Learning Time with a Bluebee Pal

Learning Telling Time with Bluebee Pal

Todo Telling Time is an educational and interactive app for children K-2 that helps facilitate learning of time concepts. This 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 on 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! 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!
  2. With the time 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.
  3. 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!

 

Using the Topics Page with Snap and Core First and Bluebee Pal

Snap and Core First by 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:

  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 for the Holiday Season!

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- 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

Dr. Panda Restaurant Asia App

Learn all about how to prepare Asian food with Dr. Panda Restaurant Asia app!  How will Dr. Panda prepare the food? With over 20 ingredients to choose from, the player will get the opportunity to make a variety of food choices including stir fry, sushi, soup and more! Key features include the ability to chop, boil, fry, blend and much more! When playing this app, the player will get the opportunity to experiment with cooking given no limit constraints and learn nonverbal cues of the customers to see if they are enjoying their food or not.

In the beginning of the game, the customer enters the restaurant, Dr. Panda opens the door and greets his first customer. As the customer sits down, the bubble will give you a clue about what he wants to eat. Will it be soup, sushi or stir fry? You have to play to find out! As Dr. Panda enters the kitchen, all of his ingredients are in front of him. It’s up to the child to follow the steps to the recipe.

For example, when making sushi, the seaweed and rice are available. When following the steps of seaweed and rice, the fish becomes available to place on top of the rice. This app is excellent for sequencing and learning the steps to preparing food! Does your customer like cucumber, shrimp or a different type of fish for dinner? Roll it up and then chop!  Add a little seasoning for that final touch! It’s ready to be served. After feeding your customer, you will know from their reaction whether they liked it or not and what their preferences are.

Bluebee will make this activity super fun by providing the sound effects, music and some of the limited speech in the app!

  1. Connect your Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth to your favorite tablet.
  2. Get started! As the customer enters the restaurant, you will hear Bluebee greet the customer by providing the audio feedback. As the child is playing the game, Bluebee will provide the music in the background. By playing this game, the child will begin to learn the nonverbal cues of Dr. Panda and the customer.
  3. Practice nonverbal cues with Bluebee Pal! Nod his head up and down for yes and back and forth for no. Practice with Bluebee Pal by offering him food and determining if he likes it or not. This can be an excellent way to engage in pretend play as well as learn nonverbal communication.

Toca Kitchen App and Bluebee Pals

Toca Kitchen is an app to help your child explore cooking in a fun and nonmessy environment! Does your child or student even want to play with their food? When you open the app, you choose one of out of four characters. Once you choose a character, you have the choice of selecting one of twelve different ingredients from the refrigerator. How will you prepare these ingredients? There are 180 different ways that you can prepare these foods! Explore the process of slicing, boiling, frying, cooking, microwaving and mixing all in one app. Is your child a vegetarian? You can even switch the mode to vegetarian.

This app is an excellent way. One of the best parts of the app is feeding the food to your customer. Will they like it or hate it? How can you tell? The app is also an excellent way to work on facial expressions and nonverbal communication. Toca Kitchen is also an excellent way to explore food groups, various actions, and sequencing. For more fun with Toca Boca and cooking, check out Toca Kitchen 2 app!

 

Let Bluebee in the kitchen for some fun cooking together!

  1. Connect your Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth. Let the fun begin!
  2. Bluebee Pal will now provide the music in the background as well as the sound effects of the various cooking preparations and the vocal expressions from the characters.
  3. Try role-playing with Bluebee Pal with pretend food. Use toys to imitate the various food preparations and let Bluebee join in on the cooking and tasting of the foods. Will Bluebee like the foods that are prepared? How can you tell? Although Bluebee can’t change their expression, use language to express their feelings on the food. Words such as “I like that” or “Yuck!” are good ways to tell if they like the food or not. A head nod can also be a sure sign of a good meal!

Get Busy with Busy Shapes and Colors!

Busy Shapes and Colors from Edoki blends shape recognition and color awareness. By adding attributes, whether beginning with colors or shapes, the app naturally expands vocabulary by defining objects in more detail through the development of spatial discrimination and awareness. Too often, we teach attributes in isolation and forget to make it applicable to daily life. It’s that applicability that makes language a living source for communicating and makes the lessons stick. This finely crafted app has 3 tiers or scaffolds. Kids can begin to learn about colors, shapes, or a combination of the two. At the highest level, the demand incorporates increased challenges for thinking and motor planning. Its beauty is its open invitation to play. And once kids engage, they instantaneously become absorbed in this incredibly addictive app.

 

As with all Edoki apps, teaching can be customized to increase the complexity of the task as kids gain competencies. Something new in this “Busy” series is the addition of comical penguins that serve as a sensory break or reinforcement to continue play. The rate of reinforcement can be adjusted in settings that are protected behind a parental gate.

Gameplay is similar to Busy Shapes 1 & 2 where kids sink their shapes into an appropriate hole. However, in Busy Shapes and Colors, there is labeling of the name of the shape and/or color. There are no other extraneous sounds – such as the hooting and hollering found in other apps that seem insincere or distract kids from the given task. I find it a privilege to play this series with kids as you can really get a handle as to both their thought processes/problem-solving abilities as well as see learning unfold before you.

In addition to the cognitive and language gains kids acquire from playing this game, they also receive practice in visual targeting, crossing midline, and isolating their index or other digits. When the app is paired with Bluebee, kids have a friend that gives them encouragement to keep them on task – and that is what is at the heart of learning – the love and encouragement that promotes the internal drive to learn.

 

Storytime with Bluebee Pal and Nick Jr. Books

Nick Jr. Books app is a collection of digital books featuring stories from the most popular Nick Jr friends, including PAW Patrol, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Bubble Guppies, Dora the Explorer, Dora and Friends, SpongeBob SquarePants, Team Umizoomi, Wallykazam, and Blues Clues. Within each ebook, there are 3 reading modes including auto-read, read-aloud and read myself. Interactive effects and character animations are included on every page.

 

 

This app includes parent tips and reading comprehension questions that help children expand on vocabulary. The app is free to download, and comes with 3 free books: Blaze: Blaze of Glory, PAW Patrol: Pup, Pup, and Away, and Team Umizoomi – Carnival. With an in-app purchase, you can buy 49 additional books. Other features include a parents section for account management and app settings, daytime, and nighttime modes, interactive elements on every page, reinforcement for reading each book, developing Spanish reading skills with 4 Dora books in Spanish and offline reading.

 

Let Bluebee be the storyteller when using this app!

  1. Once connected to Bluetooth, your Bluebee Pal will be ready to read each book and share in the excitement of the interactive effects on each page. When reading this book, the app highlights each word as it’s being read, which helps build a child’s print referencing skills.
  2. Bluebee Pal can encourage your child by giving verbal reinforcement through the app. With each book written, another star is earned!
  3. Help your child learn Spanish by exposing him to her to a book read in Spanish. If your child loves Dora, he or she listen to the book being read in Spanish by Bluebee Pal!

August 2017: Apps from Mrs. Wagner’s Class

It’s back to school time! We have some new, enjoyable apps on our classroom iPad to share with you!

 

SPOTLIGHT APPLively Letters – Phonemic Awareness & Phonics by Telian-Cas Learning Concepts Inc

Lively Letters is an exciting new app developed to teach letter sounds. This app goes beyond traditional drill and practice, by actually teaching letter recognition using memory skills, hand and mouth cues, and songs associated with each letter.

Letters are taught through the use of colorful alphabet letters which have been individually embedded with memorable characters. There are three activities to choose from Flashing, Tracking, and Matching. In the flashing activity, a thorough explanation of how to produce each letter is provided, along with an associated hand/mouth cue, and a matching song for the letter. Each letter is represented by a character, and the story behind each letter provides visual memory cues to help remember the letter name.  There is also a letter tracing task!  In the flashing task, up to 10 consonants and vowels may be selected to work with. Students investigate letters to create both real and nonsense words. There is a letter tracing feature here also, along with space to draw a picture of a created word. In the matching task, students tap letters to make matches, while practicing producing the sounds they make.

The app tracks progress and allows for customization in choosing the type of letters to use (character letters vs plain letters), and background theme. A recording feature is provided so that the child can practice saying sounds and words. This app is a stand-alone companion to the Lively Letters program.

What a great little jewel to teach foundational sound-symbol association skills. Plus, you can connect your Bluebee Pal for extra fun during the sing-a-longs and sound production practice!


 

The Adventures of the Three Little Pigs by Irene Deev

My students love storybooks, and this one is a new favorite.  This is the traditional tale of the little piggies’ encounters with the big ‘ole bad wolf, told with a modern twist. The story is interactive and, of course, has a happy ending. There are random interactive questions during the story that my students like to watch for. It is a winner when  Bluebee reads to my kids!

 

 


 

Tiggly Chef Addition: Preschool Math Cooking Game by Tiggly

In our classroom, we love Tiggly! Learn early addition facts while you assist the Chef in following directions and counting out ingredients to create clever, outlandish dishes! Features 3 different kitchens with math skills progressing in difficulty. This app is lots of fun for learning beginning addition skills! This app can be used with or without the Tiggly Learning System manipulatives for iPad. My kids get s kick out of it!

 

 


 

Think & Learn Code-a-pillar™ by Fisher-Price

Computers are here to stay, and it is a great idea to start kids out learning the basic concepts of coding. In this app, children use thinking, problem solving, memory and math skills to help Code-a-pillar follow a path to navigate obstacles and complete a maze. The difficulty of play increases as you master each maze. Engaging, child-friendly graphics and great directions during gameplay make this a winner!

 

 

 

Phone Calls with Elmo and Bluebee Pal

Elmo Calls is a fun and interactive app for young children that are just learning how to make phone calls. This app, which is priced at $1.99, is endless fun for Elmo lovers! The conversations with Elmo can help teach your child about healthy habits, self-confidence, and letters. Included in the app is a parent section for accessing, favoriting, scheduling and adding calls. With this app, your child can pick up the phone, receive video calls, audio calls and get a voicemail from Elmo. Your child can even call Elmo themselves! Once you tap “yes” to allowing the app permission to access the video, your child can see themselves in a video chat with Elmo. The free and in-app purchases include scripts and routines that can be helpful for typical kids as well as children with special needs.

This app can help engage a child in more exploratory play, practice listening skills and sing along with Elmo. Your child can also learn early skills in having a simple phone conversation by practicing with their favorite character. With the original purchase, the pack includes 13 calls for you and your child to enjoy right away! Additional call packs for purchase include Firsts and Celebrations, Elmo is Proud of You, Feelings, ABCs, Special Visits, Holidays, You can Do it, Sing with Elmo, Happy Habits, Laugh with Elmo and Playdate with Elmo (which is free).

 

Invite Bluebee Pal to make phone calls with you! There are several different options for this app and Bluebee Pal. I will mention a couple of different ways of incorporating Bluebee Pal.

Once Bluebee is connected to the device with this app, he will take on the voice of Elmo. How silly of Bluebee to have Elmo’s voice! This can help engage a child and stay focused on hearing Elmo’s voice coming out of Bluebee Pal’s mouth.

  1. Let Bluebee speak to Elmo! With this option, you would need an additional iPad with a communication app installed. When it’s time to video chat, take a video of Bluebee Pal and with the communication app installed on the additional iPad (with the Bluebee Pal attached via Bluetooth), Bluebee can provide the voice for the various conversations. How exciting to see Elmo and Bluebee having a conversation!
  2. Having a fun and engaging conversation with Elmo can help improve a child’s ability to take turns in conversation, answer questions, comment and greet. With the additional in-app purchase of more conversations, the possibilities are endless for a young child and Bluebee!

Bluebee Pal meets Julia from Sesame Street

Welcome, Julia to Sesame Street with this free and informative app from Sesame Street. Julia is the newest character on Sesame Street and she has Autism. Included in this free and interactive app, there is information for parents to read and learn and then share with their children. There are numerous videos and articles for parents that can be helpful and provide a family with important resources. The information is also beneficial for those that want to learn more about Autism. Being sensitive to other peoples feelings and perspectives with regard to their children are important issues that both parents and children need to consider. The app also includes the storybook, We’re Amazing, 1,2,3!  

 

There are also videos included in the app such as Benny’s Story and The “Amazing” Song which help explain Autism in a way that young children can understand. Additionally, there are articles about siblings and tips on being a good friend to a child with Autism. There is also a provider guide to creating Autism Friendly Events which can be helpful to many adults planning specific events either at the home, in the community or at a school. To learn more about this app, check out my review on my blog here.

Bluebee Pal can be a key player in this app!

  1. After connecting with your Bluebee Pal explore the app! Choose a video for kids, daily routine cards or the storybook. Watch the videos with your children with Bluebee providing the voice in the background. This is a perfect opportunity to add that extra level of engagement to the activity. The app is easy to navigate between activities, which makes it easy for both the child and parent.
  2. Bluebee can help with the routine cards included in the app. The routine cards include brushing your teeth, going to a restaurant, morning routine, crossing the street, going to the store, bedtime routines, trying a new food and washing hands. Each card provides a visual and verbal prompt that Bluebee will be reading to your child!
  3. The storybook, which can also be read by Bluebee Pal stars the famous Elmo, Abby and their friend Julia, who has Autism. Together the friends have a wonderful play date together!

Learn Categories with Bluebee and the Splingo app

Categories with Splingo is an excellent therapy tool from the authors of the Splingo series of Speech and Language Therapy apps. This app, which was created by speech and language pathologists uses colorful and engaging images with fun and interactive play to learn important category concepts. Categorization is important academically and also for more effective communication. This can be even more important for children with complex communication needs who rely on learning specific categories to communicate more efficiently. Multiple categories are available to select from including animals, transport, clothing, food, drink, toys, sports, musical instruments, furniture and body parts. The audio reinforcement helps children to focus and correct responses that are inaccurate. The written word can also be visible to help support reading comprehension.

 

  1. Connect your Bluebee Pal with your device via Bluetooth.
  2. Go to settings and choose the categories you want to target. You can choose all our some a select few of the categories to begin with and Splingo will track your progress.
  3. Once you hit “play”, you will hear Bluebee Pal say “put everything in the right place”. When you drag the item to the right category, you will hear positive audio reinforcement. When you drag a picture to the wrong category, you will hear “I’m sure that’s not right” or another cue that indicates that it’s the wrong category. With Bluebee Pal and the Categories with Splingo app, the user can learn functional categories and have fun in the process!

Cooking with Bluebee Pal and the 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. Once you create a user, you can save your favorite recipes or even share a recipe collection of your own. The app gives the user the ability to search and browse by one single ingredient, keyword, diet, cuisine or interest. Once you set up an account, you can upload and share your own recipes! Sidechef can also adjust the serving size and the ingredients will convert automatically.

 

Although this app was created for a home cook that wants a hands-free experience off their device when cooking, it can be ideal to use with children with special needs. For those individuals who struggle with reading and want to actively participate in cooking, this app allows you to listen to the directions and read the instructions at the same time. This helps build literacy skills and improves an individual’s ability to follow directions and improve sequencing. It will also help expand vocabulary and improve recall by reviewing the steps at the end of the recipe.

Bluebee Pal loves to cook! SideChef is a perfect cooking companion app for this plush tool!

  1. Connect your Bluebee Pal to your device.
  2. Bluebee Pal will automatically give you the step by step instructions for choosing the recipe of your choice. Bluebee Pal will also keep you focused on providing the audio cue of a timer so you can proceed to the next step.
  3. Don’t want to hear the computerized voice? Record your own voice in your recipes! This app can be endless fun with Bluebee Pal by either choosing from the thousands of recipes that are included with the app or creating your own with Bluebee Pal! What recipe will you choose? Will it be a sweet dessert like meringues or a savory and healthy snack like Peri Peri Oven-Baked Carrot Fries?

 

 

Learning Phonics with Phonics Genius App

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.

 

This allows the user to customize the app for each person’s learning style. There is an opportunity for review by providing quizzes that range from easy to challenging. With this free app, you can add your own cards, new lists and each word can be customized (font size, font color, and spelling). You can also control the speed of the cards so you can go as slow or fast as you desire.

Welcome, Bluebee Pal to the learning literacy experience!

  1. Connect Bluebee Pal to your device. Bluebee can join in the fun with learning phonics by repeating the words when the child activates each word.
  2. Record your own voice with the words! Instead of hearing the text of speech voice for each word, use this opportunity to record your own voice saying the word. Then when you touch the word, Bluebee Pal will say the word in your voice!
  3. Bluebee Pal can help you review the words at the end with the interactive quizzes. Bluebee will say the word and then it’s the child’s turn to test out their knowledge. Bluebee Pal makes this process of learning phonics fun and interactive!

Apps for Calming after a Busy Day

Self-Calming is an art that is taught. In our over-stimulating world, kids can get quite overloaded with the constant bombardment of sensory input. When in this state of over-arousal, the body goes into a state of stress called fight or flight. The fight or flight response keeps us ready and alert for possible dangers in our environment whether it’s real or imagined. If exposed repeatedly, kids use this as a baseline state and have difficulty paying attention and learning, completing tasks, and relaxing enough to fall asleep. So how do you recalibrate that thermostat?

Inside the Apps

Breathe In by Hi Mom S.A.S. is an app meant for the iPhone® but works well on the iPad® too. It was brought to my attention by Omazing Kids LLC, and for that, I am grateful. It consists of 5 breathing exercises that can be done with Bluebee. Bluebee will not only voice the directions but also gives children the calming input of deep pressure from a deep pressure squeeze to ensure listening. That is the same input as a hug, and it is also why hugs feel good. The five breathing exercises include:

  • Equal Breathing to Reduce Stress
  • Abdominal Breathing to Strengthen the Diaphragm
  • An exercise to slow the breath to help fall asleep
  • Pursed Lip Breathing to Control Shortness of Breath
  • Calming Breath to Reduce Anxiety

There is lovely environmental music that can be toggled off, but it does extend the session’s exercise a bit. If this is on mobile, it can be used anywhere, anytime. And if practiced, the music will cue everyone to begin the techniques on their own. The app recommends initially trying the exercises lying down, to help support the body while learning the technique.

Windy ~ Sleep Relax Meditate & white noise sounds is one of my favorite “chill” listening soundscapes by Franz Bruckhoff. He has a series that will fit anyone’s most relaxing sounds. Some like a Windy day, others prefer Rainstorms, and still, others prefer the quiet of the woodlands. Ambient environmental sounds work by creating space and allowing time to relax and catch your breath. The thing that makes these soundscapes rock is that they can be tailored to individual tastes in the settings section. Does the sound of crickets drive you crazy? Well, turn them off! Do you like a babbling brook? Turn it up! The important thing is to respect the choice of a child, and not dictate what you prefer – which can be hard to do at times. There are surprises locked inside the app for listening and participating too. Windy is comprised of 4 “chapters” giving families a variety of soundscapes to choose from – or choose one of the others from the collection.

In Summary

These are just a few of the apps used for learning to self-calm with Bluebee. Bluebee is always there as best friends tend to be – to lend comfort and a warm hug after a blustery day.

 

Ring Ring…It’s Elmo or Cookie Monster Calling

Sesame Street Workshop continually produces apps that quickly become classics, and are in every therapist’s toolbox. Two standard apps are Cookie Monster Calls and Elmo Calls. Whenever I am trying to engage an emergent learner in reciprocal play, I have used these two apps, and continue to use them on a nearly daily basis. They never fail to get engagement and when kids share the experience with a facilitator – whether it be a nurse, teacher, or therapist it is SPECTACULAR! So, what makes these apps so cool?

Inside Elmo Calls

First and foremost is that the demand for engagement is equivalent to the developmental level of the child playing. So many times, people expect young children to jump and hurdle forth with concepts and performance when they are not developmentally ready. These little apps only ask for inputting the initiation phase of conversation which is equivalent to basic cause and effect play or the beginning requirement for using a switch. That is square one in which to build a foundation for further communication. There is no demand for more as Cookie or Elmo fill in the gaps with their classic witty repartee.  One of the best aspects of these two apps is that a child can see him/herself in a little square in the corner – somewhat like Facetime or Skype. This little addition puts the child directly into the conversation. It not only sets them up as – a priority-1 in a communicational volley but also makes it more real by blurring that line between fantasy and real-life interactions. AND just like Mom or Dad, Cookie and Elmo do leave voicemails. It really comes down to feeling acknowledged as a contributor to a conversation. One of my fondest memories of using these apps is a little boy who had never been outside a hospital or residential environment. He was on a ventilator and could not breathe on his own or speak. He could observe staff and families on the phone and desperately wanted to take part in this kind of activity. When he heard the phone ring on the app and answered it, saw himself in the corner of the iPad talking with Elmo, it was truly magic.  There are only a few responses from the characters, but it has never gotten old. Most kids love the predictability and learn the sequencing of a phone call from the repetition. Sesame Street Workshop has always maintained the highest standards in respecting a child’s intelligence and belief in their abilities to respond and learn. And that is why I return to Sesame Street again and again.

In Summary

Pairing Bluebee with these apps can either be done through the Bluetooth speaker embedded in a Bluebee Pal or to not use the speaker at all. Bluebee can simply bear witness to a child’s popularity of receiving a call from Elmo or Cookie. And how grand is that?

Sesame Street – the App

Sesame Street by Sesame Street gives kids unlimited access to video clips and mini-games with all your favorite characters. Bluebee couldn’t have more fun with your child than this! The two together can explore hundreds of videos and games covering everything a preschooler (and their parents) could wish for: ABC’s, music, movement, daily routines, and games. When my sons were young, we loved the songs, and I was thrilled to see some of our family favorites from back in the day. “I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon” and “It’s not Easy Being Green” – both still stop all of us in our tracks for a closer listen. It is such a joy to see these classics alive again and loved by new generations. The Art work is Sesame Street at its best – bright, cheerful, and uplifting. Transitioning to a tablet has not dimmed or faded any of the older videos.

Inside Sesame Street

On opening the app, there are several options for interaction and kids are free to select what interests them. The selection buttons are large and just the right size for little fingers. This helps kids become more independent and confident in learning to make a decision. By selecting a character such as Elmo, a huge variety of videos will pop up. Once selected, each video or game is short. This is in accordance with the attention span of a toddler or young preschooler. One of the reasons I love Sesame Street is that they always respect children and relate to their abilities. Each video or game has a theme or lesson to help your child learn – whether it’s about healthy choices, respect for others, or academics. There is an added feature to register on Sesamestreet.org for activities such as printables, coloring sheets, and toolkits that cover diverse topics important to kids and families. It is through play with these videos and games that kids learn by motor imitation and begin to sequence language in a subtle no stress environment. If you have a TV that can cast from your iPad, it would be such a treat to see and dance to songs on the big screen. Although there are no ads, IAPs, or links to social media – this is one app I would gladly pay for add-on packs or a subscription for rotating content. I would love to see the King Tut Video or Put Down the Duckie as those were just ripe for getting up and moving. This app is highly recommended – and saving the best for last is that this app is a gift to kids everywhere. There is no charge for the app or its content. On the website, there is a space for donating to Sesame Street, and I can’t think of a worthier cause. Available on iOS.

Billy’s Coin Visits the Zoo App

Billy’s Coin Visits the Zoo by Spinlight Studios is an interactive storybook that has become a preschool standard. All the features that we love in storybook apps are present…original story and creative design, professional narration with highlighted text, and the ability to find and learn something new in each retelling. In addition, beautiful graphics, realistic animal sounds, and rhyming verse makes this book a winner. The artwork is beautifully detailed in fabric collage and sculpture that adds depth and a sense that the story is happening in the here and now.

Each page has an activity that facilitates attention by drawing kids into the story and allowing them to become a part of it. The story proceeds from activity completion rather than page turning arrows and reinforces comprehension. I love the fact that there is a beginning, middle, and end of each page, and kids get to practice listening for direction before acting.

A Look Inside Billy’s Coin Visits the Zoo

Under settings, kids can choose a male or female voice in having the story read to them or select  “Read by Myself”. As the story opens, Billy’s mom has given him a coin to spend at the zoo but drops it down a drain. Children then follow and direct the coin throughout the zoo, giving this book a twist on the perspective of visiting the zoo.

The coin visits 12 different animals – monkeys, an alligator, a toucan, a kangaroo, and others. The animals one-by-one reject the coin and flip, spit out or toss it out of their cage where it is received by another. In the end, a seal bounces it in the air, where Billy finds it much to his delight. He then uses his coin as an animal toy.

In “The End” fun facts about the animals appear with the bought toy, and you have a chance of collecting all 12 of them with each retelling of the story. The app not only teaches about the temporal aspects of play, but also helps teach self-regulation, impulse control, and listening to direction. This interactive storybook is truly infectious and original.

In Summary

Reading the book with Bluebee lends itself to all sorts of ideas for extending play. Set Bluebee IN the zoo, and have him ask questions of all the animals in your child’s room. Or take Bluebee to the Zoo!

This review was adapted from an original post by Jo Booth OTR/L on TWA

Have Fun Creating with Cubic Frogs’ iMake Ice Pops

What could be better on a hot summer’s day than making ice pops? In Cubic Frogs’ iMake Ice Pops kids get to try their hand at creating all sorts of yummy treats for everyone in the family. The app allows for complete autonomy for little ones to experiment with colors and shapes in a fun-filled activity that is easy to navigate. In addition, for the parents of picky eaters or sensory sensitive kids, this app is a way to not only introduce the idea new foods and flavors through play but may also habituate a child enough to the notion of actually trying ice pops or fruit flavors.

On opening, kids can choose between three different styles of ice pops to make. A single ice pop swirled pops or double pops. Each section becomes a little more complex in demands and keeps the app fresh and inviting for repeat play. After a pop’s shape is decided upon, it’s time to fill it up with a wide variety of fruit flavors and a few standards such as chocolate and caramel. There are 18 different flavors to choose from, and the pops are filled realistically from the bottom-up bringing in a subtle lesson on the qualities of spatial orientation and relationships with items within a toddler’s or preschooler’s environment. “When we pour liquids, they go to the bottom of the pop.” This may seem obvious to an older child or adult, but younger toddlers are often fascinated by these facts. For some, it may be their first experience with planning out a design – and how cool is that? Next, up is selecting a stick, be it plain or fancy. Then into the freezer, it goes! The wonderful display of the timer really hits a home run in teaching kids to wait. Waiting is a crucial skill for all of us and helps us to attune to the environment for information. After the frozen treat is finished freezing, decorating can begin! Coatings, funny faces, candy and letters can adorn the pops for customizing the treats even more. Eating or sharing your treat with Bluebee can be done on a swing, at a picnic table or in the kitchen! Eating the pops with a trusted friend, like Bluebee, makes the experience that much more grand! There is a surprise inside every pop to share with Bluebee, family, and friends. I won’t reveal what it is…you’ll have to enjoy a pop or two to find out!

 

Apps from Mrs. Wagner’s Classroom July 2017

 

Boo Articulation Helper-Train Speech Sounds:

 For the child who is having difficulty producing single consonant sounds, this is a fun, easy to use app that your young child will enjoy. Boo the frog will help you practice speech sounds, then help you practice them in the initial position of syllables. Select a sound, drag it into the sound box, and Boo will say it for you. As he says the sound, his mouth moves and shows the user how to make the sound using tongue and lips!  You can play the sound fast or slow, and have Boo repeat multiple times for auditory bombardment and visualization. Now, Choose an ending vowel sound to create a syllable, and Boo will blend the sounds for you to practice.  Your child can record and playback practices!  For even more fun, pair your favorite Bluebee Pal with the app and he can be the teacher as he speaks for Boo!

 

Thinkrolls Logic and Physics Puzzles for Kids:

If you haven’t tried this app yet, your kids will be in for an A-“maze”-ing treat! It will keep them engaged for hours of play….and the best thing about it is that not only will they have fun playing, they will be building thinking, logic, memory, and problem-solving skills at the same time. The app features delightful characters who kids must maneuver through physics-based tasks to complete a puzzle maze. The completion of one maze leads to the next!  If you make a wrong move, it’s easy to start the level over without losing your place! There are plenty of levels, and each one builds upon the next.  Levels include cookies, crates, balloons, rocks, jellies, fire, and elevators. There are unlimited trials and no penalties during play.  This app is totally 100% irresistible! My students love it! Plus, there is also a Thinkrolls 2.  Your kids will want both!

 

Feed Me! (US English) – PencilBot School Pack by Edutainment Resources, Inc.

Feed Me offers lots and lots of fun comprehensive practice in basic preschool and kindergarten foundational skills! Featuring 34 concepts and over 40 skills, along with 600 questions,  there is something for everyone! Players feed a cute little monster the food he is thinking of, and then watch him gobble it up! Practice math, letters and sounds, opposites, rhyming, feelings, animals and their homes, weather, healthy habits, colors and shapes, and more!  Connect to your Bluebee Pal and he can make the gobbling sound! There are so many subjects to choose from and to explore. Plus, progress is tracked for you!

 

Grandma’s Beach Fun by Fairlady Media:

Nothing says summertime like a trip to the beach, either real or imagined! Join Grandma and take a summer adventure! Play 7 educational games!  Beach Gear, Airplane Rhymes, Beach Art, Umbrella Matching, Coconut  Math, Word Find Puzzle, and Tide Pool Critters! Waterski with Grandpa, create a fireworks show, and watch videos of beach wildlife and water sports! Enjoy lots of fast-paced fun while learning! Connect with your Bluebee Pal, who can play Grandma!

 

3 Apps for Creating Fireworks for the Fourth!

Fireworks Lab by Cowly Owl is a sure-fire winner for little creators. Gameplay is straightforward and easy to use. On opening the screen the app displays a number of place markers for making a safe firework display, and by tapping on a drop pin, the fun begins! Kids are then transitioned to a screen displaying 4 different firework styles to design. Designing these adorable animated little fellows makes it friendly and fun. Kids feed these fired-up chaps both color and an overlay design. There are 4 designs and 5 placeholders, and this encourages sustained attention to get to the end. Finally, all that hard work at the fireworks factory has paid off and it’s show time! There is no greater joy than watching a child create something and observing their interaction. This little game is highly addictive, whimsical and just plain fun. There are no IAPs or ads.

Fireworks Tap by Jesse Potter is a delightful app for early learners. Just by tapping the screen little ones set off a series of fun animated fireworks complete with real sound effects. The benefits? For kids just learning to point and isolate their index fingers, Fireworks Tap provides them plenty of practice to hone this skill. The emergence of a child being able to point is a blessing for many parents. When children begin to point, they are establishing communicative intent, and that often leads to decreased frustration. In addition, children with auditory sensitivities’ can often habituate through play and control in the app when the sound comes. By familiarizing themselves with the unexpected and surprising sounds, it may help them remain calm during the real festivities. There are no IAPs or ads in this app – which makes it a winner in my book!

Real Fireworks Artwork 4-in-1 HD 2012 – Play Awesome Light Show, Enjoy Fun Visualizer… by INNOVATTY is an older app, but one that is a standard in many therapist’s toolboxes. It’s easy to use, the graphics are professionally rendered, and it comes with a cool firework drawing pad and the ability to save pictures to share with grandma and grandpa. What makes this app rock is the settings panel. There are many options to this little app, from autoplay for improving visual attention to artist mode where kids draw their own displays. Every detail of input can be tweaked or monitored. Tips for use – buy the full version, so you don’t get ads interrupting play, stay close as there are links to social media and additional apps that I have not been able to turn off. Once in-app, however; kids are not usually drawn to the bottom of the screen to toggle these settings.

Setting up these apps with Bluebee can be a choice of either pairing with the app and playing the sound effects through Bluebee or having Bluebee be a friend whose gentle presence encourages participation. If you do use Bluebee’s remarkable ability to sound out the fireworks, Bluebee can be placed anywhere in the room to help kids tolerate sound from a variety of positions in space or sources which may desensitize to unique auditory input.

Have a Hearty Sing-Out with Wee Sing America!

Wee Sing America by Wee Sing is the perfect way to gear kids up for the 4th of July. It’s fun to learn a bit about American history through songs and quotes. Most of the songs are traditional standards, simple to learn, and are ripe for movement and play ideas. Our Bluebee loves to sing, and in addition, he passes down regional dialects and how the nation became the United States of America. Some of my fondest memories of the 4th of July is singing some of these old tunes and watching my sons waving their flags and sparklers high in the air. There is nothing like the feeling of marching or running around the yard with a good old patriotic song to provide you with pride and a sense of home. The playlist is quite extensive with songs from all over the nation and during various points of history.

There are 52 selections including songs and quotes from some of our founding fathers and others that shaped our nation such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln. In addition, some of the selections lend themselves to a variety of play schemes that extend past the holidays. Paint a cardboard ship adorn it with a pillowcase sail and sing a hearty Anchors Aweigh or Erie Canal or pretend you’re riding horses across the plains in Git Along Little Doggies or a family favorite Sweet Betsy from Pike.  Shucking corn or preparing the table is much more fun with a song or two at a family BBQ.

Some of the songs included are:

  • The Star-Spangle Banner
  • America
  • The Pledge of Allegiance
  • You’re a Grand Old Flag
  • Yankee Doodle
  • I’ve been working on the Railroad
  • Down the River

Music always adds an element of fun that teaches kids the ability to sequence words in a smooth coordinated manner. For many kids using a melody helps them learn how to initiate familiar expressions that they can begin to generalize to the conversation. All songs are sung by kids which make it more attractive and relative to young kids. Music is always a hit and more playful with Bluebee!

Learning Baby Sign Language with Bluebee Pal


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.

These are a few suggestions to use this app with Bluebee Pals

  1. Connect your Bluebee Pal to your device and let the learning begin!
  2. With Bluebee Pal, the child will hear the directions to the sign and the tips to remember the sign throughout the learning process. After learning each sign, review them and model the sign with your child or student.
  3. Can Bluebee Pal learn the signs too? Practice the signs on Bluebee Pal! Can Bluebee Pal also make the sign “drink” and “eat”? Try it out! With Bluebee Pal involved in the learning process, this will increase motivation and engagement for the child or student.

 

 

Making Ice Cream and Smoothies with Bluebee Pal

Summer is here and with the warm weather, what do you crave? Ice cream, ice pops and smoothies of course! Miumiu, the app’s little panda loves making ice cream, smoothies, and ice pops. The free app, Ice Cream, and Smoothies Panda Shop allow 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 animals in the app were engaging, fun and exciting for children. The interface is child-friendly and easy to use.

 

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.). Make your creations even more special with sparkles, special rainbow juice or a cat decoration.

 

  1. Connect your Bluebee Pal with your device and let the summer recipes begin!
  2. Bluebee will help the child make their creations by providing the directions to the recipe (e.g. add the milk, put the fruit in the food processor, etc). Let Bluebee Pal be the teacher in this activity! Help the child recall specific steps in the recipe by asking questions and telling the child what they are doing (e.g. you are blending the smoothie, you are adding the sparkles).
  3. Bluebee will also provide sound effects which make the app even more fun and interactive! Sounds such as the ice pop freezing, the blender mixing all of the ingredients, pouring the ingredients and more!

Interactive Petting Zoo Book with Bluebee Pal

Petting Zoo app is an interactive picture book with illustrations by Christoph Niemann.  This app created by the company Fox and Sheep is fun, versatile and interactive for children of all ages and abilities. Swipe and tap the 21 animals and see their reactions. Stretch the dog, move the lion’s mane up and down, move the alligator’s mouth and much more! The app begins with a bunny and then slowly turns into different animals for some interactive fun! The animations, transitions, and drawings are mesmerizing and children will find it fascinating and clever how to stretch the animals and use their movements of their finger on the screen to give Elephant a bath, move the animal up and down and engage in endless fun!

 

The app also includes playful and musical sounds for each animal. The app also does not require any specific language or reading so it’s excellent for those students who speak a different language or are emerging readers. Petting Zoo allows you to go to specific chapters in the interactive picture book, turn the music on and off and choose to turn the transitions on or off.

 

 

 

1. Get Bluebee Pal involved in the fun by connecting him via Bluetooth. Once connected, Bluebee can sing along with the music.

2. With each swipe or move with the finger on the screen, the child will hear a different sound which can help build cause-effect skills! This app is excellent for a beginner communicator that is building their cause and effect skills.

3. With the stimulating movements and drawings, this app is ideal for facilitating comments and expanding language. Move your finger in a circle to see the giraffes head move in a funny way. Use this opportunity to ask the child, “What happened to the giraffe?”, “Can you make the giraffe sit?” “How did you do that?”. An excellent and educational app for following directives, commenting, expanding vocabulary and learning actions.

Learn about Sound with Musical Me!

Musical Me! by Duck Duck Moose is the just right app for helping little ones to begin to discriminate sound and serves as an enhancement to language acquisition. In Musical Me, kids learn about the nuances of rhythm and pitch and have the opportunity to practice their skills with playing with instruments and experimenting with notes on a scale. Inside Musical Me

Inside Musical Me!

Five activities await on opening the app. The first is listening to familiar children’s songs and moving the characters on the screen to dance. Pairing listening with refining the ability to point or tap on a target is an important skill in both retaining direction and motor planning. The app doesn’t concern itself with precision at this point and kids will most probably begin by swatting and gradually grade their ability to isolate their digits with practice. I adore how the dancing animals dance as toddlers – perfectly imitating and displaying a toddler’s movements. This makes for an instant ability to relate to the content of the app. Next up, is learning about rhythm. By experimenting with the rhythms to the songs just listened to in the dance section, kids learn how different songs can sound based on rhythm. This skill will transfer to both fine and gross motor skills by giving kids the chance to play with the syncopation of sound and thereby learn about controlling and refining movement. Next up, is a memory game with sounds, and here kids must listen closely to repeat the patterns. The fourth game of “Notes” is a favorite with the little ones I see. It is a musical sandbox where kids can play and/or create their own melodies. Rounding out this already robust app is a happy place where kids can play instruments – and get a jam session off in silly fun.

In Summary

Duck Duck Moose has recently partnered with the Khan Academy and believe in unrestricted educational resources for children everywhere. Their apps are of the highest quality and are now free of charge. In times of bottom lines and profit margins, this is an incredible gift and displays a vision for the future and ensuring that all kids have an equal playing field. Most apps are available on both iOS and Google Play, however Musical Me! is currently only available on iOS. Their apps are not only highly recommended, but also I want to acknowledge my own personal gratefulness to both the Khan Academy and Duck Duck Moose for their generosity and belief in children.

P.S. Bluebee LOVES to sing!

Busy Shapes is Puzzling Fun for Early Learners

Busy Shapes by Edoki is a fantastic early learning app.  Based on Piaget’s research on cognitive development, this app begins with cause and effect play and evolves into an exercise in problem-solving and tool use. It bridges the gap between a child being reactive to being proactive in relating to the environment. Gameplay is simple. The goal is to match and sink a shape into its corresponding hole, but there are plenty of obstacles to overcome along the way! There are six different levels of Busy Shapes; each level is scaffolded from the foundation of the previous level. Kids test out shapes, colors, and size and explore how to first work around obstacles.

 Learning is organic and organized as kids begin to expand their scope and view of what is possible.

 Ultimately you get to the place where everything is a tool and you are constantly scanning and alerting to changes in play, and then making needed adaptations. Solutions foster creativity and “thinking outside of the box”.  If you make an error, you simply start that play screen again with a different approach.  There is no judgment or buzzers placed in this app for failure to place your shape, and therefore it teaches kids perseverance and to have the confidence to try another approach. This is a preschool “essential app”.  It is a great assessment tool for finding out how kids think and problem-solve, as well as where they get “stuck”.

In Summary

Bluebee can be either be turned on or off as most of the sounds are environmental. Having already established Bluebee as a Pal who cheers you on, it is not always necessary to have him on. Sometimes a silent witness is the best witness as the constant auditory input can be overwhelming when you are trying to figure things out. Having Bluebee to squeeze and love provides all the encouragement your child needs to explore something new. Busy Shapes is just the ticket for puzzling fun with Bluebee!

 

Favorite Apps Using Bluebee Pals, from Mrs. Wagner’s Class June 2017 School’s Out for Summer!

 

Yes -No Barn - Answering Yes No Questions

Yes / No Barn: Answering Yes No Questions by Smarty Ears-Yes/No Barn is a great app to help work on thinking and reasoning skills, and answering yes/no questions across a variety of contexts.  Featuring over 300 questions in a colorful, attractive barn scene format, the app focuses on 6 question types: Basic Questions, Look and Answer, Fact-Based Questions, Variable Answers, Comparing Pictures, and Questions About a Scene.  

 

You can track data across multiple users and question types. I love the simple, clean interface and my students love answering the questions when we connect to our Bluebee Pals! I love to set up our  Bluebee Pals at my table as the “teacher “ while students sharpen listening and language skills. This app is also fun to use to work on recognizing absurdities, problem-solving, and generates lots of conversational interactions!  Bluebee Pals really foster active engagement!

 

 

Funny Directions by Speecharoo AppsFunny Directions

Many of my students have difficulty with listening, comprehending, and following directions! This is a basic skill needed for academic and life-long success.  We use this app in speech therapy to work on these skills, and of course, our Bluebee Pals help us out by giving students the directives to follow!

 

 

Funny Directions provides 4 familiar environments/picture scenes, for interactive fun while working on listening and comprehension skills: Beach, Bedroom, Park, and Classroom. There are three difficulty levels on which to build listening skills. Children enjoy investigating colorful objects in each scene and talking about the funny directions they are given!

 

Animal Math Games for Kids in Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st Grade Learning Numbers, Counting, Addition and Subtraction Premium by Eggroll Games LLC

Math Games, from Eggroll Games, offers fun math practice with correlation to kindergarten common core objectives ( they also offer similar apps for preschool, first and second-grade math skills- just pick your desired app for your child’s level). Featuring a farm setting, children have fun, colorful practice in building and maintaining math fluency skills. Activities include counting, number recognition, addition and subtraction up to 5, categories, and geometry. Students will count to 100, recognize shapes, compare numbers, and answer “how many”questions. My students and parents really enjoy the variety of math skills targeted. Graphics are colorful and the narration is excellent!

 

 

Word Wizard is a phonics-based spelling app that allows the user to build and practice words and hear them pronounced in English. It features a moveable alphabet where the user drags letters to a board to build words.
There are two ways to play:
Moveable Alphabet: This is an area of free play where the user can play with the alphabet letters and spell any desired word to hear it spoken. Tap on a letter to hear it’s sound. Drag letters to the spelling board to make words. Separate the letters in a word to hear the individual sounds in a word, then put them together to hear the whole word. Since this is a phonics based program, when the letters sh, th, ch are put together, the correct pronunciation for the diagraphs is spoken.

Spelling Quizzes: Included in the app are built-in spelling quizzes to practice CVC words, Dolch words, 1000 most frequently used words, numbers, colors, animals, body, clothes, family members, food, sports, nature, and shapes. While in this level, the user can click on an icon to hear the targeted word repeated, and can tap on a question mark icon to receive a spelling hint. Additionally, the user can easily customize his/her own words lists! Practice your own spelling words! The app will track progress by providing the number of words spelled with and without hints.

 

Let’s get Planting with WGBH’s Wonder Farm and Plants Journal

Nic & Nor’s Wonder Farm and its companion app the Plants Journal is a treasure for spring and summertime time play. It was created by First 8 Studios at WGBH whose commitment to early education is exemplary. They know from decades of producing children’s educational media, just how exactly to engage and teach children. by manipulating and observing the sequence of environmental conditions on virtual plants. Kids went at this app with gusto and played it again and again just to watch the outcome of mixing up the variables of sun, rain, and animals nibbling in the garden. There are 5 areas of play including making a healthy salad from some of the items grown. Directions are clear and pacing of the content is presented in such a way that kids can actively process the consequences of their actions then adapt conditions for a more successful harvest. The app has a link to First 8 Studios that is full of content to get the most from their apps under a parental gate. It is well worth a look-see.

Inside Wonder Farm

On opening choose 1 of 4 plants to grow or go in the kitchen to build a salad. There are tomatoes, cabbage, beans, or carrots just waiting to be sowed. Each module provides exploring a new variable to ensure retention of the material. Correct vocabulary is provided for everything from parts of a plant to the impact of the chosen conditions. Directly manipulating 2-3 variables helps kids to virtually get their hands dirty and discover not only scientific methodology but also begin to ask questions and anticipate or predict outcomes. Each seedling undergoes intense scrutiny within a rotation of 6 sequenced actions. It’s heartbreaking to see if you allow 6 bunnies to visit your carrot garden, that they will eat it all! Successful harvests are then measured for prosperity and recording. In the kitchen, kids prepare a salad for Nora. She eats it with delight, and the genius behind this is that she is modeling healthy habits AND appreciating what you’ve grown. The companion app – Nic and Nor’s Plants Journal is a nifty way to record growing plants in real life on a daily basis. In addition, it also teaches kids to take data and be able to use that data for future plantings. Playing with Bluebee makes the lessons fun, and someone to “Bear” witness in your green thumb in action!

The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland and We Are Wheelbarrow

The Very Cranky Bear by We Are Wheelbarrow PTY Ltd is based on the fabulous and favorite book by Nick Bland. Illustrations in the app are true to the book with added animation features that add to the story’s appeal rather than distract from the moral of the story. The moral of the story is a lesson in mindfulness, and that by being quiet inside we may see what other’s truly need. The book has superb narration and is well paced for early learners. The language is a perfect blend of rhythm and all out fun. As this is a favorite book by preschoolers far and wide, its retelling will have kids shouting out the lines in unison! Some of the outstanding features that pairs this book with Bluebee Pals so well is that parents, teachers, or the kids themselves can record their own voice reading it or have Bluebee read the book. If you are lucky enough to have a Bluebee Sheep, Lion, Zebra, or Bear…it doubles the fun by seeing them “star” in the book as it’s read.

Inside The Very Cranky Bear

For you see when four friends were out on a rainy day, they just needed a place to play. But whoops that cave that was to be a secret and cozy hideaway had one very cranky bear. He roared and growled until they ran away.  Poor Moose, Lion, Zebra, and the very plain Sheep decided together that this bear just needed cheering up – and that maybe, just maybe he’d let them play. There are quite a few outrageous ideas from the quartet as to what cheering up actually consists of, but then the very mild and meek friend Sheep took a look as to what bear needed and came to save the day. I love this story in both book and app form, and would highly recommend it as it speaks to lessons learned across generations as to the true meaning of friendship and the care we give to each other. Available on iOS and Google Play. The book is available at Booksellers Everywhere.

Answer “wh” Questions and Play Bingo with Bluebee Pal

Wh Questions – Bingo App is an educational app that can help a child learn to differentiate and respond to various “wh” question such as Who, What, Where, When and Why. Answering these types of questions can be challenging for children and adults with varying disabilities. This app contains who bingo, what bingo, where bingo, when bingo, why bingo and match up bingo. Each game contains over 20 questions. The app includes concrete line drawings of various common items, people, animals and a variety of concepts.

 

 

Get Bluebee Pal to be a partner in your Bingo Game. With Bluebee asking the “wh” questions, your child or student will be motivated to answer those questions given those visual prompts from the Bingo board.

 

  1. Connect your Bluebee Pal with your device. Choose the bingo board of your choice! With Bluebee Pal connected, your child and/or student will be able to hear the question asked by Bluebee. Miss the question? Activate the speaker icon to hear the question again. With the field of 16 choices as a default, your child or student can activate the correct answer and play the bingo board.
  2. In the settings mode, you will have the ability to use the minimum of four items and can have up to 36 items on your Bingo board depending on the visual and motor abilities of the player. You can also choose to have the label on or off, have audio hints and have the text only with no pictures to build literacy skills.
  3. With this app, you get a choice of four different bingo board and a variety of different picture and questions. This app can be an excellent activity with individual students or in a small group of children. It can help build auditory and visual skills by answering the questions and finding the appropriate answer within a field of pictures or text.

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