Bluebee Pals Tutorial Videos Click Here

Touch and Learn Emotions with Bluebee Pal

Teach your child emotions!

Do you want to help teach your child emotions and nonverbal communication? Touch and Learn Emotions App is a wonderful app for just $1.99 that can help your child interpret facial expressions and learn emotions. The app user friendly and easy to customize for any child. Features include being able to turn individual concepts on and off so you can work on introducing new emotions one at a time. It’s appropriate for a variety of ages from younger to older children. The app also gives the user the ability to add new concepts such as actions in one click.

The app includes 100 photos and when wrong answers are chosen, the gameplay is not interfered. It’s simple in nature and stays with the same template which is ideal for motor planning. 

Be creative with this app! In the setting section, you have the ability to turn the sound on/off, label on/off, or use animated transitions. There is an option to “select concepts to play” so that specific emotions can be targeted one at a time. Within the settings, you can customize pictures and concepts. This app is very versatile and both parent and child friendly.

How to Use with Bluebee Pal

  1. Connect Bluebee Pal with your preferred device.
  2. Once connected, Bluebee Pal can help your child learn emotions by giving the directive by saying the emotion (e.g. sad). After you choose the correct picture, Bluebee will give your child positive feedback such as “Good work!”
  3. When the wrong item is selected, a short sound will activate and the page will not move until the correct picture is chosen.
  4. Once customized, Bluebee can help your child target other concepts such as actions. Act out emotions with Bluebee such as raising his arms and jumping for “excited” and laying Bluebee Pal down for “tired”. 

Social and Emotional Learning with Bluebee Pal

What is Social Emotional Learning?

According to The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) , “Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” Social and Emotional Learning can take place in both the home and classroom. With empathy and creating positive relationships with others. we can be happier and meet goals of social closeness. The goal of social closeness is so critical for children with complex communication needs. To learn more about Social Emotional Learning, check out this video below.

I love this concept of Social and Emotional Learning because it challenges parents, teachers and students to think outside the box. How can we take this concept and apply it to the Bluebee Pal? How can we teach children with more complex cognitive abilities the concept of feelings and emotions? This can be a tricky concept but very attainable. In my experience, I have learned to meet goals of social and emotional learning through multimedia strategies. I used materials such as books, cards, etc but also role play and use video modeling, which I find extremely helpful. Below I will list some helpful apps to start with how integrate our friend, Bluebee Pal!

Pictello

Create a social story with Pictello and make Bluebee Pal the reader of the story! Pictello is a versatile app that can be used to create stories with using photos, short video clips and text. This app has the ability to use both synthesized and digitized speech. The app also gives you the ability to share easily with others is user friendly to set up. Pictello also has the option to use many different language and accents which can be an excellent feature for many individuals. When creating a story, choose between Wizard or Expert depending on how much support you need. Name your story and then choose your voice, transition feature and filling out the “About Me” section.To learn more about this app, click here.

Let’s Be Social Pro

This app includes 40 written lessons and 5 video lessons developed by ASHA certified SLP’s. This app gives you ability to create customized lessons using your own pictures and text, Let’s be Social a therapeutic tool designed to help special needs professionals and parents teach social skills to those with delays in pragmatics. In order to meet social emotional learning, understanding social communication is key! To learn more about this app, click here.

Breathe Think Do with Sesame

This app helps teach skills such as problem solving, self control, planning and task persistence.This bilingual (English and Spanish), research-based app helps your child learn Sesame’s “Breathe, Think, Do” strategy for problem-solving. With app, there are challenging situations that can make a child frustrating. The app helps your child to make the monster breathe so that he can be calmer. Each time time the monster breathes, then you have to create a plan to help him. This free app helps teach vocabulary, strategies and problem solving. To learn how to use it with Bluebee Pal, click here.

Touch and Learn Emotions

Touch and Learn is an app that introduces new concepts related to feelings in a fun and exciting new way. This app focused on helping kids interpret body language and understand emotions. When the app starts up, the child has to answer the question, “Who is __(sad, tired, happy etc.?” The pictures included in this app are high quality and perfect to use for this task. This app can also be used to elicit conversation about facial expressions and other nonverbal communication. To learn how to use this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.

Let’s Use Language Pro

Written by ASHA-Certified SLPs, Let’s Use Language uses stories to teach the language concepts of: Vocabulary, Sequencing, Categories and Opposites.This app includes 40 lessons and provides a context for learning language. The app is well organized and gives users the ability to create their own skill set or edit the current lesson plan menu.To learn more about this app and how to use it with Bluebee Pal, click here.

 

Let’s Use Language Pro with Bluebee Pal

Let’s Use Language Pro

Let’s Use Language Pro is written by ASHA-Certified SLPs. This app uses stories to teach the language concepts of: Vocabulary, Sequencing, Categories and Opposites.This app includes 40 lessons and provides a context for learning language. The app is well organized and gives users the ability to create their own skill set or edit the current lesson plan menu. This app relates well to the concept of Social and Emotional Learning with it’s embedded appropriate social behaviors in each story.

When you open the app, you have a choice of Vocabulary, Sequencing, Categories and Opposites. When you open the vocabulary section, you have a choice of various stories to choose from. These include; Visiting the Farm, Ella and Carly’s Day at the Beach, Playing Outside, Eating Lunch at School, A Day at the Zoo, Planting Flowers, Madison Gets Ready for Bed, Emma Goes to a Birthday Party, The Life Cycle of a Caterpillar and Tom’s Soccer Game. Once you open up the story, you can have the story read to you and then answer the questions related to the story. This is an excellent activity that works on reading comprehension (if you read it yourself), auditory comprehension (have the book read to you), answering “wh” questions and learning new vocabulary. 

In the sequencing section, there are 10 stories to choose from. Once a story is selected, you have the option to either read it yourself or have it read to you. Then there is a sequencing activity. This is an excellent opportunity to work on sequencing, recalling information and time concepts. The pages are organized well, which makes the app easy to use and child friendly. 

The categories sections is set up similarly to the sequencing and vocabulary section but the questions target categories. The opposites also includes 10 different stories with questions targeting opposites. I really love this app because it easy to navigate and consistent in the layout, which is so important for both a child and parent. This is also helpful for a therapist who is using multiple apps and materials.

How to use Learning Language Pro with Bluebee Pal:

  1. Connect Bluebee Pal with your preferred device via bluetooth.
  2. Once connected, let the fun begin! Choose a story such as Eating Lunch at School and Bluebee will read the story to your child.
  3. Once the story is complete, Bluebee can ask the questions. Try this for each of the sections. Bluebee loves to help children learn language concepts and work on social language!

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Meets Bluebee Pal

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame is a free app created by Sesame Workshop that teaches your children (appropriate for ages 2 to 5) how to breathe, calm down and work through stressful everyday challenges. For example, Little Monster has trouble putting on his shoes. He is getting very frustrated. What should he do to work through his frustration? With this app, your child will help Monster breathe, calm down and then choose a solution to this problem (which helps a child learn how problem solve).

The app includes five different situations to help your child problem solve and learn how work through various problems. Your child has to finish each activity before moving onto the next one. As your child helps Monster breathe, the color of the background changes and his facial expression turns from upset to calm. Breathe Think Do with Sesame helps teach your child new vocabulary, follow directives, learning simple problems solving skills and most importantly learn social emotional strategies to calm a child. The visuals and simple layout of this app is perfect for young children and will help your child put on their thinking cap.

The app also is also bilingual!

For many parents who have children with low frustration tolerance, attention issues and difficulty with transitions, this can be a wonderful app. 

How to use with Bluebee Pal:

  1. Connect Bluebee Pal to your preferred device via bluetooth.
  2. With Bluebee Pal providing the verbal instructions, you child can “choose an activity”
  3. Once the activity is chosen, you can work through how to breathe and stay calm with Bluebee Pal! Practice breathing with Bluebee Pal as your child helps monster breathe. How can you help Bluebee Pal breathe and stay calm? After tapping on Monster’s tummy, tap on Bluebee’s tummy! 
  4. More App sugestiions on the Bluebee Pal Website

 

Story-time with Bluebee Pal

Reading Time is Learning Time with Bluebee Pal!

Do you want to expand your child’s language? Help them learn vocabulary? Reading aloud is one of the best ways to meet these goals! Let Bluebee Pal read to your child with these recommended apps below! To learn more about the link between language development and reading, click on this article here.

Recommended Reading and Literacy Apps

 

One More Story 

One More Story is an app that I have used with students for years in order to help improve cause and effect, vocabulary, literacy and auditory comprehension. With this subscription based app, you can access over 76 books including Pete’s a Pizza, Bear books (Barefoot Books), Mouse Paint and much more. With each book, the story is read to the individual with a voice that varies in intonation and matches the mood of the story. The story is also accompanied by background music that helps to keeps the student’s focus. To read more about this app and how to use it Bluebee Pal, click here.

Clicker Books

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

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

It doesn’t have to be the holiday time to read this classic book!  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. To read more about this app,

click here.

Nick Jr. Books App

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. To learn more about this app, click here.

A Day in the Market 

A Day in the Market (Araw sa Palengke) is about a 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! To find out what this special thing is, you can download this app for free and read the storybook. 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. To learn more about this app, click here. 

StoryBots App

The StoryBots App is an educational and lively app that includes over 250 educational books, videos, and games. This free app includes characters from the hit Netflix original series, “Ask the StoryBots” and “StoryBots Super Songs and also has the ability to add your own photos such as Bluebee Pal’s picture to make the stories and videos personalized. This app is used in more than 20,000 classrooms around the world and can help get your child engaged in literacy, math, and history activities. To learn more, click here.

Imagistory App

Record your own story for your child to hear read aloud! Imagistory is an inventive and creative app that brings wordless books to lifeAfter recording the book, attach your Bluebee Pal for a fun and inventive way of storytelling. Imagistory is created for children ages 3 and up and gives children the opportunity to be creative with their storytelling and narrative skills. The stories that are created by the app can be recorded and saved so you can listen to them again later and share them family members, the staff at a school, etc. To check out this app review, click here.

Go Away Big Green Monster App

There has not been a child that I have met that doesn’t love the book, Big Green Monster.  Go Away Big Green Monster is an interactive and engaging book about A Big Green Monster. Reading this book can help a child learn body parts, numbers, attributes, colors and additional basic concepts. It can also facilitate the concept of commenting and improving of descriptive language.
This interactive app builds upon the book experience by slowly revealing each part of the Big Green Monster. This is done with animation, sound and visual effects. With this app, you can either “Read myself”, “Read along with Ed Emberley (the author of the book), “Read along with a friend” or “Sing Along”. This choice of either choosing an adult or a child to read the story is unique and clever. Each page introduces a new body part which the reader adds on in each page. By the end of the story, don’t get scared though! Each body part goes away till the Monster is disappears! To read more about this app, click here.

Pictello

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

Crepes with Suzette App

Crepes with Suzette is a beautifully fun and engaging story book that has recently been back on bookshelves and available for purchase! I have always loved this book because it’s interesting illustrations and embedded language. Each time I read this book, my children want crepes after! Crepes with Suzette become alive with the Crepes with Suzette app! With this app, you can read the book, check out different landmarks of Paris within each page or on a map, watch videos of crepe making, and learn how to speak key words in French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Italian. Each page in the book has one key word that is translated into these six different languages when you navigate to the “vocabulary page”. My children and I had a lot of fun with this app and they learned a ton of new words in different languages! To learn more about this app, click here.

Learning Languages with Crepes by Suzette App

About Crepes by Suzette

Do you want your child to learn new languages and expand their vocabulary? How about exposing them to art and the city of Paris? Check out Crêpes by Suzette App by Monica Wellington! Crepes by Suzette is a wonderful and interesting book about a crepe maker in Paris. This crepe maker travels the city and with the illustrations, music and interactive features of this app, you get the sense of what Paris is like. This book was originally published in 2004 and has recently been republished again after a short time out of print. After reading this book, you and your child will want to make crepes!

About the app, Crepes by Suzette

After downloading the app, check out the variety of interactive features. With this app, you can read the book, check out different landmarks of Paris within each page or on a map, watch videos of crepe making, and learn how to speak key words in French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Italian. Each page in the book has one key word that is translated into these six different languages when you navigate to the “vocabulary page”. As your child turns the page on this app, you child can activate each character who will speak the key word in different voices. For example, in this page below, after the text is read the reader can activate Suzette, the postman, the bird, the bunny, the dog, etc. Each character will say “Bonjour” in a different voice. When you navigate back to the vocabulary page, you can learn what Bonjour means and how you can translate it into five different languages. There is also a link to the “art” page which describes the art within each scene. Download here.

Bluebee Pal Goes to Paris

  1. Connect your Bluebee Pal to your favorite device via bluetooth.
  2. When you open the app, choose “Read to Me”
  3. Bluebee Pal will read this interactive story to your child! Touch the different pictures in the scene and you will hear the target word. For example, the phrase On y va in French means Let’s go in English. 
  4. Touch the “video icon” from the home page and you will see short clips of artists in Paris. Press on vocabulary and you can learn new vocabulary in six different Learning ! This app is endless fun for your child and Bluebee Pal. https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/

 

Bluebee Pals App Learning Goals

The Bluebee Companion App

Have you recently purchased the Bluebee Pal 4.0? To learn more about its interactive tools features, click here. Now that you have your Bluebee Pal, it’s time to download your free companion app, The Bluebee Pals App includes key features that help building speech, language and learning with your child. To learn about what speech and language goals you can target with your Bluebee Pal app, click here.

Features of the App

Introduction Video: This video explains how to connect your Bluebee Pal to your device and get started!

5 Life Skills Rooms: The Bluebee five rooms  teach activities of daily living including bathing, brushing hair, brushing teeth, bedtime routines, various kitchen items including meals. Each room is a scene based display with various hot spots to help your child build vocabulary, improve visual awareness and become more familiar with specific objects that belong in a room. These rooms are common to all children regardless of your cultural background. What is your child’s favorite room? For those parents who struggle with specific life skills, this can be an opportunity to explore a routine in a fun and interactive way (e.g. brushing teeth, brushing hair, etc.) If Bluebee can brush his teeth, then you can do it too!

10 mini games! Included in this free app are 10 educational games to inspire kids to learn while they are playing. Skills practiced include early academics, letters, colors, puzzles. These games are brief, simple and interactive games that children of all ages and abilities can enjoy.

Link to Parent/Educator Resources: Need more information? Within the app, you will find a direct link app reviews based on specific interests such as discipline or specific area that you would like to focus on for your child. For example, if you would like to work on specific fine motor skills, check out Jo Booth’s app reviews. If you are looking for iMum’s app reviews, click right within the app for suggestions and recommendations from this reputable app reviewer.

Bluebee Mini Library: These are curated apps that come highly recommended by our app reviewers for use with Bluebee Pals. This links to the many apps that I have reviewed as well as my colleagues. You will never run out of ideas on what to do with your Bluebee Pal!

Record your own voice! With this feature, you or your child can record your own voice and hear Bluebee play it back. This is a fun feature that can encourage a child to vocalize and/or verbalize and get feedback on what their voice sounds like. If your child is minimally verbal, get him or her to record a simple sound such as a vocalization or a sound they can create. 

What I like most about this app:

  1. Lots of choices for a child! A child can pick their own Bluebee, their favorite colors balloon, a room of their choice or a game. The choices are endless.
  2. This can be a great learning opportunity with errorless play and a lot of opportunity for language stimulation.
  3. A wonderful way to grow vocabulary and word association when accessing different objects within a room.
  4. The app is not overstimulating and is organized well. 
  5. The app is a perfect companion for the Bluebee Pal Pro! 

Want to learn more about the Bluebee Pal app? Check out this video here:

 

 

 

Bluebee 4.0 New Premium Features

 

The New Bluebee 4.0 and Features

I wanted to write an article to talk about the updated features of the award winning and interactive Bluebee Pal 4.0. I have been writing for Bluebee Pals for many years and have seen a significant transformation in how Bluebee has changed and interacted with the current technology. For those of you who aren’t as familiar with Bluebee Pals, let’s review! NEW 4.0 Bluebee Pal Pro is an interactive plush learning tool with FREE companion (life skills /educational app) that connects to all iOS and Android Devices and pairs with all apps with a narrative. The new Bluebee 4.0 allows the “mouth and head” to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, learning a language and singing songs. To watch a video of how this interactive tool works and can be used in the classroom, click here.

Head Movement, Why is this so important?

Why is head and mouth movement feature so important? When we communicate, we use all different ways to communicate. In one study, it was determined that 93% of our communication is nonverbal. Even if this number isn’t exact, it’s pretty close because most of our communication is nonverbal. What is nonverbal communication? Nonverbal communication is any communication we use with our body that is not speech. This includes facial expressions, gestures, head movement, eye contact, etc.  With this new feature of head and mouth movement, a child can be more engaged with Bluebee Pal.  Head movement is a type of nonverbal communication and important in the way we interact with each other. Check out this article that explains it more. To learn more about nonverbal communication and why it’s so important click here.

 

What are some other features that you can use with your child and the new Bluebee 4.0? 

  1. Use your Bluebee Pals Pro as a wireless speaker phone. Talk to your child or friends through the Bluebee Pals Pro by placing a call to a cell phone paired with them. When there is an incoming call, your ringtone will sound from Bluebee Pals Pro (this function may vary in different brands of cell phones).
  2. Have Bluebee Pal read you and your child a story with a story such as the Sesame Street App featuring Julia or a Day at the Market.
  3. Connect your Bluebee Pal and your child’s AAC communication app. To see a list of AAC apps and reviews, click here.
  4. Work on literacy concepts with your Bluebee Pal with an app such as Letter School or Endless ABC. For ideas and reviews click here.
  5. Connect your Bluebee with some of apps reviewed by Jo Booth, occupational therapist. 
  6. Connect your Bluebee Pal to the NEW Bluebee Pals Educational App.https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-news/bluebee-pals-app-learning-goals/

Have a Holiday Sing-a-long with Bluebee Pals


Most kids love to listen to music and sing.
Singing is one of the best activities during the holidays for young children and can be done anywhere – in the car when out and about or to reinforce everyday routines at home or school. Singing promotes development on so many different levels. Not only does it build language and vocabulary skills, but also teaches kids about social and cultural traditions, enhances thinking skills and provides an overall sense of well-being. And if fingerplays or movement is added, it helps kids retain the material by synching speech and other sensory systems with the body. Did you know that your Bluebee Pal comes ready right out of the box to help your children learn the joy and comradery of singing with others?

 

Finding appropriate music can sometimes be hard or frustrating. Here are a few of our favorite ways that bring our Bluebee Pals to life. Follow these easy steps to get started.

  • Turn on your Bluebee Pal and pair it with a device. Usually, this is found under “Bluetooth Devices” within the settings tab. Devices such as a phone, tablet, or even an AI device such as Amazon Kids or Google Home can be paired with Bluebee.
  • Select your album, playlist, or app, and tap the play button. Like magic, Bluebee will automatically begin to sing. The realistic head and mouth movements will transform Bluebee into a real-life friend.
  • Set back and enjoy yourself! You can add microphones to make it authentic. We have found the plastic dollar store type microphones work well as they help amplify voices – but not too loud.

 

 

Spotify is one of our favorites as families can search for music or songs, make playlists, or explore playlists made by others. Spotify can either be used as a free service or as a subscription service. The difference being that the subscription service offers the options to download music to your device, listen offline, and to eliminate pop up ads that may interrupt or be inappropriate for kids in play.

 

 

Amazon Music, Google Music, or iTunes are all subscription services that function much like Spotify. There are free options to use in home or with a hotspot, but to download music, create playlists to listen offline, and to eliminate ads you’ll need to subscribe.

 

 

 

YouTube is a favored and universal hub for children’s music and educational videos. Be sure to view any music video to check out its content before playing it for a child. Even You Tube Kids may have some content that is inappropriate slip through YouTube’s filters. Report anything that seems off putting.

 

 

Whatever your choice, remember that holidays are a time to connect, share, and enjoy each other. Happy Holidays!

Holiday Apps for Bluebee Pal

If you are planning on celebrating your holiday with Bluebee Pal, check out these holiday app recommendations! With the recommendations are tips for facilitating language, learning and fun! 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a perfect app to pair with your Bluebee Pal. Features include: tap and drag to find playful surprises throughout the book, find hidden stars on every page to reveal fun activities, read along with highlighting narration, read it yourself, or enjoy auto play, explore new vocabulary by tapping words and pictures and track minutes spent reading, pages read, and more in the Parents section. There are also tons of activities as well! The app includes seven different mini games and games that are embedded in the story.

Your child will have endless fun with Toca Hair Salon: Christmas Gift. This app also pairs well with Bluebee Pal providing all of the sound effects and sharing in on the fun of giving Santa a makeover. This app is free, creative and can help your child explore all different actions, colors and different hair styles. After decorating Santa, let your child explore how to make their Bluebee festive for the holidays! Maybe a bow or a festive ribbon can do the trick!

Check out this free and inventive app titled, My Hanukkah. Include in the app is a story, activities and coloring pages. Bluebee Pal can help make this app even more interactive by reading this story to your child. The colorful pages and soothing voice combined with the interactive features of the app will keep your child engaged and learning. The activities included in the app are Play the Piano, Shapes, Spot The Difference and Brachot. The app also comes in 5 different languages! My Hanukkah also includes a game to create your own song for Hanukkah so that Bluebee can help sing along. 

Do you need more recommendations of holiday apps? Check out my post from last year with  Holiday Apps for Bluebee Pal.  To check out iMum’s Top Christmas apps, click here. Check out my other app reviews for Bluebee Pal here.

 

 

 

Key Ways to Use Bluebee Pal as an Assistive Technology Tool: An SLP Perspective

What is assistive technology?

According to Assistive Technology Industry Association, “Assistive technology (AT): products, equipment, and systems that enhance learning, working, and daily living for persons with disabilities.”

Bluebee Pal Pro is a “plush learning tool to learn, communicate, and connect to technology” that comes in a variety of animals and colors. Once connected via Bluetooth to a tablet; Bluebee can add extra engagement to your storytelling experience. Instead of the voice coming directly from the iPad, allow Bluebee Pal Pro to tell your child’s story. It also can be an excellent strategy to use in a group therapy or classroom with one Bluebee Pal or more. The Bluebee Pal Pro can be passed around, so each student gets the opportunity to use this helpful tool. This assistive technology tool is excellent for turn taking, increased engagement, language and learning goals.

To read an article written by Punam about Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) with Bluebee Pals PRO Learning Tool with Companion Life Skills/Educational App click here.

Goals and AT

Use Bluebee Pal for storytelling! Check out this article here or check my review on Storytime with Bluebee and Nick Jr Book App, The Big Green Monster or create your own stories with Pictello.

Bluebee is perfect for helping to build social skills for conversation! Check out this post on using Bluebee Pal for conversations here.


Are you working on cause effect activities with an emerging communicator?
Bluebee Pal can be an ideal companion for these apps. Some suggested apps are Babies Musical Hands and Five Sharks Swimming.

Building literacy with Bluebee Pal can be fun and engaging for children with Bluebee Pal. Whether it’s just beginning to expose your student to letters and sounds or building more complex phonological awareness, Bluebee can help build these skills. Some apps to check out are Letter School and Endless ABC.

Learning daily living skills is an important part of becoming more independent. Part of what making following steps for daily living more complex and challenging with so many steps involved. Check out how to use Bluebee Pal with Choice works here.

Learning to communicate! Communication devices are a type of assistive technology for both children and adults with complex communication needs. I have written many apps reviews on how to incorporate Bluebee Pal. To check out these reviews, click here and check out the AAC apps listed on the left sidebar. To learn core words with Bluebee Pal, click here 

Make your AAC assessment interactive with AAC Genie and Bluebee Pal! Check out this article here on how to best use both the app and Bluebee Pal.

Are you working on learning actions and categories with your student? Bluebee Pal can help build engagement and make the process a multi-sensory approach. Check out my review here of Actions in Video, Learning Adjectives and Category Therapy Lite 

 

 

The iMums Favorite Christmas Apps

The iMums wanted to share some of our Christmas and holiday themed app favorites with you. Below is a short summary of each of the apps along with links to our reviews as they have been completed. We hope that you will enjoy these apps as much as we have with our families. Many of these are ones we load onto our devices year after year to enjoy – and some stay on all year round! In our family, we pick a new holiday themed book to read every night – these are some of our digital favorites among The Mums. Come visit us at The iMums for more great tech and app reviews! Looking for more great app reviews – check out this page on Bluebee Pals. Reading with our kids is one of the favorite things to do with our iKids.

The iMums Christmas apps #1
Charlie Brown Christmas by Loud Crow Interactive is a real taste of nostalgia – featuring both the pictures and audio from the classic Christmas movie, with the addition of narration by Peter Robbins, who was the original voice of Charlie Brown. You can switch the narration on or off and the text is highlighted as it is read. The original music from the movie plays in the background and a nice feature is that you can control the music volume independently of the narration. Version 2.0 of the app added the director’s cut as a free in-app purchase. I would recommend installing this before starting to use the app as it adds 4 scenes, 2 activities and an extra carol. Read iMum Mary’s review

A Charlie Brown Christmas + iMessage Sticker Pack! – Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

The iMums Christmas apps #2
The Bernstein Bears and The Nutcracker by OceanHouse Media has been released just in time for the holidays. In this story Brother, Sister, and Honey open their presents on
Christmas morning. Among their presents is a Nutcracker Bear which Papa reminds them is from The Nutcracker ballet they saw on TV. At first, the cubs weren’t too interested in it, choosing instead to play with their new toys. It didn’t take very long for the cubs to get bored. With plenty of time before dinner, Papa suggests they entertain themselves by using their imagination. The cubs think this is a splendid idea and soon find themselves lost in the world of The Nutcracker. Read Fides review.

The Berenstain Bears and the Nutcracker – Oceanhouse Media

The iMums Christmas apps #3

Merry Christmas Mom and Dad- Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Little Critter attempts to make Christmas special for his Mom and Dad. He tries different things such as making cookies, picking out a Christmas tree, and wrapping presents, but each time the results are not quite what he was hoping for. Even though Little Critter messes up at everything he tries, you can’t help but fall in love with him. He is charming and funny as he explains what he did and what happened when he did it. My kid and I really enjoyed this story. Read our review.

Merry Christmas Mom and Dad – Little Critter – Oceanhouse Media

The iMums Christmas apps #4
Felt Board Christmas by Software Smoothie has become a quick favorite in out home this season. It is similar in every way to the original Felt Board but comes with a huge assortment of Christmas themed pieces such as the nativity, Santa, reindeer, snowmen, gingerbread cookies, snowmen, ornaments, and stockings. Read Fides review
Felt Board Christmas – Software Smoothie

The iMums Christmas apps #5
Santa’s Suit is Missing by Ginger Whale Apps is a story about Christmas Eve and it is snowing at the North Pole. It is your first day in Santa’s workshop, but all the work is done, the presents are packed, and the other elves are sleeping. You are feeling disappointed to have missed all the fun, when suddenly your Santa Phone beeps – Santa needs you!! Santa has lost his suit and needs a new one before he heads off to deliver the presents. You rush to the village to find him the perfect outfit. What will you get first ? Boots? A hat? A suit? There are lots to choose from, will you get him a traditional Santa outfit or something different? Maybe a ballerina outfit or an astronaut suit ? A Jester’s outfit or your own unique combination? Once you made your choices you take the suit back to Santa – but what will he think ? You’ll have to read Santa’s Suit is Missing story to find out. Read iMum Mary’s review

Santa’s Suit is Missing! – Ginger Whale Pty. Ltd.

The iMums Christmas apps #6
Tacky’s Christmas by OceanHouse Media is a seasonal offering in the popular Tacky the Penguin series of books written by Helen Lester and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, and brought to the app store by Oceanhouse Media. The story tells the tale of Christmas in Nice Icy Land. The penguins are busy choosing and wrapping gifts. Sadly, in Nice Icy Land Santa doesn’t visit (you may need to explain to your children why Tacky is pretending to be Santa), so Tacky has volunteered to dress up as Santa. The friends are also busy making Christmas ornaments and singing carols when they realise there are no trees to hang their ornaments on. Tacky volunteers to help out by being both Santa and the tree (at the same time). As usual with Tacky, things don’t quite go to plan, but he ends up saving the day and everyone has a Happy Christmas. Tacky is an odd bird, but a nice bird to have around – especially at Christmas. Read iMum Mary’s review

Tacky’s Christmas – Oceanhouse Media

The iMums Christmas apps #7
Cookie Doodle by Shoe the Goose is a virtual cookie shop without the mess! Do you enjoy decorating cookies with your family? Cookie Doodle by Shoe the Goose is a universal app where children make a recipe, bake and then decorate a virtual cookie with none of the mess associated with baking at home. The app features 24 , over 200 cookie cutters, photo cookie dough, and 85 different toppings. You can practice recipes with tasks like naming the various objects in the recipe, sifting, rolling, mixing and using cookie cutters to shape the cookies. The recipes can be used in real life to make cookies and help your child practice naming items, measuring, sequencing and fine motor skills. Read iMum Alison’s review

Cookie Doodle – Shoe the Goose

The iMums Christmas apps #8
Five Little Monkeys Christmas by Loeschware is a Christmas themed app featuring my favorite little Monkeys! The app features an an interactive counting game with a musical touch based upon the popular nursery rhyme. This app helps toddlers and preschoolers practice early literacy skills with word highlighting, repetition, addition and subtraction practicing early math skills and of course lots of fun. The app features three different musical scores including, “rock”, “country” and “pop”. This is perfect to work on counting, expressive and receptive language as well as a fun way to learn!

Five Little Monkeys Christmas HD – LoeschWare

The iMums Christmas apps #9

The Witch and the Christmas Spirit is by SlimCricket is a brand new app for iOS. The Witch is getting read for a Halloween adventure when her friend Peepo the Elf calls and says that a terrible illness has spread across the North Pole. He asks the Witch to come and help Save Christmas! Will they be able to? Enjoy this Free app with IAP that includes games, 3D pages and more!
The Witch and the Christmas Spirit – SlimCricket

The iMums Christmas apps #10
Reading Train Christmas Books, Songs & Games by The Learning Station is a leveled reading app containing 30 different Christmas stories. I loved sharing these Christmas stories with my sons and helping them read at the same time!
Reading Train Christmas Books, Songs & Games – The Learning Station, LLC

This post was originally made on The iMums in 2015 at http://bit.ly/1IK2fRo. It is republished with permission.

 Ten Language and Learning Goals with the Bluebee App

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Ten Language and Learning Goals when using the Bluebee App

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

Categories: Explore categories with this app including animals, furniture, toys, outdoor activities, games, sports, art, music and much more! With this app, there are so many ways to incorporate the learning of categories as a child is playing with the app. To carryover, this goal, take screenshots of the app and with a visual of various categories ask your child to put the objects in the right category. Another carryover activity is taking a screenshot of the house and then asking your child to place the right object in the correct room with some tangible symbols or objects. I love how the app incorporates errorless learning with specific tasks that require appropriate choices. This helps build language and learning in a fun and stress-free play environment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Rebecca Eisenberg, MS, CCC-SLP,is a certified speech-language pathologist, author, instructor, and parent of two children. She has been working in the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for more than 15 years in a variety of settings and currently works with both children and adults with autism and other varying disabilities who have complex communication needs. 

Halloween 5 Apps for Preschoolers

Bluebee loves Halloween with all its fun activities. Dressing up and trying out new roles 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 princess’s dress is the way to being royal – at least for a while. However, there’s a lot of novel stimuli coming at your child during Halloween, so it makes sense to use Bluebee to help your child prepare for changes in routines and what to expect. The Halloween Holiday Apps listed below are all grand ways for kids to explore what the celebration is all about. It also habituates a child to the sights and more importantly the sounds of the holiday. Here are some of our favorite Halloween apps to get you started:

Yum Yum Letters: Learn and Trace by Kindermatica is an outstanding app for beginning to grademovements 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.

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.

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 to this playing are both learning about the vocabulary for body awareness, but the ability to anticipate and sequence a story. We use this app in therapy all year round as its liveliness is simply infectious.

 

Trick or Treat Little Critter is an interactive storybook by OceanHouse Media that explains the customs of Halloween to little folks. It describes in detail the expectations and roles to play at Halloween as well as all the great benefits to Trick or Treating. It always amazes me how a few kids have no idea what is going on during Halloween because no one has explained it to them. Often there is not an older sibling or friend that explains what the holiday is like in Kid’s Terms that would make it remotely interesting and something that they should invest time and effort into participating. Too many kids, the thought of dressing up in something uncomfortable, staying out late, and all the noise is just too much. Once they have an idea of the benefits to be reaped in terms of attention, candy, and fun…they are all in. OceanHouse Media is a company that always comes to the rescue in explaining the world and its customs to kids.

BabyLit Build and Play Frankenstein tells the tale of Victor Frankenstein and how he came to make the lonely purple monster as well as a play section of dressing up Frankie. In the parent’s section, there is a summation of the original book. Although the summation is not meant for young children, it does provide parents with talking points of appreciating all life and the richness of our differences the world over.

 

 

Revised and updated for 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choice Works App with Bluebee Pal

Choice Works App: With Back to School in full swing, do you have students or a child that needs more visual supports? Does your child have trouble with transitions?

Check out my these Choice Works apps below to help with transitions! With Bluebee Pal at your child’s side providing the verbal output, transitions can become more fun and interactive!

To download the app, click here.

Choice Works

I have been using this app, Choice Works for many years with both children and adults with Autism as well as other disabilities. The Choiceworks app is functional and educational learning tool for helping children complete daily routines (morning, day, & night), understand & control their feelings and improve their waiting skills (taking turns and not interrupting). This app is specifically designed to help with transitions, optimize visual learning, reduce behaviors and optimize easy transitions. The app is user friendly for parents and educators and very flexible in the way that it can be customized for each child. Here are some key features below as listed on the app store:

■ Four boards: Schedule, Waiting, Feelings and Feelings Scale
■ Image Library preloaded with over 180 images and audio 
■ Add your own images and record your own audio for limitless customizability 
■ Attach video to any board image
■ Easily create profiles to personalize and manage multiple users
■ Save an unlimited number of boards for multiple children or different routines 
■ Speaks boards out loud with pre-recorded audio 
■ Time saving essentials like search and auto-save
■ Share boards by Email or iTunes File Sharing with other Choiceworks app users 
■ Ability to print boards or save as PDF

Get Bluebee to be your choice works assistant!

  1. Connect your Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth
  2. Click into the desired page such as schedules, waiting, feelings or feelings scale (e.g. School schedule)
  3. Each time you click on the icon of a pre-existing page you get the verbal feedback plus a short video that’s already installed! When making a customized page, add your own verbal output for Bluebee Pal.
  4. When you drag the icon over to the all done category, Bluebee will tell you “all done”
  5. This is just the beginning with the app! Explore with your child and your Choice Works assistant, Bluebee Pal!

Are you looking for a visual calendar to accompany Choice Works? Check out the Choice Works calendar!

To download the app, click here.

The Choiceworks Calendar is a  picture-based learning tool that helps children learn what is happening day-to-day throughout each month.  This app provides a visual calendar for children that have difficulty with time concepts and need those crucial visual supports. With this customized app, you can easily add or delete events as needed and take advantage of the features listed below. This app is extremely functional and can save a tons of time for a parent or educator. Adding images and events is done in a snap with this user friendly app! Print out the calendar and have it handy at home or in the classroom.  See these features below as listed on the app store:

Key Features 
■ Easily create a visual calendar of upcoming events in a few minutes (examples: holidays, when visitors are coming, doctor appointments, vacations, sleepovers, parent returning from a trip or military duty)
■ Image Library preloaded with over 275 images and audio
■ Add your own images using your photo library, camera or use the preloaded image library to record your own audio and edit captions for limitless customizability 
■ Create multiple personalized calendars for use with multiple children or in a classroom setting
■ Count Days Until: animated counter for the number of days until an upcoming event (example: How many days until my birthday?)
■ Speaks the daily schedule
■ Built-in visual timer
■ Automatically adds holidays
■ Easily add reoccurring events
■ Notifications and alarms with visual and audio alerts
■ Search and auto-save features
■ Share boards by Email or iTunes File Sharing with other Choiceworks Calendar app users 
■ Ability to print month, week or day for offline viewing or save as PDF

Get Bluebee connected to the fun calendar activity!

  1. Connect your Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth.
  2. Add your events and let Bluebee Pal will tell your child the name of the event.
  3. Do you want your daily schedule read to you? Bluebee Pal can do that! 
  4. Do you have an exciting event coming up? Bluebee can count down the days for you! 

 

 

 

 

 

StoryToys Hungry Caterpillar Play School

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

 

INSIDE THE APP

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

 

Colors, Shapes, and Puzzles (Spatial Relationships)

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

Early Math and Pattern Recognition

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

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

 

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

IN SUMMARY

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

 

Mindfulness Beginning Training with Bluebee Pals


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

 

 

Kids don’t always need to sit or be still to practice mindfulness. Yoga or other rhythmic movements (rocking or swinging) done in coordination with the breath can also be practiced. These children are holding Bluebee Pals practicing relaxation with Bluebee Pals. 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Speech Blubs App Meets Bluebee Pal Pro

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Bluebee Pal and Say it Sam Speech App

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

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

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

 

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

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

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


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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Bee – 123 Kids Fun is an Eco Friendly App

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Keeping Curiosity Alive During the Summer

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Avoiding Summer Slide with Bluebee Pals

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

 

 


 

 

 

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

 


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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Preventing the Summer Slide with Bluebee Pal

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

 

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

To learn more about the summer slide, click here.                             

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

The Magic of Reading with Bluebee Pals

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluebee Pals to Establish Bedtime Routines Part 2


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

 

 

Here are six ideas for Bedtime routines:  



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

https://www.bluebeepals.com

 

Storynory Podcast

Nosy Crow
Stories Aloud

Stories Podcast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bedtime Routine and Bluebee Pals to Establish Part 1

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

Speech Apps to Use at Home with Bluebee Pal

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

Inside The Three Little Pigs

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

 

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

Tools for Learning

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

The Fabulous All New Bluebee Pal 4.0

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

Bluebee Pal Body

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

 

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

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

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

Bluebee Pal Function

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

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

In Summary

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

 

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

 

Bluebee Pals with the Bluebee App


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

 

 

 

Bluebee Pal App Content: 

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

 

Inside the App

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

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

In summary

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

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

 

 

Bluebee App and 10 Language and Learning Goals

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 


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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Potty Training and help with Bluebee Pals

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

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


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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

In Summary

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

 

 

 

Demystifying In-App Purchases (IAPs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anxiety Over Screen Time – Use of Screens for Kids

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Next up: How to evaluate an app.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practicing Conversation with Bluebee Pal using AAC Apps

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


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

 

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

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

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

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

Autism

 

Baby’s Musical Hands App and Bluebee Pals

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

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

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

 

Let Bluebee Pal join in on the fun!

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

https://www.bluebeepals.com

The Five Little Monkeys App and Bluebee Pals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Eli Explorer App and Bluebee Pals


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

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

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

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

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

Apps Bluebee Pals

How can we use this learning app with Bluebee Pal?

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

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

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

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

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

Recommended Apps for your Tablet 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Bluebee Pals with Children 3 and Under

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Some adaptations to help with attention are:

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

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

 

 

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

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

Duck Duck MooseThe Wheels on the Bus or Musical Me

L’EscapadouDrawing with Stars

Oceanhouse Media – for storybooks and learning vocabulary

Sago MiniSound Box and/or Music Box

StoryToys – Mother Goose Club 

 

 

 Jo Booth – Occupational Therapy and Educational App Reviews

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

 

 

 

 

Learning Time with a Bluebee Pal

Learning Telling Time with Bluebee Pal

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

 

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

 

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

 

Snap and Core First App and Bluebee Pal

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

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

 

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

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

 

Elmo’s Monster Maker Meets Bluebee Pal

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

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

 

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

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

 

Why Stuffed Animals are Still Important


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

 

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

 

Stuffed Animals – Getting The Most From Your Bluebee Pal 

 

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

 

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

Personalized Storytelling Apps to use with Bluebee Pals

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

 

The Apps

 

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

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

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

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

Using Book Creator for Making Stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bluebee Pal Reads How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

Tips For Making Stories to Ease Transitions

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

 

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

Tips for making stories:

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

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

 

Pin It on Pinterest