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.
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.
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 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.
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.
- You will need two separate communication systems for this exercise. One for the AAC user and one for you as the communication facilitator!
- 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.
- 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.
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!
- Connect Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth to your device.
- 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.
- 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”.
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?
- Connect your Bluebee via Bluetooth.
- 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.
- 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.