Road Trip to Puddingstone Place with Bluebee Pals

Bluebee Pals took a road trip this week to see Puddingstone Place, a comprehensive treatment center for children with special needs and their families. This amazing center offers Speech, ABA/Behavioral Services as well as Occupational Therapy that transcend typical school-based approaches. Treatment emphasis is on using evidenced-based clinical practices developed at Boston Children’s Hospital. The Visual Immersion System (VIS™) created by the world renown expert on communication disorders, Dr. Howard Shane, is cutting-edge, thoroughly researched, and centers on the whole child. By using state of the art technology, it takes advantage of children’s strong visual preferences in learning. Most of the children seen at the center have a diagnosis of Autism or ASD, but Puddingstone Place welcomes all children with needs and includes seeing children with:

  • Global developmental delays
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Pragmatic Communication Disorders
  • Down Syndrome
  • …And children with other diagnosed and undiagnosed developmental, sensory, and communication delays.

The Visual Immersion System (VIS™) helps kids become more effective communicators by capitalizing on children’s strong visual skills. Visual supports can be customized using both low tech and high-tech options that makes treatment relevant to each child. The flexibility helps kids to make sense of what is being taught and be able to generalize material to facilitate function. Check out Dr. Shane’s Book on the Visual Immersion Therapy for more information: Enhancing Communication for Individuals with Autism: A Guide to the Visual Immersion System.

On arriving we were greeted by the center’s energetic and dedicated staff. The rooms were open and inviting. It felt comfortable and child friendly. Decorations were cheerful and uplifting without visual and auditory clutter that often distracts or overwhelms children. The staff who are already familiar with Bluebee, fell in love with Bluebee with the newest Bluebees that have both head and mouth movements for more realistic interactions. Heads were spinning with the possibilities of what Bluebee may bring to enhancing the lives of children. Laura Jiencke, the founder of Bluebee Pals and the Bluebee Pals Project, described treatment ideas as well as pictures of the Bluebee in action. Did you know that Bluebee can be used with AAC devices, musical playlists to promote movement, and pragmatic language skills through the use of the phone feature?

Bluebee Pals wants to thank all the staff for their hospitality, and best wishes for success!




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.



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.


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


Mindfulness Beginning Training with Bluebee Pals

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



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




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


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


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

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.


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!
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.






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