning Training with Bluebee Pals

Mindfulness is an essential skill for kids to be successful learners. But what exactly is mindfulness and why is there such a fuss in teaching mindfulness to young children? Mindfulness is simply paying attention to the present moment and allowing all thoughts and feelings to occur without necessarily taking action. This ability to stop helps to reset and reorganize the body’s systems and is tied in with the ability to self-regulate and self-calm. The present overstimulating and rushed pacing of today’s world lends itself to disorganization. Disorganized kids usually have difficulty with attention, managing needed tools, and completing tasks. Calm kids can focus on the task at hand, see their options, and make better choices.

 

 

Kids don’t always need to sit or be still to practice mindfulness. Yoga or other rhythmic movements (rocking or swinging) done in coordination with the breath can also be practiced.

 

 

 


Here are a few apps that Bluebee loves for beginning lessons in mindfulness:

 

One of the best introductions to mindfulness training for young children is Stop Breathe Think with Sesame Street. Although the app does not support Bluetooth technology and cannot be played through a Bluebee Pal, by having a child hold Bluebee while playing they will receive valuable body input in learning to calm. By hugging Bluebee children will not only benefit from emotional support but also receive nice deep pressure hugs that will help a child focus and calm when viewing the app. The app contains 5 vignettes that are stressful to young children and the stories are all told with vocabulary that is familiar to a young child. In the app, children help a little monster apply strategies to cope with everyday struggles. It’s very reinforcing to help the little monster and it facilitates the desire to try the techniques within Stop, Breathe, Think.

 

Super Stretch Yoga is a classic app for teaching mindfulness of body. Using storytelling and video, kids learn to imitate motor acts that coordinate with the breath to quiet and focus. In the Adventures of Super Stretch, the emphasis is on trying and being in the present moment and not on perfection. This is a subtle but wonderful message for kids to begin to understand. The app contains 12 poses  that are modeled through both animation and viewing real kids doing the poses. The app is free and there are tangible additions such as flashcards and books that can be purchased through the website: www.adventuresofsuperstretch.com. Try having your child teach Bluebee the Poses for some extra fun.

 

For a more traditional app for meditation, check out Mindfulness for Children. It contains 5 guided meditations and 4 meditations that serve as stories in helping kids to relax in order to go to sleep. Most of the meditations include a body scanning component that serves as a ground or central point of focus. This helps kids stay centered so as to increase awareness of both body and mind. In addition, With this app, Bluebee can act as a facilitator for mindfulness and the screen can be put aside. With Bluebee whispering in your child’s ear, what better way to let go of the day’s struggles and challenges.

Speech Blubs App Meets Bluebee Pal Pro

Speech Blubs is a comprehensive speech therapy app that targets both assessment and treatment for children with speech and language delays and disorders. Once you download this free app, the assessment screens pops up and begins navigating you through a short screening process. The screening includes questions that address various aspects of language including: pragmatics (with various questions), hearing, play, comprehension, and talking. Once you are finished answering the quick screening, Speech Blubs sends an email with a pdf to your email so it can be easily shared with a therapist, teacher, etc. This quick assessment does not replace a speech and language assessment though. This is just a quick screening that can be a useful tool for a parent or shared with an SLP. Additionally, the app does not replace speech therapy! However, this app can be used in conjunction with speech and language therapy and can be wonderful tool for carryover.

 

This free app is a speech production app that targets early sounds, outdoor wonders, guess the sound, guess the word, numbers, family names, sing along, get into shapes, living colors, animal kingdom, ride your wheels (words for transportation), when I grow up (community helpers words), this is my body, yummy time (names of foods and drinks), first words, and mouth gym (speech therapy practices). It’s a fun and engaging app that keep your child engaged while working on specific speech production exercises. I also like how Speech Blubs also targets specific receptive tasks and takes into the account the power of using another child as a motivator through all speech exercises.

Once downloaded, you can activate your free 7-day trial and then opt for a subscription that costs $9.99. However, the app offers specials throughout the month that may reduce the cost. 

When reviewing this app on my blog, I asked Jerry, CEO of Speech Blubs some questions about his app. To read the interview, click here. To learn more about this app, click here.

Now that you know all about Speech Blubs, how can you use Bluebee Pal Pro to help with speech and language goals?

  1. Since one of the wonderful things about this app is that a child can watch the child’s mouth move on the screen it is suggested that the child first watch the sounds being made directly on the screen. For example, when choosing “Early Sounds” choose Monkey and make a “oo-oo” sounds like a Monkey. Once hooked up with Bluebee Pal such as Parker the Monkey, he can make a monkey sound! Record your own voice and Bluebee Pal will make your child’s monkey noise! 
  2. You can connect Bluebee Pal and have a child alternate between listening to sounds coming right from the device with the sound and words coming from the Bluebee Pal. This can help with carryover as well and it can be a way to practice the sounds. For example, when practicing a roar for a lion, Leo the Bluebee Pal lion would be perfect to practice that roar with!
  3. I think there are certain sections of the Speech Blubs app that work well with the Bluebee Pal Pro such as Sing Along and Guess the Word. Be creative with using Bluebee Pal! Given the flexiblilty of Speech Blubs and versatile nature of the Bluebee Pal, this interactive activity can add a nice engagement and carryover piece if used in the most optimal way! 

Are you looking for more speech production apps to use with Bluebee Pal? Check out Sayin It Sam here.

 

 

Bluebee Pal and Say it Sam Speech App

Sayin It Sam is a unique speech therapy app that was created by a hard working and dedicated mother, Nea Handscomb who wanted to create an app that would help children who struggle with speech production. The app has some wonderful features and is free!  When you start the game you have two free choices and then four locked choices that you can purchase via in app purchase for $1.99 each. The free choices include shapes and colors. When you activate the buttons, a young child’s voice named Sam says “Let’s play!” The next direction is to “say a color”. If you try to press on the shapes, nothing happens. It’s only activated by speech production which is ideal.

Throughout the game, a child is asked “What color is it?” throughout each category and after your child verbalizes the color, something happens (e.g. bird flies, balloon pops, dog barks, etc.) Throughout the game, your child will get words of praise to help encourage speech production. The app is colorful but not overstimulating which is ideal for many different types of populations including children with autism, sensory processing disorders, apraxia of speech and those children with speech and language delays.

This app is ideal to be used in a quiet environment where there is not too much extraneous noise around you. This is an ideal app to use at home or in a pull out therapy session. To learn more about Sayin It Sam app, visit her website here.

 

Let Bluebee Pal join the fun! -Say it Sam App
  1. Connect Bluebee Pal Pro to your Bluetooth on your device.
  2. With Bluebee by your side, your child will get encouragement from Bluebee Pal! Bluebee Pal Pro can also help give instructions to your child, which will in turn work on one step directives.
  3. Bluebee Pal Pro will also be asking “wh” questions such as “What color is it?” if connected which can also help target answer “what” questions. Bluebee Pal is fun and effortless in connecting so let Bluebee Pal help meet those speech production goals with you! 

Are you looking for more speech production apps? Check out Speech Blubs review here with tips on how to use Bluebee Pal with this app.

The Town Musicians of Bremen – a Tale of Respect and Dignity


The Town Musicians of Bremenis based on the illustrated storybook by Lev Kaplan. Originally a Grimm’s Fairy Tale, the author and illustrator pay tribute to the classic tale of four outcast and older animals seeking a new life as musicians. After traveling for a period, they grew weary and soon found an inn that had everything they needed for the night. But Alas, the inn was full of robbers and thieves. Although old, this quartet of a donkey, dog, cat, and rooster are crafty and smart – repeatedly outwitting robbers and thieves in acquiring a new home. I love the subtle message and moral to the story that despite displacement and loss, that we can triumph by teaming with others to open new doors. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/town-musicians-of-bremen/id1336152826?mt=8

 

The  App is visually stunning and rich in detail harking back to an era where imagination was king. The surrealistic landscape of the illustrations makes this a perfect bedtime story. Each page is filled with compositions using musical instruments in the landscape giving rise to spontaneous games of identification of objects out of context. I loved the mouse dressed in a jester’s finery on the page giving little ones a chance to scan and search to find him.

The story is just right regarding length for preschoolers and lends itself to a host of activities to pursue with Bluebee. Although it veers from the traditional story where the animals return home. It has a happy ending.

Here are a few ideas for activities and or lessons to pursue with Bluebee: 

  • Explore making music with either apps or musical instruments – Bluebee loves to sing!
  • Have a Parade with Bluebee leading other stuffies accompanied by a cacophony of animal sounds
  • Beginning teachings of respect for others and the value of teamwork
  • Believing in yourself and what makes us special – Bluebee can exclaim the strengths of your child either through the voice recording in the Bluebee app or a phone

 

Bee – 123 Kids Fun is an Eco Friendly App

Bee – 123 Kids Fun by RosMedia is a delightful eco-friendly app that takes a look at the life of bees and other pollinators. With the onset of Spring, it’s perfect for displaying the interconnection of all living things. Also, carefully placed within the narrative are typical pre-school activities to help develop the following direction, spatial relations, and visual-motor coordination activities. The pace is slightly slowed to allow time for processing the content and success in completing tasks. By providing the “just right challenge,” kids will continue to be motivated and confident, and thereby reinforce learning

 

 

Bluebee loves teaching children about the natural world, and there is much to discover with Bluebee as your guide. The Bee – 123 Kids Fun App is comprised of 4 units:

  • The life and function of bees in the production of honey and in growing food
  • Other pollinators and the importance of using safe products in gardens to protect pollinators
  • What it means to be an organic food
  • Actions that support the life of pollinators and the ecosystem

 

On opening the app, children first create a hive and a honeycomb frame to house their bees. To make the hive and honeycomb, kids must match shapes in a puzzle form. Each new task in-turn develops not only early learning skills, but also informs kids about the lifespan and function of all the bees within a hive – queen bee, drones, hive guards, nectar collectors, and forager bees. Games include shape puzzles, visual-motor coordination, sorting and matching games, and mazes to name a few. I do wish, however, that the game for the hive guards was not a boxing match with bee predators. Perhaps a game where kids must deflect moving predators by blocking access to the hive may be less aggressive.  In other units, the importance of pollinators in the production of food is stressed and how to differentiate between organic and non-organic foods. There is a brief message encouraging kids to become more aware of the responsibilities we all share in supporting our ecosystem. It is commendable that RosMedia wishes to instill the notion of responsibility and awareness at a young age so that children can form habits of mindfulness in their everyday actions and how it affects other living beings.

Bee – 123 Kids Fun would be a fun app for introducing environmental responsibility or modules about how foods are grown or insect helpers. The artwork is bright with a sense of humor, and content is always delivered on point to a pre-schoolers developmental level.

 

Keeping Curiosity Alive During the Summer

Last week we learned about preventing summer slide – that inevitable decline of retaining skills when not in use. Now that summer has firmly set in, how do you continue to keep that sense of curiosity alive and open to discovering new experiences? How do we make what the kids have learned applicable so that material is not only used but generalized to new situations?

 

  One way is to provide challenges in everyday activities – such as going to the grocery store or while in the park. Gratefully Bluebee Pals has a few ideas to help you along – and don’t forget Bluebee – he or she is always up for adventure and will cheer your child on every step of the way! https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/
Sammy The Bear - Bluebee Pals Riley The Zebra - Bluebee Pals

 

 

 

 

 

Family fun apps we’ve found to get you started during the summer:

Outdoor Family Fun with Plum by PBS Kids unlocks daily missions for the whole family or choose between taking photos, counting things or a scavenger hunt. The ideas are downright genius and range from taking photos of light filtering through leaves to counting dogs in cars. These tasks not only challenge kids to think and reach out with their senses but also bring the relevance of science, art, and math to the world around us. This app is available for both the iPhone and iPad but perhaps is easier to manage on the iPhone. After a mission is complete – try making a mini-movie about your experiences with apps such as Clips from Apple® with Bluebee as the star!

 

Star Walk Kids: Astronomy Game by Vito Technologies is a fantastic app for exploring the night sky. It’s a great way to create memories of a long and lazy night when families are out and about. Even though the content is a bit above the age group that makes Bluebee popular, it still has relevance. Who has not pointed to the moon when holding a young child or taught the song “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to tots? Sometimes simply exposing young children to information may plant a seed that will be sparked in years to come. I like this app for the very fact that the child or adult controls exposure to the content. I would recommend playing this game in its entirety before playing with kids to make the app accessible at a child’s own level.

 

Go Noodle by GoNoodle Inc. is an extraordinary app chock-full of movement ideas and videos for the whole family. There is an update for summer – GoNoodle GoSummer that has movement or brain breaks that have a summertime vibe. The videos are over the top silly sensations that bring an infectious smile and giggles for all and develop not only movement skills but cognition skills as well. There are mixes that match the time of day, mood, and activity that are led by a diverse set of characters from a dancing hot dog to someone that looks like the neighbors down the street. This is a must-have app for year-long activity.

 

 

 

 

 

Avoiding Summer Slide with Bluebee Pals

Now that your kids have had a few weeks to enjoy the onset of summer, it’s time to tap into learning activities to prevent the dreaded “Summer Slide”. The phenomenon known as “Summer Slide” where kids lose skills over prolonged breaks is not an urban myth, but something that has been validated in research. Summer Slide is not limited to kids of school age, but can also be seen in preschoolers. Summer learning activities don’t necessarily need to be heavy handed. Activities of high interest can be tailored to maintain skills too.

 

 


 

 

 

With a little help from Bluebee Pals, kids can remain curious about discovering new interest areas and put to use those skills they’ve acquired throughout the year. Pairing learning activities with actual experiences is one way to gather and retain information. Who doesn’t like a field trip? In this first in a series, we will provide you with ideas of how to keep learning fresh with Bluebee Pals. https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/

 


Summer Slide: Going to a beach whether it’s the ocean or a lake is always a family favorite. Here are a few apps to play if you are headed to the beach: 

 

 

 

Grandma’s Beach Fun by Fairlady Media is loaded with educational games and videos. There are 7 different activities and 3 interactive extras to explore. Identifying what items are needed to take to the beach, beach art, and math and literacy games with a beach theme will help sharpen thinking skills, as well as help kids, plan out what to do on vacation. I love this app for an introduction to what goes on at the beach and what to expect.

 

Marco Polo Ocean is an excellent choice when exploring the ocean. This app combines a sandbox full of activities that serve as your child’s personal oceanic encyclopedia. Fun begins with a puzzle that examines sea life, boats and submersibles. What sets these puzzles apart are the fact that they are accompanied with a narrative describing the function and parts to each item. Once done, completed puzzles are thrown out in the water where kids can design their own oceanic landscape from the shore to the deep-sea floor. Moving the items around in their environments gives you a peek into how the sea animals interact and behave.

 

Just Grandma and Me the classic book by Mercer Meyer is one of the most endearing stories about summer fun. The story shares Little Critter’s adventures with Grandma at the beach. It facilitates language development through highlighted narration, words and pictures that can be tapped to reveal pronunciation, and the opportunity to record parents (or grandma) reading the book to their kids.

 

 

 

 

Preventing the Summer Slide with Bluebee Pal

Prevent summer slide with Bluebee Pal! It’s summer and time to play outside and be free! Summer can be a wonderful time for both children and adults to relax and be engaged in a variety of unstructured tasks. However, with all of that time off, it can also be a time for children to regress with their speech, language and reading without some intermittent instruction from caregivers or educators.

 

What is the summer slide? The summer slide refers to the loss of achievement gains from the past school year. Summer slide is normal for children but with children with special needs we have to be even more conscious about this regression. How can we prevent this summer slide? Exposing your child to language and literacy in a fun and engaging task can help.

To learn more about the summer slide, click here.                             

 

 

 

 

 

Six apps that help your child engage in various learning apps!

 

Phonics Genius app is an excellent app to improve your child’s ability to learn phonics!  The free app contains over 6,000 words and combines audio, voice and written words together. The words are grouped by phonics and support three unique learning modes.  This includes the following; play audio automatically and proceed to next card on click or hear audio only on click and move back and forth one word at a time by swiping left or right. To see the full review, click here.

 

 

Clicker Books is a book making app that helps supports students with varying abilities. The app includes speech support which helps students to review and self monitor what they have written within the Clicker Book app. You have the option of creating your own book, using a sample book or editing your own book. Within each sample story, you have the option to “read”, “talk”, “write” or “illustrate”. Clicker’s “SoundShift” button allows students to listen to any word on the page, or in the word predictor, or spell checker. Inside the Clicker Books App, there is also word predictor that helps suggest words that fit within the context of the student’s writing (for example, if you type “drink” words related to beverages would be proposed). To see the full review, click here.

Letter school is an app that can help your child write the letters of the alphabet. This app can make handwriting easier by providing the child with motivating and supportive stimuli with appropriate cues. For each letter, your child will learn the letter name, sound and a word that it begins with. Tap, Trace, and Name each letter when using Letter School. The app also includes lowercase letters and numbers 1-10. The app can also help with eye hand coordination and can help build a foundation for literacy and numeracy. To read the full review, click here. 

 

endless alphabet app Kids will have a blast learning their ABC’s and building vocabulary with the adorable monsters in Endless Alphabet. Each word features an interactive puzzle game with talking letters and a short animation illustrating the definition. Before you know it, your child will be using words like gargantuan and cooperate! Encourage your child to improve their literacy, spelling and vocabulary skills with Endless Alphabet App. Endless Alphabet app is an engaging and educational app that will help your child learn and have fun at the same time. As your child opens the Endless Alphabet App, they can swipe through up to 70 choices of words to explore. To read the full review, click here.

 

Create stories of your summer memories! Make a story about visiting the pool or your summer vacation. This can be used to elicit conversation and recall events when your child returns to the school in the Fall. It can also be used to help your child create sentences and work on literacy and language skills. Pictello is a versatile app that can be used to create stories with using photos, short video clips and text. This app has the ability to use both synthesized and digitized speech. The app also gives you the ability to share easily with others is user friendly to set up. Pictello also has the option to use many different language and accents which can be an excellent feature for many individuals. When creating a story, choose between Wizard or Expert depending on how much support you need. Name your story and then choose your voice, transition feature and filling out the “About Me” section. To see the full review, click here.

 

The Bluebee pal App is a free educational and interactive app which can bring your Bluebee Pal to life! Don’t have a Bluebee Pal? No problem! This free app can be used without a Bluebee Pal. The Bluebee Pal App incorporates choice making and engagement when interacting with the app. It features five different rooms with specific tasks. Within each room, your child’s chosen Bluebee Pal can interact with varying activities, such as in the kitchen scene. Bluebee Pal can eat various foods, drink, and access different appliances and objects in the kitchen like the refrigerator, oven, mixer, water bottle, etc. During these scenes, your child will also learn different routines in the kitchen and can target specific goals listed below. The app also includes free mini-games that target language, literacy, matching, inferencing skills and imaginative play. To see the full review of this app and targeted 10 language and learning goals, click here.

The Magic of Reading with Bluebee Pals

One of the best features of the Bluebee Pal is its ability to suspend reality and bring the written word alive in a book. We all know that reading is one of the best ways to engage our children in interactive play and it also gives them an edge up on learning. Current research shows that babies benefit tremendously from listening to stories, and the earlier this routine is established, the better. By reading to Baby, he or she begins to pick up the nuances of language, its sequence, and structure. Most important of all, however, are the bonds that deepen because of shared experiences through stories. Stories inspire, they make us laugh, and they also tell us what to do. Reading stories with diverse characters informs kids of not only the experience of others but also to appreciate the idea of how family traditions across cultures may, on the one hand, be different but are so very much the same. All parents love their children and want them to succeed.

 

Joint attention is the cornerstone of communication. Joint attention is the ability to share experiences and to acknowledge another person as a witness. It can be as simple as pointing to a plane with a quick glance to see if the other person notices or sharing a laugh at funny faces. And it is through joint attention that the ability to imitate emerges and is strengthened. Books for early learners that can be used with Bluebee include hardback books, audio books, a combination of the two, or a digital version via a phone or tablet.

 

 

One of the most overlooked features to using Bluebee is using a phone or a voice recording app. Parents with jobs that keep them away from home may love phoning in, to read a story or may like the convenience of a voice recording app to record a book. Often when recording a familiar tale, try leaving off a keyword and see if your child throws it in at the correct time. This will help synchronize memory, comprehension, and communicative intent. 

Another lesson from reading books is the ability to wait and listen. Once the sequence of a story is established, welcoming kids to interrupt, stop and ask questions, and ponder what if…allows for the imagination to take flight. I love when kids both anticipate and then try to come up with alternative twists within a familiar book. https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/

 

 

Here are a few resources for great story finds. Remember to use the Bluebee app for any further questions on the use of its features. We would also love to hear from you, what stories do you like? What are your kids responding to?… and until then sweet play in the land of make-believe and crossing that bridge of the possibilities of imagination.

Goodnight Moon – the classic book by Magaret Wise Brown is ripe for learning the labels of common household items. This classic book can be found on almost any digital format. I do love having the book in conjunction as many kids will “read” the book to themselves, and sharing that recitation is priceless. In my clinical practice, I use this book every week.

Podcasts are also invaluable to a reading experience. Nosy Crow’s Stories Aloud series have narrations to many of their published books. I love these podcasts in that they teach children to wait and listen for auditory cues to turn the page. Thus pairing the storyline with the written material.

Oceanhouse Media has a catalog of children’s favorites from Dr. Suess to nonfiction books by the Smithsonian Institute. They are one of my go-to developers when searching for books.

For Social-Emotional Lessons, you can’t fair better than Peppy Pals. These books for preschoolers are engaging and invite discussion. They are magically matched to a young child’s attention span.

Pairing a book with audio versions (audio versions of books can be purchased on Amazon, or a book can be read by yourself through the voice recorder on the Bluebee Pals App is sure to make cherished memories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluebee Pals to Establish Bedtime Routines Part 2


Transitions are difficult for all of us. Kids especially become more tense and apprehensive when needing to shift gears. Why? Because transitions disrupt the status quo and are an unknown factor of what to expect and what to do. Many children become rigid with a need to have a say or control events surrounding every transition throughout the day. These behaviors can be exhausting for both a parent and child. Using Bluebee for teaching and establishing bedtime routines is a win-win situation as it takes you out of the mix and may help the child initiate the ability to shift along with Bluebee. There is no need for a screen because of Bluebee’s mixed capabilities and functions. In Part one we went over things to consider when designing a bedtime regime for your family. Now let’s take a look at Bluebee, and how he/she can be used with your child.

 

 

Here are six ideas for Bedtime routines:  



  1. Practice Bedtime routines with Bluebee. Tuck him in, read a story, and give him a kiss good-night. Through play, kids begin to learn and anticipate what is going to come next. Young children have a blurred line between reality and fantasy, so watching Bluebee’s reaction may help them begin to imitate what to do. Be sure and go over how to fall asleep as well as any exceptions to the rules, i.e., Let Bluebee know that he/she can have three books read before lights out, but if he/she feels unwell to please call Mommy.
  2. Using the phone feature may bring about realistic responses to tough situations – by having your partner call and talk to Bluebee, you can discuss any ongoing fear or anxieties a child may have. Having that common thread with Bluebee may help a child not feel so isolated or alone.
  3. Children need to feel safe, and who better than Bluebee can give that reassurance all night long? Deep pressure squeezes and hugs help to release important neurotransmitters that can reset or organize our systems. This, in turn, can help us return to sleep if awakened during the night.
  4. Try syncing a playlist of soothing songs or lullabies to Bluebee. There are many soundtracks for sleep sounds such as a babbling brook, rain or meditative sounds. Pairing Bluebee with an Amazon Echo Plus or Echo Dot is easy. Amazon has many apps for Alexa to aid in relaxing and preparing for sleep. Search Sleep Sounds under Amazon Skills for possible selections.
  5. Sleep Stories are stories (really guided imagery) to help kids or adults to fall asleep. The app “Calm” has sleep stories and music for both kids and adults. It uses highly suggestive words such as slow, relaxed and lowers the volume and pacing of the stories gradually to help fall asleep.
  6. Podcasts also are great to use with Bluebee. Some podcasts can read books where a child can follow along, and some tell stories. Both improve listening skills and increase vocabulary by expanding the context of how both familiar and unfamiliar words are used.

https://www.bluebeepals.com

 

Storynory Podcast

Nosy Crow
Stories Aloud

Stories Podcast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bedtime Routine and Bluebee Pals to Establish Part 1

Are you having difficulty with getting your children to settle at bedtime? Are they restless or looking for “one more” reason to get out of bed after lights off? Using Bluebee as part of your child’s bedtime routine can set up invaluable habits for good sleep hygiene. What’s that? Sleep hygiene is a set of routines or habits that establish a smooth transition to sleep well. Kids that have consistent routines can recognize that it is bedtime. They then begin to anticipate what is coming next and relax. Kids that don’t have established routines often barter or attempt to control transitions in attempts to decrease the stress of what’s to come because they don’t know what to do.

 

We all know that a good night’s sleep prepares you both mentally and physically for the day. But how do you not only prepare your kids as well as yourself for a good night’s sleep? As stated above, establishing a consistent routine is essential. Consistent does not have to be the exact same thing, i.e. When my oldest was just a baby; I used to read him the book Ducky Quack Quack every night. I read it to the point where I just couldn’t read it anymore. I didn’t give a hoot if Ducky quacked or not! And so, on the night I rebelled, my son would not go to sleep. I asked my husband, “What’s wrong?” and his response? “No Ducky Quack Quack”. I realized then; I had painted myself into a corner by not just reading a book but by reading the same book every time interfered with teaching good sleep habits.

 

Here are some suggestions, including using Bluebee to help set everyone up for some quality shut-eye: https://www.bluebeepals.com/parents/

  1. Make sure everyone in the family participates in some form of movement every day. Whether it is playing on a playground, dancing to oldies, or walking the dog putting some exercise in the day will help everyone sleep better. Exercise not only does your body good but improves sleep too. Although the rationale is not fully understood, regular physical movement promotes quality sleep, length of rest, and may reduce the stresses that may make your sleep restless.
  2. Establish a consistent routine – about 2 hours before bedtime. Announce its time to start getting ready for bed.
  3. Exposure to natural light helps the body naturally sync to the time of day. Daylight and the onset of darkness set up one’s own circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle. Begin by reducing or limiting screen time at night to allow the body to adjust to the time of day naturally. Some devices can be set to help reduce exposure to blue lighting for specified hours.
  4. Avoid heavy foods or carbonated drinks. These just become unsettling in tummies before lying down. Eating late at night may also establish an unhealthy routine and weight gain that prolongs going to sleep.
  5. Taking a bath or reading a book, are peaceful, quiet time activities that promote relaxation. While a warm bath fosters sleepiness, listening to a story has many benefits for both better sleep and healthier brains.

 

We will discuss how to use Bluebee in part two for healthier sleep and to promote better synchronization between the body’s systems.

 

 

Speech Apps to Use at Home with Bluebee Pal

Are you looking for some fun and user-friendly speech apps to try at home with your Bluebee Pal? As an app reviewer, I have reviewed many apps that are easy to use for parents at home to help facilitate speech and language. To see all of my app reviews, click here. I have reviewed many speech and language apps as well as AAC apps.

 

These apps can span many years and target various speech and language goals. For example, Actions in Video can help build longer sentences with a verbal individual and help an AAC user learn to combine symbols and create more grammatically correct sentences on their talker. Below are some excellent early learning and speech apps to try with your Bluebee Pal at home

 

The Eli Explorer App was created by early childhood experts designed to encourage kids to explore while learning. This app helps facilitate language and learning in a fun educational and interactive way. When you open the app, press play and then see Eli sleeping! How do you wake her up? Press on Eli, and she is ready for an adventure. Take your finger and help guide Eli through a fun and stimulating journey through different scenes. To read the full review with tips for parents, click here.

 

Create a social story with Pictello and make Bluebee Pal the reader of the story! Pictello is a versatile app that can be used to create stories with using photos, short video clips, and text. This app can use both synthesized and digitized speech. The app also gives you the ability to share easily with others is user-friendly to set up. Pictello also has the option to use many different languages and accents, which can be an excellent feature for many individuals. To read the full review and how to implement this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.

 

 

SymbolSupport App is an editing program that allows you to add symbols to your text, while SymbolReader is a free app that displays these symbolized documents. Both apps read the documents with a high-quality text-to-speech voice and word-by-word highlighting. The apps are compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. To read the full review and learn how to implement this app with the Bluebee Pal, click here.

 

 

Actions in Video is a functional app that was created by Geraldine Moran, speech-language pathologist to help individuals with complex communication needs build sentences for communication. This app can be used successfully with both individuals with speech and language disabilities as well as younger children learning how to combine words into sentences. Actions in Video is an app “that teaches a person to understand and use action words through the use of videos.” To learn more about how to implement this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.

 

Wh Questions: Why? Speech and Education Cards is an app that was created by speech-language pathologists and contains professional illustrations and scenes with educational content. The app includes 30 scenes which give you at least 30 different opportunities for answering 30 “why” questions. The app is free but only includes a select amount of pictures. To buy the additional set, an in-app purchase is available. Bluebee Pals motivate kids for the Why questions. This app is appropriate for both children who are typical ages 3 and up and can also benefit those individuals with speech and language disorders and delays. Since the questions are read to the reader (as an option in the setting), no reading is required to use the app functionally. The goals that the authors target with this app are the following: Cause and Effect Relationship, Receptive and Expressive Language Skills, Naming Actions and Describing Situations, Answering Wh Questions, Making Logical Conclusions and Reasoning by Using Hints and Creative Thinking. To learn how to implement this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.

Are you looking for more apps? Check out Bluebee Pal App and learn how to facilitate language and learning with this fun, free and versatile app!

 

 

 

 

The Three Little Pigs by Nosy Crow’s Stories Aloud Series

Nosy Crow makes some of the best interactive storybooks and apps in the industry. Always innovative, smart, and fun to read stories for both parents and tots, they also offer audio recordings of their published books. Their Stories Aloud series can be obtained for iOS or Android as a podcast or by scanning a QR code found on the inside cover of the paperback edition of their books.
As I have a few hardback books from this publisher, it was a snap to search through the available podcasts to see if reading was in their catalog. On iOS, there are 90+ podcasts, dating back from 2014, and the list will grow from there. The books are professionally read using children’s voices and are accompanied by original music and sound effects.

Inside The Three Little Pigs

Let’s take a look at The Three Little Pigs and discover why the Stories Aloud series is so exceptional. As with all Nosy Crow books, the Artwork is infectious and bright, and kids respond well to the promise of adventure that illustrator, Ed Bryan brings to the story. Each page is rich in the tiniest of detail that will have the family roaring with laughter, and any repeat telling uncovers discoveries of visual puns and hijinks. The text stays true to the classic tale while still updating it for the 21st century. Both male and female piggies take the lead, and the ending has a twist that won’t leave anyone guessing what happened to the Big Bad Wolf

 

WATCH THE VIDEO: https://youtu.be/Ss5pNmB1dU4

Tools for Learning

Using Stories Aloud with Bluebee Pal presents developmental challenges and play for your child. Children love stories, and they love to hear their favorites read over and over. By downloading the podcast, kids will learn the synchronization of looking, listening and then following the directions to turn the page on cue. In addition to building vocabulary, attention, and memory, books also help kids with practical life skills of visually scanning for details in a left to right format, grading force by turning the pages gently, and learning about tasks having a definite beginning, middle and end. These are all essential skills for developing brains. Bluebee loves reading stories, and with practice, a child can listen to stories with distant supervision after setting it up. Visit Nosy Crow’s website for more information – https://nosycrow.com/stories-aloud/

Here’s how to pair Bluebee Pals with Stories Aloud:

  • Have the podcast ready by downloading it to your phone or tablet – this way you’ll have access to the book without the need for WIFI. Kids can listen while driving in the car, waiting at the doctor’s office, or snuggling on a blanket during a picnic.
  • Turn on your Bluebee Pal and Synch it to your device using the Bluetooth setting
  • Tap Play on your Podcast and listen to Bluebee Pal tell the story while you follow along in the book!

 

 

 

 

The Fabulous All New Bluebee Pal 4.0

The new Bluebee Pal has had a make-over from top to bottom with impressive features that make you want to stand-up and cheer! These features not only improve how the Bluebee Pal functions, but also thought has been given to how a child relates and benefits from engagement with educational material when presented via Bluebee. In addition, a new member of the crew has been added, Parker the Monkey, so that every child will have a special friend to share adventures. Let’s take a closer look at the all-new Bluebee Pal 4

Bluebee Pal Body

The showstopper to the new design is that Bluebee’s head now moves in sync with his mouth as he/she talks, giving her/him a more realistic look and feel. There are no worries to a child “breaking” their pal, as the creator (Laura Jiencke) made sure this feature could stand up to the often “gentle” touch of a youngster just learning how to grade their force. She took into account the fact that many children like to feel inside Bluebee’s mouth just to test his mettle.

 

The body has been completely redesigned with extra weight tucked into his/her bottom. The Pals feel more lifelike when held. The extra weight translates to increased input for a child to calm and alert when handling their Bluebee and readies them for what is to come – whether it is singing a song, listening to a story, or playing a game. It also enables Bluebee to sit without propping and hold a device or object if necessary. I see many babies and young toddlers in my practice, and it amazes me to see that kids pay more attention to the Pal because they can make eye contact as Bluebee talks.

Bluebee’s gaze is on their level naturally and he doesn’t fall this way or that making it easier to remain focused. (Eye contact is something that should not be forced but is developed through play and practice. Bluebee provides that practice and helps to set the stage for future learning through watching and then imitating others.

Battery life has been improved and Bluebee can now go longer without needing a boost. Placement of the battery charger has been improved for easier access and is not felt when giving Bluebee hugs and kisses.

Bluebee Pal Function

All the features that we have come to love in Bluebee are intact. Bluebee can be paired with any device using Bluetooth® Technology or used as a special friend and stuffie. Here are just a few of the things you can do with Bluebee:

  • Use Bluebee to teach the use of AAC devices
  • Educational games with Bluebee on a tablet or phone are a snap – Bluebee works best with apps that have a narrative so that Bluebee can talk
  • Get up and dance to music from a playlist
  • Record the voice of a loved one reading or telling a story to build listening skills
  • Teach the sequence of activities of daily living with Bluebee, i.e. potty training
  • Snuggle with your Pal in a quiet center to calm and reorganize from a busy day
  • Invite others to tea parties or other celebrations
  • Play dress up with Bluebee to practice social skills

In Summary

The new Bluebee Pal is now out with many new upgrades that increase enjoyment with play. Each feature was meticulously evaluated and tested by the maker (Laura Jiencke). The life-like head movement and extra cushioning make the pals more huggable and realistic. Bluebee will grow with your child and will help teach them many new skills. Whether you have an older version or are thinking about the new version, just enjoy your friend. They are perfect Pals and friends that will be treasured over a lifetime. So set your course for adventure, and let the fun times begin!https://www.bluebeepals.com

 

Disclosure: My endorsement in Bluebee Pals goes beyond compensation for writing articles and reviews. I believe in the use of Bluebee Pals to enhance not only play skills, but also the development of skills across domains. I have personally witnessed the joy and companionship that a Bluebee Pal offers kids and how play can be adapted for kids of all abilities. This review reflects my own personal opinion and is not influenced by others.

 

Bluebee Pals with the Bluebee App


Is your child just starting to connect with technology or are you new to Bluebee Pals? Let the Bluebee Pals App help both you and your child learn about Bluebee Pals and the appropriate use of technology together. The app is free whether you own a Bluebee Pal or not.

 

 

 

Bluebee Pal App Content: 

  • How to use all the features of a Bluebee Pal (Always accessible in one place)
  • Resources from the Website on age-appropriate apps and play schemes to explore (Access to the website is hidden behind a parental gate)
  • A variety of mini-games that can be used to assess your child’s preferences and where they are functioning regarding preschool learning
  • The ability to record stories for when a parent is away or for a child to listen to a storybook independently
  • Exposure to activities of daily living and the sequence of daily routines

 

Inside the App

After opening the app, your child has the opportunity to personalize and connect to their Bluebee by sharing their name, favorite color and activities. This sets a tone for sharing and playing with their stuffie. Once this is initially done, kids can skip over the pages and head to Bluebee’s house for some fun games and activities by tapping the house icon in the upper left-hand corner.

The house is made up of a kitchen, living room, bathroom, and playroom. All rooms familiarize children with the vocabulary with items in the room as well as activities that would occur in these rooms. For instance, the kitchen is where you eat, and you sleep in your bedroom. On repeat play, the routines repeat themselves allowing for practice and sequencing activities of daily living. I would recommend a note to not put your Bluebee Pal in the bathtub in real life! The Playroom has activities that teach general preschool concepts and iPad skills. It is the perfect way to introduce kids to the demands contained in apps and other technology. Matching/sorting, puzzles, and body schema (to name a few) are some of the areas addressed.

In summary

If you have a Bluebee Pal, the free app resource is a great way to begin your child’s journey of tech exploration. It contains a guide for all of the features operating Bluebee and how to use them, a parent’s resource to apps and play ideas, and some fun games to get children acquainted with games that are beyond cause and effect.

Disclosure: I provided feedback and suggestions for the making of the Bluebee Pal app. This blog on using the app reflects my ongoing love and support of using Bluebee Pals to help children play and learn.

 

 

Bluebee App and 10 Language and Learning Goals

 

The Bluebee pal App is a free educational and interactive app which can bring your Bluebee Pal to life! Don’t have a Bluebee Pal? No problem! This free app can be used without a Bluebee Pal. The Bluebee Pal App incorporates choice making and engagement when interacting with the app. It features five different rooms with specific tasks.

 

 

 

Within each room, your child’s chosen Bluebee Pal can interact with varying activities, such as in the kitchen scene. Bluebee Pal can eat various foods, drink,  and access different appliances and objects in the kitchen like the refrigerator, oven, mixer, water bottle, etc. During these scenes, your child will also learn different routines in the kitchen and can target specific goals listed below. The app also includes free mini-games that target language, literacy, matching, inferencing skills and imaginative play.

 

 
 
How to incorporate 10 Language and Learning Goals when using this free Bluebee app! 

 


Making choices: Making choices is easy with this app. When the app begins, a child gets the option of choosing a Bluebee Pal (choice between the Sammy the Bear, Leo the Lion, Lily the Lamb, Rylie the Zebra, Partner the Monkey, and Hudson, the Puppy). After the child chooses their favorite Bluebee Pal, they get to choose their favorite color balloon, category and then the room they want to explore.

 

 

 

Categories: Explore categories with this app including animals, furniture, toys, outdoor activities, games, sports, art, music and much more! With this app, there are so many ways to incorporate the learning of categories as a child is playing with the app. To carryover, this goal, take screenshots of the app and with a visual of various categories ask your child to put the objects in the right category. Another carryover activity is taking a screenshot of the house and then asking your child to place the right object in the correct room with some tangible symbols or objects.

I love how the app incorporates errorless learning with specific tasks that require appropriate choices. This helps build language and learning in a fun and stress-free play environment.

Following directives: Throughout this app, the child is required to follow 1-2 step directives such as feeding Bluebee Pal, putting him sleep, brushing his teeth and much more! If your child needs more help with following directives, give prompts as necessary.

Literacy goals: This app is ideal for emerging readers! The mini-games help children recognize sounds and letters in a fun and interactive manner. With one mini-game, a child is required to put the right letter where it belongs on a qwerty keyboard.

Daily Living Skills: This app incorporates a variety of daily living skills including hygiene, cooking and cleaning up. During these opportunities, a child will be able to engage in these daily living tasks that they can relate to on a daily basis. This can be carried over into the home environment by going through the hygiene routine with Bluebee Pal and then doing the same with your child.

Actions: Learning actions is such an important skill and vital for creating grammatically correct sentences that are communicated well. This is a goal that should be facilitated and modeled as the child is playing the app. For example, the parent/educator can model, “Bluebee is ______his teeth” and have the child fill in the action. Bluebee engages in so many actions with this app so goals can be targeted in many ways and can also help build vocabulary.

Expand vocabulary: A child can expand their vocabulary by interacting with the various objects within each room. During each room activity, there is an opportunity for a child to explore different vocabulary. For example, when the child touches the water bottle, it says “water bottle”. This continues for a variety of objects in each room. Use this vocabulary during conversation to help your child store these new words in long-term memory. Also, focus on descriptive words as well!

Sequencing: When playing with this app, help your child recall various tasks in order. For example, when Bluebee Pal is in the bathroom, he first gets in the shower and gets wet, then gets washed with soap, and then finally needs to get dried with the towel or the hairdryer. When the sequence is done, review the steps in taking a shower and ask specific questions. For example, “What did Partner the Monkey do first?”

Negation: Learning and understanding negation is so important for various communicative functions such as requesting, commenting and expressing an opinion. In this app, a child has to follow directives with negations embedded it the sentences such as “Don’t forget to turn off the light.”.

Inferencing Skills and Improving Visual Awareness: Explore various puzzles, a maze and mini-games and target inferencing and critical thinking skills. Throughout the story, a child has to figure out specific situations within a context. For example, after taking a shower, Bluebee Pal is wet. What does he need to do? Does your child or student have difficulty with visual perception? In one mini-game, a child is required to find all of the Bluebee Pals within the scene which can help build those visual awareness skills.

 

 

 

 

Potty Training and help with Bluebee Pals

Potty training is often an arduous task as children are often hesitant to rock the status quo of their predictable routines versus the desire to be independent. Knowing if your child is ready is key to success. Some of the common signs to show a child is ready are:

  • Being able to stay dry for at least two hours
  • They are dry upon awakening from naps
  • Patterns of predictability in either behavior or timing of elimination
  • Distress when wet or soiled
  • Telling you, they’ve either just gone potty or about to go
  • Showing an Interest in this Routine


There are many ways to train kids to use the potty, so see what works best within the structure of your family. The most important thing is to be consistent as this sets the tone that going to the potty is an everyday routine and not a special event. It is also important to acknowledge your child’s thoughts and feelings as kids view the potty differently than adults do. Most kids see their products as being part of themselves, and it may be overwhelming to see a loved one turn their nose up and flush it away. Initially, it’s like performance art – they’ve made something for you to view.

You can use Bluebee Pal to help and reinforce going to the potty with these activity tips and apps. 

  • Make sure you have a potty that a child can put his feet flat on the floor. If that is not possible, have potty steps so that they can position their feet. Being grounded not only helps with feeling secure but also helps to ease in being able to go.
  • Use the phone feature to have Bluebee express his need to go. (If you are not sure how to use this feature, refer to the Bluebee app for more information). And then put Bluebee on a child’s or doll’s potty. This establishes peer camaraderie. Be sure to offer Bluebee rewards of hugs, kisses, or even stickers!

Daniel Tiger’s Stop & Go Potty by PBS Kids is a marvelous app for modeling when kids feel the urgency to go, and to recognize that feeling as a cue to go. It contains songs, videos, games, and tips. One of the things I find most valuable with this app is how the developer has broken the routine into steps – from recognizing the need to go to wash your hands after. Each sequence flows into the next to make it a coherent whole.

 

 

Potty Time with Elmo by Sesame Workshop Apps is an interactive storybook containing songs, games, and even an interactive potty chart. In the story, Elmo helps his stuffed animal David learn about bathroom routines. There is a song or jingle to reinforce every step of the way. The visual potty chart is an easy one to replicate and could be hung by the potty to remind little ones of all the necessary steps. Bluebee can read the story and play the games with your child to reinforce his gaining proficiency. In addition, the app contains tips for parents.

 

Pepi Bath 2 by PepiPlay is an all-inclusive app for role-playing hygiene routines that includes sitting on the potty. The animations are fun, and it never gets tiring to see the array of expressions on the kids or animals reacting to experiences in the bathroom, washing up, or brushing teeth. This app never fails to entertain for repeat play, but also reinforces participation. It is all-inclusive and accepting of all possible responses – and builds a child’s confidence by knowing someone out there feels the same way.

In Summary

Potty training is not for the weak at heart and requires full commitment once started. These apps and tips can help introduce and reinforce routines. By making things natural, it may help to reduce any stress or anxiety. Every child is different and learns at a different pace and sometimes age. Remember Bluebee is always there as a confident and friend and can help ease transitions by being your child’s number one play partner.

 

 

 

Demystifying In-App Purchases (IAPs)

In-App Purchases (IAPs) can be quite confusing. Some programs allow you to purchase extra features, some sell the program as a subscription and still others that remove ads or other inappropriate components for children. Making an app can be quite expensive. Most app developers see little return for their money and have used IAPs to help recap those expenses so that they can continue to stay in business. Here at Bluebee Pals, let us help you demystify what IAPs you may want to embrace and ones you may want to consider avoiding when obtaining apps for little ones.

Apps that contain more features or functions are at times a way to grade the difficulty of an app by giving kids the chance to learn and gain competencies before adding more. By giving parents a choice of when to roll out new features, the visual or auditory input can be contained until a child is ready to handle more demands from an app.

Subscriptions can be expensive, but weigh out the features presented before discounting their value. Some set of apps are appropriate for a specific age group or skill set and are well worth the short time a child may play with them. Most subscriptions add new features on a regular basis that make the subscription a value buy. Edoki Academy, Sago mini, and StoryToys are all trusted brands that have a child’s well being at the core of their development.

IAPs that allow you to try an app before you buy it is also great for seeing how your child responds to an app. Not all apps have universal appeal, and you never know what a child may like or reject until they begin to play. I have been pleasantly surprised at responses from children. Apps that I think are winners are not and likewise ones that I thought would not make it, were well received. In-App purchases that remove ads have always seemed somewhat questionable to me. I don’t like anything that may pose a potential threat or may contain inappropriate material to kids or families. Many ads are advertisements for apps that are addictive or violent. If you want an app that includes the feature to remove ads, play in its entirety, to see if the ads are indeed removed (and purchases don’t have to be “restored” with subsequent play).

Be wary of IAPs that disguise having you shell out your hard earned money for a bucket of coins, gems, candy or bunnies to continue play. Don’t be fooled by big names or characters that your kids see on TV. These apps are designed with enticing incentives to not only keep kids playing but also to empty your pocketbook as well. Gameplay is based on theories of addiction that reinforce your reward center. Initially, all efforts are rewarded with bonuses. Bells, whistles, and prizes are plenty. BUT, kids will quickly run out of coins or gems to progress and will need to purchase more to continue at their current rate of reinforcement. I purposely played an app with these features recently to see how long it took to run out of luck and would need to buy more of some known quantity to keep the game in motion. The app had features of receiving “rare” prizes and collecting a variety of different animals, goods, and characters to improve my level of “mastery.” What amazed me, is that it took about a week, and then I ran out of the currency the game used. My rewards dwindled, and I had pop-ups telling me how much better my experience would be if I only purchased X. Collecting is a strong motivator and also a robust play scheme, but do you need to spend 100s of dollars – especially at an early age? Also, I became agitated and upset when I didn’t receive what I wanted. If you should see a sudden change in behavior when your child plays a game; again be wary of in-app purchases.How can you spot one of these potentially harmful and exploitive apps?

Look at the In-App purchase information in the App Store. If it lists “a case, a bucket, or 100s” of a particular item, listen to your radar because it’s accurate in knowing what apps with IAPs to avoid.

Not all IAPs are contrived. As stated above sometimes it is useful to play an app without adding dozens of features so that a child can be successful before adding more.
The best advice, however, is to play with your child as the shared experience and interaction creates fond memories over a lifetime.

Anxiety Over Screen Time – Use of Screens for Kids

There is no doubt that use of screens has dramatically risen over the past few years. We now have prompts that direct us to a website for making appointments, paying bills, or gathering more information on a topic. But what about children? The issue over screen use continues to be a tremendous source of anxiety for parents – “Am I harming my child from the use of screens? How young is too young? How much time is OK? What programs or toys are best?” There seems to be an opinion everywhere with data that can support its use or reasons to put it away until “children can handle it”.

 

I, for one support the use of screens and media that promote active engagement and learning for all children. Why? Because I have not only witnessed phenomenal growth and understanding with early learners but more importantly have seen children that don’t have a voice begin to tell the world who they are and proclaim their capabilities. With the fact that ownership of phones and tablets are now more commonplace and are used by families on a daily basis, we need to begin by having discussions and strategies in place for use and purpose of media/technology in the lives of our children. Here are a few points to consider when adopting family media guidelines.

First, it’s imperative that the emphasis is on what is the purpose of using technology on function. Should screen time be limited to educational apps or apps that are developmentally appropriate or also mix in apps just for fun? As a clinician, I would advise having a goal with young children. Fun time is perfectly fine if you are involved in play, and the goal is on joint attention or social interaction. Otherwise, is that child’s time better spent doing something else?

Screens are not new to the scene. After all, movies, television, and videos have been around for a long time and have had their own time under scrutiny. Many shows are just that “shows” and imply passive engagement or things to watch. Most apps promote interaction and doing – that is what makes them so enticing. Kids can see their accomplishments. Also, actively participating with a young child when playing an application can provide insight into where a child’s interests and skills lie as well as give parents an avenue to promote discussions.

Modeling appropriate use (including turning media off for other activities) can send a profound message about self-regulation to kids. Just as we don’t have cookies and ice cream for all our meals – “Moderation is key for happy, healthy kids and families”. Having a visual schedule or using a timer helps provide cues for boundaries.

One of the most critical points for using technology is to use extension activities off-screen. Play a hair-cutting app before you go get a hair-cut. This makes content relevant and provides a bridge to real-time events and activities. Everyone benefits when Technology promotes function and skills during everyday routines.

The beautiful things about Bluebee Pals is that Bluebee serves as a bridge in guiding kids in the use of technology. Because of their very make-up, you don’t need to have a screen on for them to be effective. Many times, I use my Bluebee Pal for both pretend play or to sing songs and dance when working with kids. Bluebee loves to get up and move! Phone calls from loved ones far away or use the phone application in sharpening social skills is another grand feature of Bluebee Pals. My favorite however is the abundant hugs and kisses delivered by Bluebee to help kids self-regulate. We all need a friend, and Bluebee is a loyal one. https://www.bluebeepals.com

 

 

 Jo Booth – Occupational Therapy and Educational App Reviews-Jo Booth is a working Occupational Therapist who enjoys using Bluebee in her Classrooms. Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals mainly focusing on Early Intervention

Next up: How to evaluate an app.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practicing Conversation with Bluebee Pal using AAC Apps

Children who use AAC often begin using their augmentative and alternative communication apps to request desired items and actions. Although this an important communicative function to help meet basic communication needs and wants, it’s not very helpful when it comes to having a meaningful conversation. Can the AAC user greet appropriately, make comments, ask questions, or express an opinion? These are one out of many communicative functions that are necessary for a meaningful conversation. Many AAC users need practice with having conversations with others via their AAC system, which makes conversation challenging depending on the contexts and that individual’s communication partners.


Many AAC users solely have structured conversations with just paid and familiar communication partners. How can we expand conversation so that children who use AAC can have a more meaningful conversation with others, such as peers and less familiar communication partners? Use the Bluebee Pal! I have recently had some wonderful sessions with my preschool AAC users with the use of Bluebee Pal. They love talking with Bluebee Pal and are motivated to use their AAC system as well!

 

Bluebee Pal can be helpful because this friendly learning tool is nonjudgmental, easy to communicate with and available.

  1. You will need two separate communication systems for this exercise. One for the AAC user and one for you as the communication facilitator!
  2. Focus on specific topics and ask specific questions that would emulate a conversation with peers. Try to stick with topics that are motivating to the child who is using AAC. For example, if that child likes video games, ask about their favorite videos games.
  3. Encourage descriptive concepts and core actions. For example, ask your student this question, “Can you tell me what your Christmas tree looked like?” This can encourage the child to communicate, “bright”, “pretty”, “awesome”, etc. Another question such as “What did you do over the Christmas break?” can elicit answers such as “I play”, “I watch”, “I go”, etc. When it’s the child’s turn to respond, make sure to model and prompt as needed.

What communication app do I use? Check out my other app reviews here to get some ideas on communication apps available. If you don’t see your communication app, please comment below and I will be sure to review it! Thank you!

The pictures in the post were taken from the Bluebee Pal gallery. These are great examples of how to position Bluebee Pal when working on the goal of meaningful conversation.

Autism

 

Baby’s Musical Hands App and Bluebee Pals

Help build your child’s cause-effect and knowledge of different colors with Baby’s Musical Hands App!

This is a simple and fun app for young children under 2. This app helps teach babies cause and effect and also helps learn the difference between different sounds. As the baby presses on each color, you hear a different tune. The app is not overstimulating and calming, which is ideal for a very young child. I would suggest putting this app in guided access to benefit most from the features of the app. As you press on each color, there are also stars that show up with the tune. When choosing apps for very young children, it’s important to choose a simple layout that can be used for both entertainment and learning.

How can this app be used for language and learning? As your child activates a square, say the color “you pressed blue”, “you pressed yellow”, “you press red”. This will help your child learn the different colors and build cause-effect skills. Model more language by saying “I like the song you are making”. Focus on turn-taking by saying “my turn” and “your turn” and creating your own song with the Musical Hands app. Each time you press a color, there are stars that appear on the screen. Who can find the rainbow stars? Try to find them together! 

 

Let Bluebee Pal join in on the fun!

  1. Connect Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth to your device.
  2. Bluebee can provide the different tunes to the app. With each new tune, a young child can look back and forth from the app to Bluebee Pal. As noted earlier, model the language as the different squares are being touched.
  3. Bluebee can be a perfect companion for this app to help build cause-effect, join attention and engagement between a child and their parent. Record the song by taking a video of your child and Bluebee creating a song together. Work on sequencing by remembering a simple tune that you have created together! Work on following directions by saying, “press blue 3 times!” “press red 3 times” and model the language by saying, “I press yellow 2 times, 1,2”.

https://www.bluebeepals.com

The Five Little Monkeys App and Bluebee Pals

 The Five Little Monkeys App is a fun and educational for a child under 3. This fun and interactive app combine music, counting and learning a new language! The app opens up to a screen with the options, “country”, “rock” and “pop”.

I would suggest trying all of the different types of music because of some sing at a slower pace. For example, “country” is at a faster rate which can be overstimulating for some young children.

I like that the words are highlighted as the song is playing and that there are different interactive objects in the room. The user also has the ability to choose “English” or “Spanish” in the top right corner. For children under 3, it is important for a parent to be working with the child when playing with this app. This can help a child benefit the most when they are getting the prompts and modeling as needed.

When you press “go”, the Monkeys start jumping! Great way to learn the word “go”!

When you press “stop”, the Monkeys sit down on the bed and wait. Great way to learn the word “stop”!

How can Bluebee Pal be the perfect companion for this app?

  1. Connect your Bluebee via Bluetooth.
  2. Bluebee can be a perfect addition to this app because you can play the music from the app and have Bluebee sing it to your child. Alternate between showing your child the screen and listening to Bluebee Pal without the device available in front of them. What type of music does your child like the best? Rock, country or pop? How can they tell the difference? Encourage your child to dance and engage in gestures that go with the song such as “jumping”, “bump head”, “called the doctor”, etc.
  3. Bluebee can also be bilingual! Play the Five Little Monkeys sound in Spanish and expose your child to a different language with the visuals and words on the screen.

The Eli Explorer App and Bluebee Pals


The Eli Explorer App was created by early childhood experts designed to encourage kids to explore while learning.

This app helps encourage language and learning in a fun educational and interactive way. When you open the app, press play and then see Eli sleeping! How do you wake her up? Press on Eli and she is ready for an adventure. Take your finger and help guide Eli through a fun and stimulating journey through different scenes.

It’s wonderful in the way that it incorporates different goals and ideas. What happens when you tap on the hot air balloon? Eli gets a telescope and then thinks about finding her “grandfather”. This helps children understand the process of thinking versus saying and prediction. There are also many opportunities for vocabulary expansion! Eli passes the train and it immediately labels “black train”. Throughout the app, there isn’t just labeling of words, there are questions that Eli asks and different types of communicative functions that can help benefit a child’s language and learning.

Eli Explorer can be easily used both in the home, in a classroom or a therapy session. Other features include discovering various animations, getting exposed to over 100 words and phrases, and is recorded with professional mother tongue actions.

The app also comes in 10 different languages! Model language when you are flying with Eli! What do you see? I see balloon! Eli is going fast! Eli is slowing down, what is she going to do?

Apps Bluebee Pals

How can we use this learning app with Bluebee Pal?

  1. Connect your Bluebee Pal with your device via Bluetooth.
  2. Let the fun begin with Bluebee providing the voice of Eli and all of her friends that she meets on her adventure. Bluebee Pal can provide all of the labels as Eli is flying and also ask questions. For example, when you stop at the penguin, he asks “What’s the weather?” and then “It’s raining”.
  3. Bluebee Pal can provide endless fun for a child with this app that helps language and learning. When you are finished using the app, take Bluebee on an adventure like Eli and have her fly through the sky and label various items in the room. This carryover activity can help bring the app to life and carry over some language skills.

Choosing Apps for your Child’s Tablet (Part Two)

In Part One, we learned about the preliminaries for introducing a Tablet into play. Without these two skills in place, time is wasted on trying to recover ground and what is being taught doesn’t always stick. Many children have these skills in place at two, but children grow and develop at different rates – with different strengths and weaknesses. Don’t push if your child rebuffs technology – their systems may not be able to handle it yet. Bluebee offers many non-screen options for play and can often be a bridge or transition into higher learning tasks. Try starting with music and dancing, stories, and of course conversations.

The ability to sustain point and follow simple commands. To begin to play some of what we perceive as “learning apps” such as those that teach basic skills as ABC’s, numbers, and/or learning to print – kids must have the basic in-hand skills of being able to sustain a point. Many kids begin to point with their thumbs or middle fingers because they receive more information from their body as to where those fingers are and what those fingers are doing. Other kids begin to point with their fingers splayed and haven’t quite learned to tuck the remaining fingers in yet. These are all variations on learning this skill. To refine or shape this skill further, take advantage of the opportunities to model or demonstrate pointing when looking at books or other things in the environment. This facilitates not only the ability to visually shift between intended objects highlighted by a point but more importantly, it conveys communicative intent.

For children to begin to play learning applications on tablets with more detailed content beyond cause and effect, they must also be able to swipe, tap, and drag and drop objects on the screen. This requires eye teaming, the ability to visually shift from one point to another, and coordinate hand movements to swipe, drag, or drop objects on the screen accurately. In addition, gross motor play with weight bearing on the hands will help develop the intrinsic hand strength needed for more complex demands from apps.

Recommended Apps for your Tablet 

Cubic Frog Apps are a favorite of Bluebee Pals. They have a number of early learning preschool apps and apps surrounding the routines of toddlers and preschoolers. Not every app has to be academic in order to learn from it, and Cubic Frog does both in a bright happy palate. Sometimes apps that have the emphasis on daily routines or play patterns can help kids hone their skills in a less stressful environment. Cubic Frog apps are an excellent choice for learning to wait, listen, and follow direction.

Dr. Panda School is a delightful introduction to the routines of school and is amazingly easy to navigate for early learners. A newer version of Dr. Panda School is included as an IAP in Dr. Panda Town and is well worth checking out. All aspects of school life are included including a playground! As always the characters in Dr. Panda are diverse. What I love about Dr. Panda apps is how they facilitate language by kids beginning to make their own narratives when interacting with the characters.

Edoki’s Montessori Preschool is a comprehensive preschool curriculum. It not only includes new content monthly but also highlights content from their stand-alone apps as well. It is subscription based and can be used until your child masters the lessons and is ready to move on to more complex challenges. What I adore about Edoki is that their the mini-games are ripe for off-screen application. By carrying over activities into real life, the lessons are relevant and meaningful. Play in the subject areas (math, literacy, arts, and practical life) are adaptive – meaning the level of difficulty is adjusted to the individual child. This sets the course for a lifetime of the love of learning.

Grandma’s Preschool by Fairlady Media is a gem of an app, and sure to calm even the most hesitant kid about attending school. Grandma just resonates with a gentle but silly style that never fails to get kids engaged. The app is stylized as an open playground and kids can explore at will. Included are 11 interactive minigames plus video of what real kids learn at school is a valuable bonus in making the classroom tangible.

 

Sago Mini Puppy Preschool is a hands-down favorite with the kids I see. Loaded with 4 mini-games that teach learning to count, shapes, matching/sorting, and music play. Playing with rhythm and sound helps little ones learn to coordinate their auditory and movement systems and is often thought to help kids with math skills later in life. And for kids learning a language – Puppy Preschool teaches kids to count in 15 different languages! The app doesn’t have so much in it that it’s overwhelming – and the content and length of the games are perfect for the intended age group. The characters in all Sago apps are delightfully engaging with their expressive features and they are always “Who they are” – puppies are puppies and cats are cats – complete with barking and meows.

 

 

 

 

 

Bluebee Pals with Children 3 and Under

Apps to try with Children under three years. In this article, I wanted to find fun and educational ways to use Bluebee Pal and apps with your child under the age of 3.

These apps are engaging, educational and Bluebee Pal will be your perfect companion! Included in this article are apps that I have already reviewed with some new additional apps that I have found to be fun and engaging for babies and toddlers. Bluebee Pal is a unique way to get your child engaged with the various features of an app and improve joint attention.

The key to using an educational app with your child under 3 is to make sure that it something you do together! As your child engages in any of the apps below, model language and label different words in addition to commenting using simple language. It is also suggested when you use these apps, to use the feature Guided Access in the settings menu. This locks the child in the app so they don’t accidentally leave the app and return to the home screen. Children also learn at a very young age to leave an app and access less appropriate apps and materials so keeping the app in guided access can be very beneficial.

Baby Sign and Learn: Do you want to teach your young child Baby Sign Language?  This free app, Baby Sign Language Dictionary-Lite is an excellent way to introduce your child to baby sign language. This Baby Sign Language App allows the child an opportunity to learn some simple and functional signs for more effective communication.

The full version of this app includes 340 signs and over 1 hour of video instruction. This app includes 40 signing video demonstrations and is easy to follow along. According to the app developer, “The keyword signs demonstrated in this video dictionary are based on American Sign Language (ASL). All signs have been carefully selected for their ease of use, helpfulness to carers and appropriateness for baby’s interests and daily routine.” Each sign contains a detailed video tutorial with simple instructions on how to perform the sign, tips to help you remember the sign and practical suggestions on how to introduce the sign to your baby. Various categories included in this app are action words, animals, colors, daily routines, feelings and emotions, food, manners and behavior, nature and much more. Within the settings, you can choose to see the single sign only, autoplay, autoplay, and shuffle or manual transition and shuffle. How do you use this app with Bluebee Pal? Find out here!

 

I hear Ewe: For a young child, learning animal and vehicle sounds can be fun and interactive. This free app, I Hear Ewe by Claireware Software is a simple and user-friendly game including 24 different animal sounds and 12 different vehicle sounds. When the child taps on the picture, the verbal prompt announces the type of animal or vehicle which helps build receptive and expressive vocabulary. Then, the recording of the sound is played. You can use this app in several different languages including English, Spanish, German and Chinese and the verbal descriptions can be turned on and off in the settings. I Hear Ewe is an educational app that can help introduce your child to different animals and vehicles in a fun and errorless manner which can be excellent for children with a low frustration level. To learn how to use this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.

Eli Explorer: This app was created by early childhood experts designed to encourage kids to explore while learning. I wanted to review this app because I love educational apps that encourage language and learning in a fun and interactive way. When you open the app, press play and then see Eli sleeping! How do you wake her up? Press on Eli and she is ready for an adventure. Take your finger and help guide Eli through a fun and stimulating journey through different scenes. This app is wonderful in the way that it incorporates different goals and ideas. What happens when you tap on the hot air balloon? Eli gets a telescope and then thinks about finding her “grandfather”. She passes the train and it’s immediately labeled “black train”. Through the app, there isn’t just labeling of words, there are questions that Eli asks and different types of communicative functions targeted that can help benefit a child’s language and learning. This is an app that can be easily used both in the home, in a classroom or a therapy session. Other features include discovering various animations, getting exposed to over 100 words and phrases, and is recorded with professional mother tongue actions. The app also comes in 10 different languages! How can Bluebee Pal be a companion in this app? Click here.

Five Little Monkeys: This app is fun and educational for a child under 3. This fun and interactive app combine music, counting and learning a new language! The app opens up to a screen with the options, “country”, “rock” and “pop”. The user also has the ability to choose “English” or “Spanish” in the top right corner. When you press “go”, the Monkeys start jumping! When you press “stop”, the Monkeys sit down on the bed and wait. The scene also has interactive objects in the room (e.g. the ball bounces up and down upon activation).As the song plays, the words pop up on the screen and highlight as the song continues. I like the option of choosing different types of music because the rate of the music varies for each category. How can Bluebee Pal be the perfect companion for this app? Click here.

 

Baby’s Musical Hands: This app is perfect for little ones in helping to develop cause and effect, differentiating between various sounds and colors and engaging in a fun and stimulating activity with a caregiver. The app is simple, clean and minimal and not complex and overstimulating. These types of features are ideal because of the age group that it’s targeting. This app also won Best Infant App (iOS) in 2011 and Best App Ever Awards Editor’s Choice Award in the Children’s Technology Review. How do you use it with Bluebee Pal? Learn here!

 

Where to Begin Choosing Apps for your iPad? (Part One)

So, you just bought an iPad and want to begin to introduce your children to technology. How do you begin? You want something educational, but what are the best apps for education?  As with the development of all skills, most children follow through a developmental progression in using technology.

It is best to start slowly with a few apps to give a child a sense of competency and achievement and then increase demands. This gives them a firm ground of knowing what to expect and do in play. Too many apps split attention and may decrease overall comprehension.

Children are naturally curious, and the adage of success breeds success is definitely true for children as well as adults. Kids that know what to expect can then freely explore and experiment. So, what is that progression and how do you know your child is ready? Let Bluebee Pals help guide you along the way with these tips:

A child must be able to visually focus and attend to a task. Attention for a child is typically 1x – 2x’s their age. A two-year-old may attend 2-4 minutes per task, a three-year-old is approximately 3-6 minutes, and so on. Some attend longer and some shorter – go with your child’s cues – both verbal and nonverbal. You will be amazed at what kids can do in 2-4 minutes.

Some adaptations to help with attention are:

  • Know the app before you play it with your child. A little research before you buy it will pay off in the long run. Reading the reviews on Bluebee Pals can be a start. In addition, knowing the sequence of play can better prepare you for knowing what demands will be placed on your child. Are there natural breaks if you need to pause/stop, or In-App Purchases (IAPs) that must be made before play? etc. After all, you are your child’s best advocate and first teacher. Participate and you’ll have fun too. It’s this Joint Attention that facilitates communication and social learning.
  • Starting with preferred play patterns such as music or listening to a very short book, try something known. Bluebee loves to sing and read books. Many books come in a digital version, and it is great to capitalize initially on known books. Using Bluebee helps all to relax and enjoy what they are doing. And in a flash – if you need to get up and move, Bluebee is always ready for a dance!
  • Keep distractions at a minimum do not have the TV on in the background or talk to others while you are playing. Pop up tents or blanket tents are an ideal place to explore new things.
  • Read or play together while positioned on your belly. This position helps decrease distractions and places a child physically to visually focus in a downward plane. It also develops core musculature in the process!

Respect the developmental level of your child. We all want our kids to have the best and to promote their progress, but by playing something that is out of reach in terms of that child’s ability to comprehend the content may result in tears and frustration. Ask is my child even interested? Many times, a child may throw or hit a tablet because the demands are too difficult. It’s better to back-off then trying to push through it. Try starting with basic apps that represent familiar play schemes such as musical apps or simple drawing apps.

 

 

Many beginner apps have irresistible invitations for play and are loads of fun. Some of your first go to apps may include:

Day and Night StudiosPeekaboo Series. (Peekaboo Barn and Peekaboo Sesame Street are favorites)

Duck Duck MooseThe Wheels on the Bus or Musical Me

L’EscapadouDrawing with Stars

Oceanhouse Media – for storybooks and learning vocabulary

Sago MiniSound Box and/or Music Box

StoryToys – Mother Goose Club 

 

 

 Jo Booth – Occupational Therapy and Educational App Reviews

Jo Booth is a working Occupational Therapist who enjoys using Bluebee in her Classrooms. Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals of SEPA, Montgomery County Division mainly focusing in Early Intervention. 

 

 

 

 

Learning Time with a Bluebee Pal

Learning Telling Time with Bluebee Pal

Todo Telling Time is a learning and interactive app for children K-2 that helps facilitate learning of time concepts. This educational app is also very functional because it relates to the everyday concepts and also helps target various aspect of time. With this app, children will learn to tell time to the hour and minute, calendar concepts, digital time, and the parts of a daily schedule. With this app, your child can also practice placing numbers around a clock face, counting by 5s, and learning estimation.

 

Todo Telling Time contains six multi-level mini-games. The games include learning days and weeks in order, putting numbers in order and learning number orientation on a Ferris wheel, learning about the timing and order of a schedule, learning time with a train game, building short-term memory and sequencing skills in a memory game and a quiz that assesses your child’s knowledge of time.

 

  1. Connect your Bluebee Pal. Choose from the six interactive games below. With Day the Weeks game, your child or student will be placing the days, months and numbers in order on a calendar. Let Bluebee reinforce the sequencing by saying the name of the day, month or number on the calendar. With the calendar game, your child or student can learn about time and schedules. It’s 8:00 am, time for school! After your child places the hand on the right location, Bluebee Pal will tell you what time it is!
  2. WIth the train game, your child or student or will learn digital time and Bluebee Pal will reinforce the time by repeating the correct time. With the memory game, the challenge is the find the number that was called out and shown to you briefly. Forget the number? Activate the rewind icon and Bluebee Pal will say it again!
  3. With the timed quiz at the end of the game, your child or student will be challenged with questions asked by Bluebee Pal such as “It’s 7:00 pm. How much time until 12:00 am?”. The time quiz gives you three choices that you can choose from.
  4. Continue having fun with Bluebee Pal and learning time by navigating through different levels and finding various ways to challenge your student or child. This app is so much fun you might run out of time!….https://www.bluebeepals.com

 

Snap and Core First App and Bluebee Pal

Snap and Core First App DynaVox is the DynaVox’s new communication app and software. This app is free to download for certified ASHA speech-language pathologists and includes both core and fringe vocabulary with additional features. This app is free to download a trial without speech output. With verbal output, the app is $179.99.

These features of Snap and Core First include core vocabulary, quick-fire vocabulary for easy and quick communication, topic-based boards for specific contexts or activity based communication, a variety of keyboards and supports. These visual supports include a timer, schedule boards and much more which is great for an educational setting. The app is easy to edit and can be modified for any type of communicator.

 

Are you using this communication app with your student or child? Let Bluebee Pal help communicate during these suggested activities. Bluebee has proven to very instrumental as an assistive technology tool when utilized in conjunction with AAC devices.They engage children to communicate with a humanoid stuffed animal rather than just a screen.They are an effective tool for a speech therapist to motivate speech outside traditional channels of communication. Many children love their soft huggable tech companion and also use them at home to enhance learning and companionship.

  1. Use Bluebee pal during a structured activity on the topic page for bubbles.
  2. Take turns blowing and popping bubbles while modeling specific language in the bubbles page. 
  3. Take Bluebee Pal out in the community and order food at your local fast food restaurant. Many AAC users can be intimated by this process but with Bluebee Pal serving as the model, this experience will be less stressful and easy to succeed.
  4. Use Bluebee Pal for visual supports. Let Bluebee Pal show the student how to transition from one activity to another by providing the schedule and making the sound effect for when the timer is finished.

 

Elmo’s Monster Maker Meets Bluebee Pal

Celebrate Christmas with Elmo’s Monster Maker! What child doesn’t like Elmo? He is lovable, cute and animated. Elmo is also friendly and funny, which makes kids giggle with delight. In this app, there is a variety of Christmas and holiday-themed features to decorate your monster, but the best part of the app is how the user interacts with their own creations. The app opens up with a child’s favorite monsters in all different colors!

The monsters have no facial features though! You need to help this monster add eyes, a nose, and a mouth. The nose and eyes change to all different holiday-related objects which makes this app fun and interactive. Do you want to see Elmo? Press on the Elmo icon and Elmo will come join the monster! Elmo does different things to the monster to interact with him such as play ball, say “boo” and other funny actions. Press the music icon to see your monster dance! Then take a picture with your camera. This app is endless fun for a child and for a child and an adult to do together!

 

Let Bluebee join in the fun! With Bluebee Pal providing the verbal output, the child can not only have fun with the monsters and Elmo, Bluebee can join in! The app also gives directions to the child throughout the app, such as encouraging them to press specific buttons such as the Elmo button or music button. Elmo’s voice also provides comments to a child that can help with modeling language.

  1. Connect Bluebee Pal with your device and get ready to have fun!
  2. Open the purchased Elmo Monster Maker app. When the app begins, Bluebee will welcome you to the app and tell you “tap on the monster”. What color monster will your child choose?
  3. Bluebee will provide the fun music and voice output to this festive and fun app for you and your child. After you are done with the app, practice body parts with Bluebee Pal. Where are Bluebee Pal’s eyes? How about his mouth and nose? Work on expanding vocabulary by asking your child what these specific objects are that in included in the app. The app also helps with following one step directives.

 

Why Stuffed Animals are Still Important


One of the most endearing traits of early childhood is that magical line between reality and make-believe. It is the space where anything can happen, and THAT is how beloved stuffed pets or dollies come to life. Attachment to stuffed animals can begin as early as before a child’s first year and can in fact with some people, last a lifetime. To a child, stuffed animals or dolls represent living beings that have real personalities, thoughts, and feelings. Observing a child’s interaction with their pets can give you key insights into a child’s world. It is much easier to express worries or concerns with a stuffie, as they are nonjudgmental and will always listen.

 

Stuffed animals play a major role in children practicing nurturing and communicating with others. They allow for facilitating the use of new vocabulary, practicing social skills, and rehearsing routines. In addition, they are also a source of learning to self-calm and regulate by providing deep pressure and warmth when hugged or used as a transitional object. Transitional objects are part of a parent’s toolbox in helping children build confidence to try new things or to go from place to another. Don’t be alarmed if your child clutches tightly to their loved stuffies. The tight grasp is actually a way to provide body input called proprioception that helps ground or seats an individual. Try it yourself by clenching your fists – feel the stability?

 

Stuffed Animals – Getting The Most From Your Bluebee Pal 

 

The wonderful thing about Bluebee Pals is that they are a ready and able playmate, confidante, and teacher hidden inside a stuffed animal. They can be paired with any device that is Bluetooth enabled or used as a beloved toy unplugged. Try using your Bluebee to:

 

  • Rehearse upcoming events by acting out what is going to happen and have Bluebee respond with any anticipated concerns. Children can also rehearse independently by playing an app with your Bluebee Pal as a guide – which helps build independence and confidence.
  • Master language skills, manners, and turn taking. Simply listening to a story read by Bluebee will help increase vocabulary. We’ve all gone to “tea parties” and I’ve heard that Bluebee loves a bit of cake with his tea. During your party, practice sharing portions. There are many food playsets that have a portion component. Games with definite turns are also a way to teach waiting – although your child can take Bluebee’s turn too!
  • Using the phone component with Bluebee can add to imaginative and pretend play by having Bluebee communicating directly with your child.
  • Have your child “teach” their Bluebee Pal how to accomplish something they may struggle with such as getting a haircut or brushing their teeth. We once used a parade of stuffies in habituating a family to getting haircuts by setting up a shop. “Haircuts 5 cents!” Of course, no real scissors were involved (play dough scissors were used), but this allows the child to be in control and regulate the sequence of events.
  • Allow your child’s Bluebee Pal to express the often confusing and conflicting emotions of a child. Simply ask “Why Bluebee looks sad today, what do you think is going on?” This takes the pressure off the child and gives you a window by having the child respond through their Bluebee Pal.
  • Dressing Blubee up in clothing helps to build fine motor skills. Baby clothing that can be purchased at a thrift store in sizes 6-9 months’ work well. All sorts of hand strengthening and manipulative skills can be enhanced by outfitting Bluebee……..https://www.bluebeepals.com/general-education/#

Personalized Storytelling Apps to use with Bluebee Pals

Storytelling engages memory, sequencing, and the ability to impart social and emotional sensibilities. It’s through stories that we learn to not only begin to see ourselves as capable but also to take on the perspective of others. When we fall upon hard times or experience loneliness and isolation, a story can be uplifting and set the world straight. Using Bluebee Pals to relay stories or retell ones of your own making can be priceless gems to help little ones find their way. Here are some storytelling apps where your child can be the star in explaining daily routines or capturing treasured memories. Making books together provides language stimulation, modeling, but most of all the sharing of experiences.

 

The Apps

 

I Get It! by I Get It, LLC apps are a great way to introduce your kids to a variety of routines and events through personalized photo books. Most of the apps in this suite contain a book that can be read by your Bluebee Pal as is or edited to fit your child’s needs by adding personal pictures, text, and/or audio. To add sound, simply tap the edit button in the bottom right. Using a familiar voice can be calming as well as having your child tune into the cadence and rhythm of a particular region’s dialect. Using real photos makes apps relevant and the skills learned are thereby more easily applicable. In addition, you can create an original story of your own using family photos or use some of the stock photos supplied within the app.

Kid in Story by Enuma, Inc. is a great way to create and share stories starring your child. The easy to use photo editing tools place your child in the pages. Kids can create stories in their own words, and never seem to tire of listening to their literary masterpieces especially when read by Bluebee. Stories can be created to support appropriate social interaction in everyday situations as well as learning sight words. Make a picture book of favorite toys or things you and Bluebee spy around the house!

Me: A kid’s Diary by Tinybop Inc. is a masterpiece of blending visual and auditory cues to help kids tell their story. Me uses choice boards for animations and the ability to record thoughts and feelings concerning people and things that are important to them. This gives kids and parents a venue in which to share and learn about each other. Selected as one of the top apps of the year, it is a keeper in recording your child’s views and thoughts about themselves and the others in their world.

Any of the apps above serve as a way to get parents and kids talking about their experiences. This sets a protocol of openness and the ability to exchange views as well as practice in the art of sharing and turn-taking through storytelling. Paired with a trusted friend like Bluebee Pal, it gives kids a voice. AND that is a great thing indeed!

Using Book Creator for Making Stories

Book Creator by Red Jumper Ltd. is a must have app for all parents, teachers, and clinicians. This versatile app can promote and model language and the sequence of events through storytelling. In addition, it can also be used to create keepsakes of special events as told through the eyes of a child. In this post, we will go over salient points in creating a story to ease transitions. In part one, we talked about what may help in creating a story, so let’s get started! Here is an easy tutorial on how we created Hudson and Lily Visit Santa.

On opening Book Creator, we selected NEW BOOK in the upper left-hand corner. There are 6 different templates to choose from when sizing your book. Portrait, Square, Landscape, or 3 different “comic book” style” templates where a variety of graphics can be laid out within a template. Name your book and assign it an author and you are ready to go!

The fun starts now with personalization. And to do so, we will be using the tabs on the upper right-hand side. The “cover” will be the first page. A “+” sign on any of subsequent pages allows the author to:

-Add a picture from the camera roll or to take a video or photo right on the spot. This is invaluable for making a memory book or when writing an experiential narrative of a special event. Photos of events to come can also be used to rehearse an event such as having testing or lab work done. Many labs or doctor’s offices will allow parents to take pictures prior to an appointment to help ease the transition. This sets a seed of what is to be expected when going.

Original artwork can also be drawn right into the story using the pen “setting”. Choose from a variety of marker widths and colors.

Adding text. There are tons of options for fonts. Open Dyslexic is included in Book Creator, and our story is written in this font. The font was created to increase readability by weighting the bottom of the letters. This helps with keeping letters aligned and oriented by providing a visual sensory anchor. The font is continually evolving from the feedback of users. Read more at https://opendyslexic.org/. (The “i” with a circle tab allows for customization of either the text or page.)

– Audio can be as simple as reading the text or recording a narration together. Music can be added as well – either live recordings or from songs saved to your iPad. It would be lovely to make a goodnight book with favorite lullabies.

Once you have your story done, it can be exported as a PDF, video, or even an epub file to be read in iBooks! The stories can be saved and shared for repeat views or even added to in the future as your skills and confidence grow. There are many more in-depth tutorials on Book Creator’s website and YouTube. Red Jumper LTD makes it very easy to jump in and start making fantastic stories right away. The most important part is to start. All the features do not need to be tapped into immediately. Book Creator is an essential app for not only therapeutic use but can also be used to detail cherished family memories. This app is a bargain as its ease of use is exemplary. It can be used on the fly when out and about or used as an app for a family project.

Bluebee Pal Reads How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Celebrate Christmas with this classic audiobook app, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss’s books are timeless and this app tells the story of the Grinch with animated voices and interactive features. It comes with a voice-over narration, so the child can either read it themselves, listen to the book with the voice that comes with the app or records the voice. The app comes with the following features:

 

Tap and drag to find playful surprises throughout the book, find hidden stars on every page to reveal fun activities, explore new vocabulary by tapping words and pictures and track the time spent reading that is available in the Parents section. This last feature is ideal for reading logs which teachers require you to time how long your child needs to read for each night. The activities included in the app are mini-games such as Memory Match, puzzles, word searches, and a sequencing game. There are also 28 hidden games in the app itself.

 

 

Let Bluebee Pal join in on the fun with the Grinch!

  1. Connect your Bluebee Pal to your device and get ready to hear a classic book with a special reader.
  2. Will Bluebee read the voice-over narration or will your child record their own voice? Bluebee can do both!
  3. Bluebee can help meet language goals by helping your child learn new vocabulary by saying the words when the child taps on certain pictures and words throughout the story. With the feature of the all of the words being highlighted in the story, this can help a child learn to recognize more words and work on literacy goals. Listening to the story being read can also help with auditory comprehension. When the book is complete, ask your child “wh” questions and describe the different characters in the story.

 

Tips For Making Stories to Ease Transitions

Use Bluebee in a Story to ease transitions! Often, holidays are times when kids experience an overwhelming amount of sensory input. They are taken out of their usual routines and melt-downs can easily be triggered. Going to see Santa is a source of distress for many kids. There are crowds and lines, uncomfortable clothing, and a lot of “tall” people running about and speaking loudly. In addition, music and bright lights are aplenty.

 

Letting kids know what is going to happen and providing options for responses as to what to do may be a way to prevent a child who is more sensitive to overload. We used Bluebee to make a story about going to see Santa and what that sequence entails. (This is not a Social Story as defined by Carol Gray, a teacher and the developer of Social Stories. Social Stories are very specific and are important tools for all children who struggle with exchanging information. I would highly encourage anyone who is interested to visit her website or check out any of her books to learn more.)

Tips for making stories:

  • The stories can be used to prepare a child for what’s to come or a memory book of a special holiday or event – that can then be read or reread the following year to open up a discussion of what is going to happen.
  • Use actual pictures of where you are going or what you will be doing – and show specific detail. Cartoons or icons can be confusing. Real pictures will give kids a sensory anchor of what to look for.
  • Keep sentences short and to the point. Young children need to learn about what is important. Too many details may be confusing for a young child.
  • Tell kids what is to be expected and what they will be doing. Use of the words NO, NOT, DON’T do not tell you what to do and are vague in nature.
  • Keep the tone positive and truthful.
  • Some storybook creation apps contain the ability to add a soundtrack or music. You can record reading the story for your child to listen to again and again or include happy upbeat songs.
  • Include your child in the story and in the making of a story if able. Kids love to use the camera and see themselves in stories. Having a “mission” during an event may be enough of a distraction to keep them organized.
  • Share with family – especially the Grandparents!

Here is a story about Hudson and Lily going to the mall to visit Santa. We used Book Creator by red jumper ltd. to make the story and the Essential Apple app, iMovie for display or sharing purposes. iMovie is free for iPad users, and watching any of the tutorials is invaluable. There were many other shots we could have taken for the story but wanted to show you the general idea of what a book might include. Your child could be in the shots and star in the book instead of Bluebee. We will go over the steps in making a storybook in the next post.

 

Lily’s Wish List for a Happy Holiday

After a play date with Hudson, where he showed her his wish list for the holidays, Lily thought it would be a great idea to make a list herself. She decided too, to ask mommy, daddy, and her sisters what was on their lists. “This will be the best holiday ever,” she thought. She liked the idea of books, learning games, and toys that she could play with her sisters. The season is all about sharing and enjoying the warmth and love of your family, she thought. Here is Lily’s List:

Sometimes, it is just hard to get started or stop a fun activity and go onto something else less fun. Lily has seen this with her younger sisters and had heard about an app where there were songs to help transition to a new activity. Everyday Grooves is that app. It was developed by the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College, so you know it has been thoroughly researched. Mommy can play it on her phone, and she and her Bluebee Pal can sing the songs to make transitions easier for her twin sisters. You see when Bluebee sings a song, everybody listens.This app works on both iPad and iPhones that use an older iOS (under 11. On the iPad, it is an enlarged screen from the iPhone – but you don’t need to watch anything in particular – it is about the song being used as a call to action). It’s perfect for Lily’s big sister to use on her older iPhone with Lily’s Bluebee.

A sweet little pre-math app developed by the brother/sister team, Will and Cara Jessop, for Enabling Play, is The Amazing Adventures of Millie Moreorless. It was specifically designed for children with learning difficulties. The pacing and graphics are key to what makes this app successful. New research is showing that children who are able to recognize and discriminate the concept of “More” from a grouping of objects early on have greater success with math as they are able to better sequence, classify, and visually place objects that they relate when navigating and interacting.

Lily’s a busy girl. She likes to discover and find out about new things. She also would like to apply what she’s learned to new situations, and so it can be hard to settle down at nap or nighttime. She loves that her Daddy can record stories on the iPad so that her Bluebee Pal can read a story in Daddy’s voice if he’s away. It makes her feel calm. The one she loves the best is Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site produced by OceanHouse Media. It’s all about busy builder trucks that work hard building during the day, and need to settle down to rest. Lily loves hearing the names of all the trucks and what they do.

Lily wants to be an architect when she grows up. She loves to build and design things. She knows that careful measurements go a long way when building. She saw the app Measure Up by PBS Kids. It had all her favorites from her T.V. shows and videos on YouTube. There were Peg and Cat, Dino Train and Sid! In the app, kids can explore 3 different worlds and begin to compare and contrast length, width, height, weight, and capacity. These are foundational skills not only for math and science in later years but also in navigating one’s world.

Lily’s secret wish is for a Bluebee Pal for all her sisters. There is so much for them to do – sing songs together, talk to Grammie, play games, or simply read a book. Lily also likes to play pretend with her Bluebee – her sisters and their Bluebees could all join in for a tea party, build amazing buildings with blocks, and explore outside together. It would be double the fun if all of us and our Bluebees could play together. Now she thought she heard something about a monkey named Parker…

 

 

 

 

 

Hudson Makes a Wish List

Hudson, that silly puppy, is being smart this year with a list already for Mommy to send out. What does he have on his list? Some books, some learning apps that are challenging, and of course some apps and toys for fun. Here are a few of his top picks:

Oceanhouse Media, a long-time favorite of Bluebee for their outstanding work with children’s media, has a host of Holiday Books. One that Hudson loves is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. This is a holiday classic where children learn about the true meaning of a family’s love and faith – it has all the elements of suspense that are near and dear to a child beginning to celebrate the holidays. It is told in a way that only Dr. Suess can. Highlighted words and the options to have the book read aloud or a parent reading or recording the book make this an outstanding app to be treasured for years to come.

My Hanukkah by Debora Castelnova is an endearing app for young children to learn about the traditions and activities of Hanukkah. This free app contains the story of Hanukkah, music, and activities such as puzzles with items used in celebrating Hanukka, spot the difference, and simple coloring pages that reinforce the story. After looking at a few other apps, this one really stood out and seemed to address developmentally appropriate activities with great care. Every activity was constructed to engage children. Hudson was thrilled to play the app over and over! There are also printables available on the website. Thank-you Debora!

Axel Scheffler’s Flip Flap Ocean by Nosy Crow is a delightful frolic into the ocean by finding AND MAKING both familiar and new species by scrolling through the tops and bottoms of different sea creatures. Nosy Crow has both books in interactive app form and hardbound books. It would be fun to have both for group play between Bluebee and your child so that your child could help Bluebee replicate the newly formed animal in the book. This would teach visual shifting, beginning turn-taking, and refining matching and sorting skills. Hudson likes to come up with silly and fun combinations and show them off before reading the poem aloud to his friends.

Mother Goose Club by StoryToys has been a hands-down favorite for Hudson this year, and he plays with it on a daily basis. It is a subscription-based service that is continually updated and offers new content on a monthly basis for toddlers and preschoolers. There are plenty of songs to learn and sing, games to play, and challenging learning activities. All the videos teach core foundational skills for kids in a playful way – and facilitates memory, language, and the imitation of movements.

Cowly Owl’s Little Digits has recently been updated for young users. Hudson loves to count and especially loves a good numbers shout-out to his friends. In this app, children learn the sequence and what quantity means by using a 1:1 correspondence. Through simply tapping their fingers on the screen, children drive home (body and mind) what 3 feels like, and can quickly progress to simple adding and subtraction. In this way, they begin to see numbers as applicable and real…and that plants the seed to a lifelong love for math.

Hudson loves to pretend and likes to dress up to make it seem more real. He loves the role play costumes from Melissa and Doug. Using Bluebee in an open play scheme such as being a Doctor, Police Officer, Teacher, or Chef – gives your child a chance to habituate to varying places they may go, what to do IF, and the chance to pre-rehearse unexpected changes in routine. Bluebee can whisper in Mom or Dad’s ear the possibilities of responses or actions. These then can be reinforced so that a child may know what to do in certain situations.

This is Hudson’s List…What’s on Yours?

Holiday Apps to Celebrate with Bluebee Pal

 

For the holiday season, I wanted to review two different apps for children to use with Bluebee Pal. Since children celebrate all different holidays I wanted to include apps that celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Bluebee can celebrate any holiday with you! With so many apps out there, I want to highlight some of my favorites.

Who doesn’t love Charlie Brown? This character is a favorite for both adults and children! A Charlie Brown Christmas and iMessage by Loud Crow Interactive Inc is a fun and interactive app and voted iPhone and iPad App of the Week. Peter Robbins who is the original voice of Charlie Brown narrates the rebirth of the 1965 animated classic as a storybook with illustrations, dialogue, and music for the Christmas season.

This app which is priced at $4.99 includes a variety of activities to keep both you and your child busy. When the app opens up, you can choose the record player or storybook. The app immediately starts reading the story, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Each page is fun and interactive with objects moving in all different ways.

For example, on the first page of the book, all of the characters on ice move in a different way. They can spin, ice skate and glide across the ice! As the story reads aloud, this is where Bluebee Pal comes in. Let Bluebee Pal take the role of the reader in this interactive storybook app. Within the storybook, you can decorate the tree and add ornaments of your choice. Take a personal picture to add to the storybook with the camera option! Throughout the story, there are other voices from different characters that will keep your child engaged and excited about the story.

Me & You/Jewish Holidays App is great for Hanukkah and all of the Jewish Holidays. With this app, you can help facilitate play, interaction with an adult and early Jewish learning for your young child. With this app, you can pose for photos in the various backgrounds representing the different holidays.

When taking pictures of your child or student (with permission from the parent if it’s your student), have them act out Jewish holiday actions. When your photos are complete, all of the photos will be combined together with a new holiday song by Elana Jagoda.

This is where Bluebee Pal can help out by singing the songs with you and your child. Within the app, you can help your child follow directives and encourage pretend play by “eating”, showing “I’m sorry” face and much more. This activity can also help work on improving a child’s ability to understand how their facial expressions can communicate specific feelings and actions. An overall fun and educational app for the family!

 

 

 

Strategies for Transitions on the “Big Day!” Part 2

The Big Day is here! You’ve prepped by practicing certain aspects of the day’s celebrations – reading stories, decorating and trying or discussing new foods – but then the unexpected happens. Whatever are you going to do? Employ Bluebee to the rescue of course! Bluebee has been a trusted friend for a while, and your child knows to hold on tight when things get bumpy. By holding him tight, kids receive the body input needed to stay calm. Adults do things too to stay calm and focused – leaning against a wall, playing with the change in their pockets, or eating crunchy, chewy or creamy foods. We all look and need support when overwhelmed. Here are some strategies for the big day of keeping things running smooth.

  • Using an app such as Choiceworks by BeeVisual LLC, begin the day with what the events and expectations are going to be throughout the day. This app has many applications, from using it at a grocery store for a “Food Hunt or Check-off List” or simply keeping kids in the cart by giving them a job to designing schedules, or “If/Then contingencies. Choiceworks is one of the most versatile apps that I have used in helping to keep kids regulated. One of the nicest features is the ability to take pictures of real objects and input the names of the pictures so Bluebee can read off the schedule and say all done when finished. We all are able to remain calm when we know what to expect. Many times, we think children know or can go with the flow of things when really their systems are way beyond overload already. Giving little one’s choices also helps them feel in control.
  • Practice social greetings before the big day by pairing Bluebee with a phone where an older sibling or your spouse is in another room – prompting your child through Bluebee. You can even have pretend tea parties – using such apps as Toca Tea Party – (read review).
  • If you need your child to wear something special – try it on and wear it before the big day to get the “scratchiness out”. Also letting the child know that the outfit is for wearing short-term. Practice having it on for an hour, then taking it off. Visual Timers are perfect for this. Search for one that pleases your child. In addition, Bluebee can wear a similar outfit too, making it less painful. I often get clothes for our Bluebees at a second-hand shop or by PJs on sale for a couple dollars or less. 6-9 month clothing seems to fit Bluebee fine.
  • Try to make time for your child to adjust and try new foods before the big day. There is nothing like pulling out Aunt Birdie’s gelatin mold for the first time and expecting your child to be thrilled to eat it. If you do know of traditional holiday foods – try to incorporate a taste of them in the weeks ahead of the holiday, so the sight, sound, and taste of something new don’t send your little one over the edge. Also respect a child when he says, “No thank you.” Holiday meals are not worth a power play, but a time for families to enjoy each other. In other words – Don’t make demands you have no intention, time, or energy to follow through on – choose your battles.
  • Lastly, give your child a safe space in which to go, if things get too much. Pop up tents with pillows, Bluebee and a blanket are perfect pairings. Bluebee can be set up to play soothing music or earth sounds to keep your kids calm and give them a sense of space.

What are some of your favorite strategies? Please share. And most of all Happy Days from our family at Bluebee Pals to yours!

Helping Your Child with the Changes in Routines during the Holidays Using Bluebee – Part 1

Holidays are hectic. There is always a mad dash to get things done, new routines and foods to eat, objects to “not touch” placed about the house, and not to mention well-intentioned relatives invading personal space. This time of year is a great opportunity to provide plenty of practice in dealing with transitions – and who else better than Bluebee to help your child stay calm amidst the chaos and learn to love the holidays. Here are a few strategies for using Bluebee for special occasions:

  • Decorate early and have Bluebee and your child help decide where objects go. This not only habituates children to the changes in décor but empowers them to be mindful when interacting with family traditions. Be sure to set aside your breakables in a safe “just to look-at table” or in a cabinet. When setting up a “just to look-at table” allow your child to handle and feel those objects before going on the table or in the cabinet. By having the child sitting on a sofa or carpet, include Bluebee’s thoughts and questions too. He can echo Mommy’s or Daddy’s thoughts…or you can pair your phone and have a spouse or other talk through Bluebee to share the story of how the object became a piece of family history. Let them know its importance and how it represents the love everyone in the family has for each other.
  • Read stories about Holiday Routines and what is expected. Check out Helen Wagner’s post for November on recommended stories and apps for Thanksgiving. Making a social story (usually an original story with your child as the star) can help prepare your child for family traditions and special foods that you may have. Rebecca Eisenberg has several recommendations on apps for mealtime with Bluebee. These are two very experienced Speech Pathologists that have great insights into the use of Bluebee in establishing new routines. In an upcoming post, I will take you through the steps in making a social storybook.
  • Just because Bluebee the Lion is named “Leo”, doesn’t mean your child can’t give him a nickname. By addressing him/her by name – gives a familiarity and space where anything can be shared. Practice talking to Bluebee and sharing your worries, and have him whisper to you a response. Many times, children know what they need, but are unable to verbalize it. Sometimes a hug from a friend is all that’s needed. Demonstrate and practice with Bluebee – as he/she is always available for hugs and advice if needed.

 

In Part two, we will review a few more tips for making your holidays memorable and happy!

10 Ways to Use Bluebee Pal during AAC Therapy


10 Ways to Use Bluebee Pal during AAC Therapy 

Bluebee Pal is a plush educational learning tool that can be connected to a tablet, phone or computer via Bluetooth. Once connected to a device (such as an iPhone or iPad), this interactive educational tool can talk, sing, etc.

Bluebee Pal’s technology includes lip synchronization that allows the animal’s “mouth” to move while reading storybooks, engaging in learning apps or singing songs. As an app reviewer for Bluebee Pals for the past two years, I have discovered countless ways of using this tool to meet speech and language goals with my clients that present with complex communication needs. To see my app reviews on Bluebee Pal’s website, click here (https://www.bluebeepals.com/beccas-app-reviews/).


In order to meet these goals below, you would need two different devices. One device that is connected to Bl
uebee Pal via Bluetooth and one that has a communication system installed, whether dedicated or non-dedicated for your student. As an SLP that has specialized in the field of AAC of the past 18 years, I generally target multiple goals during a variety of activities. In this article, I want to share how to use Bluebee Pal to meet AAC goals in both the therapy room and in the classroom.

  1. Reading a Story: Since Bluebee Pal is connected to your device, this toy can read any book to your student that is downloaded on an app or available online. When reading the story, pause, ask questions and encourage your student to comment via their AAC system. Listening to Bluebee Pal read the story can be engaging and exciting for a child, which can help meet your goals more readily. Some of my favorite story apps include Go Away Green Monster and Crepes for Suzette. I also like the story time apps One More Story and Storybots. For more suggestions of story time apps, check out my article here (http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2016/08/18/5-excellent-storytelling-apps-for-kids-with-special-needs/)
  2. Improving choice making: During an AAC evaluation or training present Bluebee as a choice for requesting. With the child’s communication device, they can work on creating sentences and use describing words to request Bluebee. This would be a great opportunity to create the sentence, “I want soft Zebra”, or “I want blue puppy”. For those children who want to figure out how to say Bluebee without it being programmed, navigate to colors for “blue” and then the “bugs” page for bee. Combine to say Bluebee! Other ways that a child can make choices is within the app itself. The child can request specific sounds within a soundboard app like in the picture below. This is a wonderful opportunity for creative and complex sentences that can be modeled and then communicated by the child.
  3. Answer “wh” questions: This is often a common goal that appears on IEPs and lesson plans. Use Bluebee pal to ask questions in the app About You and Me by Super Duper Publications. Responding to Bluebee pal can increase motivation and engagement among students. This can also help the student practice answering “wh” questions about themselves.
  4. Social Story Companion: Social stories are commonplace in special education classroom because they help meet a variety of both social and communication goals. Use an app such as Pictello and let Bluebee read the social story with your student.
  5. Pretend Play: Bluebee Pal is perfect for dramatic play! Since Bluebee is a stuffed animal, he can participate in lots of different play from dress up to be at a tea party! There are a variety of ways that you can incorporate Bluebee into dramatic play. Bluebee can start conversations with your student via being connected to a communication app or provide the voice and music in the app such as Toca Boca Tea Party.
  6. Use for AAC Assessment: The app that I use often for assessment is AAC Genie. With Bluebee connected, this tool can help with assessment. Let this educational tool guide your student through the protocol which can help keep the child motivated during the evaluation. For a more in-depth look at how to use Bluebee with AAC genie, click here (https://www.bluebeepals.com/app-reviews/make-aac-assessment-interactive-bluebee-pal-pro/)
  7. Learn Phonics: Learning phonics and literacy is the key to communication. With the app, Phonics you can expose your student to exploring phonics. Another way is using the phonic keyboard on Touch Chat with Word Power during a literacy activity. Let Bluebee Pal answer the question, “What does the letter “a” sound like?”
  8. Categorization: Working on categorization is another common goal to target during speech and language therapy. When a child can learn categories more readily, this can help speed up communication and expand vocabulary. It can also help with improving word association. With one app that I reviewed called Categories Therapy Lite, Bluebee Pal can help a child learn categories. To learn more about learning categories with Bluebee Pal, click on the app review here (https://www.bluebeepals.com/app-reviews/beccas-app-reviews/category-therapy-lite-bluebee-pals/).
  9. Learning Actions: Learn actions with the app, Actions in Video. This app can help students combine symbols together into sentences focused on actions. At the end of the sentence, hear Bluebee Pal say the whole sentence or record your own voice. To practice on their AAC system, ask them to construct the same sentences on their AAC system with modeling and prompting as needed.

 

  1. Turn-taking in conversation: Bluebee Is a perfect companion for practicing taking turns in conversation. This can be done with a Bluebee connected to an iPad with a communication app or within an app such as Elmo Calls. For more tips on how to use Elmo Calls with Bluebee, check out my review here (https://www.bluebeepals.com/app-reviews/beccas-app-reviews/phone-calls-elmo/).

 

AUTHOR : Rebecca Eisenberg, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist, author, instructor, and parent of two children, who began her website gravitybread.com to create a resource for parents to help make mealtime an enriched learning experience. She has worked as a specialist in area of Augmentative and Alternative Communication for over 15 years serving both children and adults with varying disabilities in schools, day habilitation programs, home care and clinics.
Becca currently works as a speech language pathologist on the tech team at the Westchester Institute for Human Development in Valhalla, NY.
 
 Her..website
Literacy and Mealtime

PreSchool Halloween Fun with Bluebee

Preschoolers who have an idea of the spoils of Halloween are always excited about its celebration and are eager to play games, activities and listen to stories that feed that curiosity. Here are a few more apps that are well paired with Bluebee for preschoolers in the know:

Yum Yum Letters: Learn and Trace by Kindermatica is an outstanding app for beginning to grade movements and make markings within a pathway. Kindermatica has seasonal themes within the app to keep its content current. The Halloween Theme contains a spooky but friendly spider, pumpkins, and atmospheric fun. With Blueebee there to deliver the instructions to the app, your child will be unstoppable. On opening, each letter is introduced as well as its formation. The letter is then formed by using either the finger or a stylus. Bluebee always uses a stylus, and I would encourage the use of one if your child’s hand is ready for a writing utensil. One of the things I love about most handwriting apps is that kids must practice proper letter formation to proceed, and Yum Yum Letters has kids practice the formation of each letter three times with slightly different backgrounds and prompts to help ensure carry-over and promote independence. Once they have practiced, they are rewarded with a game – that furthers spatial skills involving symmetry.

StoryToys’ Haunted House is an all-inclusive app for Halloween fun. The app centers on a pop-up storybook, but there is so much more to this app than meets the eye. With the IAPs parents can extend the fun with a fun sticker book or jigsaw puzzles. If you decide to forgo the add-on packs, they can be disabled from view in the gated parent’s section. Each page of the book is filled with a mission to complete, and the atmospheric music will take many a parent back to their own childhoods. Sometimes Bluebee gets scared and will need your child to hold on to him or her tight to make it through the mission. This app builds pre-reading and other visual motor skills and is one of Bluebee’s favorite apps for the season.

Monster Mingle by Cowly Owl is an exploratory app that will have Bluebee on your lap, just waiting to participate in the fun. One of the prime reasons I love this app is that its open-ended play theme is child-directed. Kids explore at their own pace. The app centers on building a monster on land and under the sea, finding body parts and exchanging them at will. Bluebee questions, “Is that a noise or a mouth?” Well try it and see! Mouths are needed for eating all the yummy treats, and listening skills are honed through play with the underwater vents or on land, with specific trees and greenery. Nominated for the Children’s Bafta Award, this app is a winner that can be used all year round.

Explore these apps for a build up to Halloween. Have Fun and be safe!

Fun Spanish Learning Games Meets Bluebee Pal

Fun Spanish Language Learning games is a free and engaging app for children who want to learn Spanish. This app is part of series of many different apps by Study Cat include Fun Chinese, Fun French and much more. The app includes  2 Free Lessons and 13 Learning Games. The app is designed for children ages 3-10 and includes courses for preschool, early learners and young children learning different languages. The app combines a language course with different games to keep a child engaged and entertained while learning. The course is divided into lessons with each lesson including core vocabulary in several contexts. Both male and female voices are included with appropriate intonation and expression to learn the pronunciation correctly. The free lessons included are colors and animals. More lessons are available for purchase including numbers, body, fruits, food, clothes, vehicles, the house, sea animals, school bag lesson, and actions. Children love learning and languages introducing at an early age are considered easier to absorb than in later teen years.

 

 

 

These lessons can be purchased individually or in a pack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connect your Bluebee Pal! 
1. Connect your Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth to your tablet.
2. Let the fun begin. Bluebee Pal can provide the audio feedback during all of the games by helping your child learn new Spanish vocabulary in addition to aiding your child with the sounds of the letters for early learners.
3. Practice the free games in the category of Animals such as Silhouettes (identifying each animal), Two by Two (learn plurals), Spellbounce (spell the animals in Spanish), Whack (singular and plural), Animal Band (reviewing the animals) or Voice Choice (provide your own voice). With Bluebee Pal, learning Spanish will be endless fun for you and your child. Now they have a tech companion that can also teach and motivate them.

4 Apps for Learning Different Languages with Bluebee Pal

It’s never too early to expose your child to different languages, especially in the younger years. “During this period and especially the first three years of life, the foundations for thinking, language, vision, attitudes, aptitudes, and other characteristics are laid down,” says Ronald Kotulak, author of Inside the Brain.  In this article, I am going to list some parent and child-friendly apps to get you started with learning new languages with your child’s favorite interactive toy, Bluebee Pal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duolingo is fun and free! It allows you to learn up to 23 languages- Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Irish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Turkish, Norwegian, Polish, Hebrew, Esperanto, Vietnamese, Ukrainian, Welsh, Greek, Hungarian, Romanian, and Swahili.  How does the app work? You can choose to create an account or start without signing in. Next, choose a language! Do you want to learn the language casually (5 minutes a day), regular (10 minutes a day), serious (15 minutes a day) or insane (20 minutes a day). Then you either choose the option, beginner or not a beginner which will lead you to a placement test. For children, choose beginner and start the course! The app will open up and start asking multiple choice questions with visuals. Once a choice is activated, you will hear the correct pronunciation of the word and the app will continue. This free version has ads but an ad-free version of this app can be purchased through the app which also includes additional lessons. The free version contains the first lesson which gives you the opportunity to try the app and see if you want to purchase the full version. To learn how to use this with Bluebee Pal, click here.

 

Baby Sign Language Dictionary-Lite allows the child an opportunity to learn some simple and functional signs for more effective communication. The full version of this app includes 340 signs and over 1 hour of video instruction. This app includes 40 signing video demonstrations and is easy to follow along. According to the app developer, “The keyword signs demonstrated in this video dictionary are based on American Sign Language (ASL). All signs have been carefully selected for their ease of use, helpfulness to carers and appropriateness for baby’s interests and daily routine.” Each sign contains a detailed video tutorial with simple instructions on how to perform the sign, tips to help you remember the sign and practical suggestions on how to introduce the sign to your baby. Various categories included in this app are action words, animals, colors, daily routines, feelings and emotions, food, manners and behavior, nature and much more. Within the settings, you can choose to see the single sign only, autoplay, autoplay, and shuffle or manual transition and shuffle. To learn about how to use this app with Bluebee Pal, check out my review here.

 

Take a virtual trip to Paris with Suzette, the crepe maker with this language-rich story app that includes a children’s book, videos, photos of Paris and an interactive map with the unique opportunity to explore target words in different languages. Five other languages can be narrated with app including Spanish, Italian, German and Japanese. When playing the app, Suzette (the Parisian crêpe maker and street cart vendor) takes her cart through the streets of Paris and makes delicious crêpes along the way. She meets a postman who orders a strawberry crêpe, children who request chocolate crêpes and the shopper who likes crêpes sprinkled with sugar. On each page, there is the ability to activate each character on the page who all speak the keyword in different voices. This app can not only teach your child new words, but you can learn some fun facts as well! To learn how to use this app with Bluebee Pal, click here. 

 

 

Fun Spanish Language Learning games is a free and engaging app for children who want to learn Spanish. This app is part of series of many different apps by Study Cat including Fun Chinese, Fun French and much more. The app includes  2 Free Lessons and 13 Learning Games. The app is designed for children ages 3-10 and includes courses for preschool, early learners and young children learning different languages. The app combines a language course with different games to keep a child engaged and entertained while learning. The course is divided into lessons and each lesson includes core vocabulary in several contexts. Both male and female voices are included with appropriate intonation and expression to learn the pronunciation correctly. The free lessons included are colors and animals. More lessons are available for purchase including numbers, body, fruits, food, clothes, vehicles, the house, sea animals, school bag lesson, and actions.These lessons can be purchased individually or in a pack. To learn how to use this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.

Learning a New Language with Duolingo and Bluebee Pal

is fun and free! It allows you to learn up to 23 languages- Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Irish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Turkish, Norwegian, Polish, Hebrew, Esperanto, Vietnamese, Ukrainian, Welsh, Greek, Hungarian, Romanian, and Swahili. How does the app work? You can choose to create an account or start without signing in. Next, choose a language!

Do you want to learn the language casually (5 minutes a day), regular (10 minutes a day), serious (15 minutes a day) or insane (20 minutes a day). Then you either choose the option, beginner or not a beginner which will lead you to a placement test. For children, choose beginner and start the course! The app will open up and start asking multiple choice questions with visuals.

Once a choice is activated, you will hear the correct pronunciation of the word and the app will continue. This free version has ads but an ad-free version of this app can be purchased through the app which also includes additional lessons. The free version contains the first lesson which gives you the opportunity to try the app and see if you want to purchase the full version. The app also gives you the ability to have a practice conversation with a Bot. In order to have the conversation, you need to build up your skills.

Bring Bluebee Pal along for the ride of learning a new language!

  1. Connect your Bluebee Pal to your favorite tablet via Bluetooth.
  2. Get started with Duolingo by learning new vocabulary and gaining skills along the way. Bluebee Pal can provide the audio feedback with the correct pronunciations of the words as the child is practicing and learning the chosen language.
  3. Have a conversation with Bluebee Pal once 3 skills are completed. This is an excellent way to practice conversation with a new language, learn new words that you just learned and turn take with a partner!

 

Bluebee Pals Classroom Apps

Halloween Apps to be used with Early Learners

Bluebee loves Halloween with all its festivities. Dressing up and trying out new roles and rules for pretend play gives kids a chance to take on another’s perspective. Young children often have a blurred line between reality and make-believe, so putting on that princesses dress is the way to being royal – at least for a while. Here are a few of Bluebee’s favorite apps for the season:

The Apps

Peek-a-boo Trick or Treat by Night and Day Studios is a classic app for beginning iPad users. The app itself is an open play invitation to investigate further and gives kids time to process what they need to do to explore the characters inside a haunted house. A gentle tap or swat for kids on the iPad opens a door to a Halloween denizen. The simple but bold graphics on each page enhances vocabulary without unnecessary visual or auditory clutter – making the labels clear. Once the doors are opened, kids are treated to an animation. Repeat play reveals a hint of who is behind the door – and builds good listening skills. I like that you can choose between an adult or child’s voice. Playing the child’s voice through Bluebee provides the child with a reliable friend who helps uncover new learning about the holiday.

Go Away, Big Green Monster! Is an action-packed app that can be Read Along with the exciting author and narrator Ed Emberley, Read Along with a child narrator, Read by Myself, or have the Story Sung in an upbeat jazzy tune.  The benefits of playing this are both learning about the vocabulary to improve body awareness, and also the ability to anticipate and sequence a story. We use this app in therapy all year round as its liveliness is simply infectious.

I look forward to Sago Mini Monsters Halloween update every year. This is an app that can be used for children that have mastered single causation in play, and need more of a challenge. The Halloween version has kids bring up a monster face from the green slime pits. He is then dusted off and painted, given new accouterments, and then feed all sorts of treats and goodies. There is a price to pay – and as Bluebee knows – if you eat a lot of treats, you need to brush your teeth. I love how daily routines are reinforced in this app. Brushing teeth is often hard to incorporate into a young one’s day. And practicing this in-app presents an opportunity to familiarize them with the sequence to the task and make it non-threatening. In Sago Mini Monsters, Bluebee plays the music to the app, helping children to self-regulate and attend through the rhythms presented.

In Summary

These apps are a fun addition to apps to be played with Bluebee Pals during Halloween. Big Green Monster and Sago Mini Monsters can be played year round which adds to their value.

 

Learning about Routines with Heppi’s Bo’s School Day

Bo’s School Day by Heppi is a delightful storybook app detailing the routines of going to school. Kids lead Bo, the giraffe, throughout the day and help him ready for school by packing his lunch and backpack, playing with friends at school, and finally going home with Mommy. Many kids that are beginning school, need that reassurance of a schedule and in particular, when a parent is coming back. Using a story such as this can help alleviate anxiety by letting them know what is to be expected. We’ve had kids use personal visual schedules or classroom schedules on the wall. (Detailed reviews of visual schedules to use with Bluebee Pals and the ins and outs of why kids benefit from schedules will be forthcoming in January when we all start afresh).

Inside Bo’s School Day

Rise and Shine little Bo, it’s your first day of school and that means establishing new routines. The app proceeds through a typical day at preschool. The graphics are bright and cheerful and the narration gentle. When the app is played through Bluebee it’s like getting the skinny on what school is like from a friend. Here are just a few of the many routines of a little one at school.

  • Packing lunch – Bo is up and dressed and readying himself for the day. He makes choices about what to have for lunch and places it in his lunchbox and then his backpack. Giving kids guided choices and responsibilities not only teaches the consequence of making choices but also gives them the tools for later habits for independence.
  • Putting your Coats and Bags Away – is a nice matching activity that also encourages habits for independence.
  • Circle – is a big part of any preschool routine. Days of the week and music time teach about activities and the
  • Outdoor Activities – use early counting and visual motor skills for fun and learning
  • Playtime – includes block design, puzzles, and matching and sorting activities.
In Summary

This an app that will get repeat play from kids just entering school and beyond. Routines are reassuring and help make us feel safe. In addition, it is a great way to explore and practice with a confidant like Bluebee. 

For Bluebee to interact with the Bo’s School Day, follow these steps from HOW IT WORKS on the Home Page of the Bluebee Pals Website.

Pairing Bluebee with your Bluetooth® Device

  • Keep Bluebee Pals and your device within 3ft of each other when pairing.
  • Power on – Open the back panel of Bluebee Pals and slide the Power Switch (1) to ON position. Your Bluebee will say “My name is Bluebee. Please pair and connect me using the Bluetooth® located on your device”.
  • Go to “Settings” on your device, turn on the Bluetooth® function, and search for “Bluebee Pals”.
  • If the pairing is successful, your Bluebee will say “Connection succeeded”.
  • If Bluebee cannot find a device in two minutes, it will say “No one is here, please try again”. Please check your device to make sure it is not connecting to other Bluetooth® equipment.
  • NOTE: Bluebee Pals can only connect with one Bluetooth® device at a time.
  • Bluebee will go into sleep mode if there is no signal for five minutes. Just turn the power OFF and ON, and repeat the connection process.
  • Bluebee remembers the last connected device and will reconnect automatically.

Bluebee will now play with the paired app. Enjoy!!!

All Aboard! Dinosaur Train Classic in the Jurassic, Jr. by PBS Kids

Dinosaur Train Classic in the Jurassic, Jr. by PBS KIDS is a bilingual (Spanish/English) app that teaches spatial relationship skills of matching/sorting, comparing, and measuring. These skills are the foundation for future math skills and scientific inquiry. Dinosaur Train has been a longstanding favorite for kids everywhere, and this app is a favorite of preschoolers. Buddy, the lead character, and friends are in town to help Troodon Town get ready for the Classic in the Jurassic Games. Helping to build housing, bridges, and serve tasty Dinosaur treats are just part of the fun. There are 4 activities and a sticker book that is used as both a reinforcer and for some creative sandbox play. Once kids have mastered the activities, try it in another language to associate familiar concepts while soaking in the rhythm and nuance of hearing it in another tongue.

  • All-Star Sorting promotes visual scanning and discrimination in a vertical plane. The vertical plane or the concept of up and down is one of the first spatial constructs that kids understand. It is also the first stroke that children use when learning how to write. In it, kids place dinosaurs into houses and must judge graduated size. Once the sequence has been set correctly, The Dino’s can go into their huts for a much-needed nap.
  • In Chow Time kids are challenged to balance a scale to feed the hungry workers. Here, big Dinos eat a lot of food, and little ones consume smaller portions. This is a great activity for the everyday routine of learning how to spoon food onto your plate. It is the beginning of learning portion control and presented in a fun and entertaining way.
  • Bridge Builder promotes the measurement of distance or horizontal markings to build a bridge for the Dino’s to cross and meet up with their friends. By presenting the opportunity to drag your finger from left to right kids learn the sequence of beginning counting and numeracy.
  • Track Stars uses shapes in a tangram-like style to build trains. Once done, kids then apply their newly found shape recognition skills to decorate their trains. One cool feature is that you can place the Dinos on the train or take a photo of yourself to ride the train too!
  • The Sticker Book rewards children for their accomplishments in the 4 games. Kids can also access it for free play, take a photo, print it or send it off to Grandma.

With Bluebee paired with the app and being the one giving the direction for play, he serves a supportive bridge to learning. Friends and the companionship they bring, always urge you to be your best.

For Bluebee to interact with the Dinosaur Train Classic in the Jurassic Jr., follow these steps from HOW IT WORKS on the Home Page of the Bluebee Pals Website.

Pairing Bluebee with your Bluetooth® Device

  • Keep Bluebee Pals and your device within 3ft of each other when pairing.
  • Power on – Open the back panel of Bluebee Pals and slide the Power Switch (1) to ON position. Your Bluebee will say “My name is Bluebee. Please pair and connect me using the Bluetooth® located on your device”.
  • Go to “Settings” on your device, turn on the Bluetooth® function, and search for “Bluebee Pals”.
  • If the pairing is successful, your Bluebee will say “Connection succeeded”.
  • If Bluebee cannot find a device in two minutes, it will say “No one is here, please try again”. Please check your device to make sure it is not connecting to other Bluetooth® equipment.
  • NOTE: Bluebee Pals can only connect with one Bluetooth® device at a time.
  • Bluebee will go into sleep mode if there is no signal for five minutes. Just turn the power OFF and ON, and repeat the connection process.
  • Bluebee remembers the last connected device and will reconnect automatically.

Bluebee will now play with the paired app. Enjoy!!!

The Curious Critters Club Interactive Storybooks by YooZoo

The Curious Critters Club began in New Zealand to impart the love of science and the discovery and care of all life. They currently have 2 interactive storybook apps in the series available. These apps are free and created by Yoozoo and La boîte à pitons. The apps encourage exploration of a child’s immediate surroundings and reinforce the care of all creatures. By learning about the life and needs of others, we begin slowly to learn the ability to take another’s perspective. And that is the seed of compassion that is planted and rediscovered on a continuous basis.

Inside Call of the GIANT EAGLE

Call of the GIANT EAGLE written by Julian Stokoe and Illustrated by Steve Wilson is part of the Curious Critters Club Collection by Yoozoo. In this interactive storybook, we get an introduction to the Curious Critters Club by accompanying Niko, Poppy, and the story’s narrator – Alex on an adventure to find the Giant Eagle or “Te Hokoi” in the kauri forests. Te Hokoi is a Maori word and the eagle was thought to be purely mythological until large bones were uncovered supporting their existence. At first, the trio is a little scared, but soon find their natural curiosity propelling them forward on their mission. They find a band of environmental exploiters ravaging the forest after climbing a great tree to look out as to what may be causing loss to the ecosystem. Chupps and his band of rats are destroying the forest to build a luxury castle, and don’t seem to care about the giant eagle’s habitat.

Suddenly, the cry of Te Hokoi is heard. The rats flee, but Chupps persists with Alex hanging in the balance of the old tree. Oh no, he falls! What happens? Is Alex safe? Did he find the Te Hokoi? You’ll need to download to find out.


Inside The Mystery of Caddy

The Curious Critters Club in Canada seeks to find out about The Mystery of CADDY. It is written by Alain Bergeron and illustrated by Steve Wilson and brought to app form by Yoozoo. Friends Elliot and Emma explore their environs to find Caddy, a most strange and mysterious creature that hides in the waters of Cadboro Bay. The Caddy or Cadborosaurus an animal with the body of a sea serpent and the head of a horse. He hasn’t really been spotted yet, but that doesn’t stop this pair from their mission of discovering new species or verifying creatures from myth and legend.

And so, their journey begins with the recent newspaper report of a possible sighting of the Cadborosaurus. Out on the Bay by the edge of the woods, they encounter tracks…and NOT from Caddy, but a mother BEAR and her cubs. An ANGRY MOTHER BEAR – OH NO!!! They are trapped until…A powerful shadow behind scares the bear away. Was it Caddy? All they spot on their boat is the notorious Captain Grouper making off with Caddy in his net. Can they save their new-found hero from his clutches? Download this delightful story now to find out, and maybe you and Bluebee form your own Curious Critters Club right in your own home!

Bluebee loves hearing stories about animals of the earth, sea, and sky. And wants all children to love and respect the earth and all creatures that live there.  For Bluebee to interact with the Curious Critters Club, follow these steps from HOW IT WORKS on Bluebee Pals Website.

Pairing Bluebee with your Bluetooth® Device

  • Keep Bluebee Pals and your device within 3ft of each other when pairing.
  • Power on – Open the back panel of Bluebee Pals and slide the Power Switch (1) to ON position. Your Bluebee will say “My name is Bluebee. Please pair and connect me using the Bluetooth® located on your device”.
  • Go to “Settings” on your device, turn on the Bluetooth® function, and search for “Bluebee Pals”.
  • If the pairing is successful, your Bluebee will say “Connection succeeded”.
  • If Bluebee cannot find a device in two minutes, it will say “No one is here, please try again”. Please check your device to make sure it is not connecting to other Bluetooth® equipment.
  • NOTE: Bluebee Pals can only connect with one Bluetooth® device at a time.
  • Bluebee will go into sleep mode if there is no signal for five minutes. Just turn the power OFF and ON, and repeat the connection process.
  • Bluebee remembers the last connected device and will reconnect automatically.

Bluebee will now play with the paired app. Enjoy!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking with Bluebee Pal, 5 Apps to Teach your Child Food Preparation

Do you want to teach your child to be more independent in the kitchen? How about helping them to prepare and purchase food? Dinner preparation can be a very busy and stressful time for parents due to homework, after-school activities, sports, etc. Often, we rush through preparing our meals to just get the food on the table. Teaching your child food preparation can not only be a fun and bonding activity, it can also help target language and learning goals.

Bluebee Pals Plush Tech Educational Learning Tool

Language concepts such as expanding vocabulary, following directions, recalling information and sequencing are just a few goals to start with! Bluebee Pal can help by providing that extra level of entertainment and engagement with your child. With these apps suggested below, your child will become a little chef in your kitchen! The key to carrying over these skills is by playing the apps with your child together when learning the app and then engaging in the same steps at home in your own kitchen. Labeling specific modes of cooking can be helpful. For example, when your child is microwaving a vegetable in Toca Kitchen, say “I see that you are using the microwave to cook the vegetable. Where is our microwave?”

 

Sidechef App: SideChef makes cooking accessible, easy and fun at any skill level by providing the user with step-by-step photos, instructions, and voice commands. This free app includes over 3500 step by step recipes and a homepage that changes daily with helpful tips. Each recipe has an integrated timer and allows for hands-free cooking with the timer and audio feature. To learn more about how to use Side Chef with your child and Bluebee Pal, click here.

 

A Day in the Market app: A Day in the Market (Araw sa Palengke) a story app that is about little girl’s very first trip to the market with her mother. The market is an exciting cultural adventure as she meets lively vendors, see a variety of foods and items and finds a special item that she wants! This story can help give a child background in purchasing foods for a special meal. For an additional $2.99, you get access to the book in two other languages, a sorting game and interactive scenes that bring the book to life. The story and illustrations were tested with more than a hundred schoolchildren who gave their feedback and thoughts about the story and art. To learn more about how to use this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.

 

Ice Cream and Smoothies Panda Shop app. It’s never too cold for ice and smoothies! Healthy breakfast smoothies can be an excellent way to get your child to start their day off right. This app allows a child to manage their own shop and make their customers happy by customizing each order. The player will be able to choose your favorite shapes, fruits, and flavors with more than 10 choices. The app will also help a child learn specific flavors and different fruits which can help build vocabulary and learn the various foods within the category of fruit. Other categories include shapes, appliances and other food groups such as dairy (e.g. milk). It will also help with sequencing, following directions, prediction, categorization, and learning simple actions (cut, scoop, blend, eat, etc.). After playing this app, make your own smoothies in the kitchen for breakfast. To learn more about this app and how to use Bluebee Pal with it, click here. 

Dr. Panda’s Restaurant Asia: Learn all about how to prepare Asian food with Dr. Panda Restaurant Asia app! As the character enters the restaurant, Dr. Panda greets his first customer. How will Dr. Panda prepare the food? Should he chop the food first? After chopping the vegetables, Dr. Panda will help you through the next steps of the recipe. By paying attention to Dr. Panda’s nonverbal language (nodding his head yes or no), your child will figure out the steps of the recipe. Will the customer like the food? Find out by playing this app with your child! To learn more about how to use his app with Bluebee Pal, click here: https://www.bluebeepals.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=32319&action=edit

Toca Kitchen: Toca Kitchen is an excellent app to help teach your child about the different types of food preparation. When the game opens up, you have the ability to choose a character and then prepare food for them. First, you choose a food from the fridge and then it’s time to prepare! Choose from chopping, blending, boiling, sautéing or microwaving! Your child will be an expert in the kitchen after playing with this app. To learn how to use this app with Bluebee Pal, click here: https://www.bluebeepals.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=32319&action=edit

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