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
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.
Kayle Concepts announces their new Bluebee Pals Learning App and the latest technical release of their Bluebee Pals, interactive Bluetooth® enabled plush companions.Both represent an evolution in toy-based learning to nurture and engage children in activities important to their healthy growth and development. Bluebee Pal robotic head and mouth plushies retail for $74.99 and are available in six huggable styles-bear, dog, zebra, lamb and monkey. Bluebee Pals Learning App is free and compatible with all iOS and Android devices
The Bluebee Pals Learning App is a robust life skill and cognitive development tool for children ages 3 to 7. When connected to a Bluebee Pal, children can immerse themselves in activities in five life skills’ rooms and play 10 educational mini-games.
THE CREATION OF 4.0 BLUEBEE PAL AND COMPANION APP IS A TEAM EFFORT THAT EXTENDED OVER AN 18 MONTH PERIOD. THE COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS OF LIKE-MINDED INDIVIDUALS COMMITTED TO CREATING A QUALITY INTERACTIVE HUGGABLE PLUSH LEARNING TOOL COMBINED WITH AN ENHANCED LIFE SKILL/EDUCATIONAL APP.
BLUEBEE PALS ARE A TRUE PLUSH LEARNING TOOL: PARENTS ABILITY TO PARTICIPANT IN THEIR CHILD’S EDUCATION, ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY TOOLS FOR EDUCATORS IN CLASSROOMS AND AN EFFECTIVE THERAPY TOOL FOR ABA, SPEECH AND OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS.
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.
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 Pals App by Kayle Concepts LLC – Review
What we love…
Bluebee Pals app is a fun educational app which encourages kids to practice daily routines, using words to narrate what they are doing, sight words and play
Overall, the Bluebee Pals app is a fantastic app which encourages kids to learn as well as have fun. I love seeing all the different ways that my kids interact with the app and try the various activities. The app is gender neutral and allows you to pick your favorite Bluebee Pal to play along OR choose your own Bluebee Pal.
Bluebee Pals app by Kayle Concepts LLC is a universal app for iOS and Android. As many of you know, I have been part of The iMums for a really long time!
I’m pleased to note, that I had a chance to help design this app. The app brings BlueBee Pals to life using an app which teaches life skills such as; bathing, tooth brushing, washing hands, bedtime routines, as well as a kitchen which encourages your child to feed Bluebee a variety of meals and snacks. The app uses scaffolded learning, the first mini game is generally easier and for younger children – if you tap the arrow at the bottom you are given a more complex game for example, lining up your ABC’s turns into sight words. In the ice cream mini game, first you find the Bluebee Pals and then you have to match them to the appropriate beach chairs. You can learn more about the app on the Bluebee Pals website.
Upon opening the app, you are able to select your favorite Bluebee Pal – or one that you already have. Then you can view an instructional video where you learn more about Bluebee Pals and how to connect them. From there you can enter your child’s name – and while there touch each of the Bluebees to have them say their name and wave! Choose your favorite color balloon, and a favorite activity. A screen is presented with a variety of things you can do with your Bluebee Pals – did you know that Bluebee works with any Bluetooth enabled device ranging from a smartphone, laptop, smart TV, to a tablet? After that you are brought to the hub of the app where you choose a room for your daily activity – which I will highlight below.
The Bluebee Pal App
The app features narration and a variety of fun games as well. Below I will highlight each – these can be accessed either from the house hub or via the Bluebee Pals library.
- Kitchen – Enter and exit the kitchen to try a variety of meal options including: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Be sure to enter and exit the kitchen multiple times so you can see each of the meal options. The recycle bin lets you recycle items as well! There are cups, plates, food and even a cake to put on the table.
- Living Room – Enter the living room and tap on the various objects including the couch, iPad and laptop to hear their name
- Bedroom – Enter the bedroom and see how Bluebee cleans his room and puts his sneakers away! He also uses an animated guitar, shoe typing sequence and then a bedtime routine. In this room you can also put Bluebee to bed, change the covers and then turn off the light. After the Bluebee goes to sleep, you can go back to his bedroom and tap on the objects in the room.
- Bathroom – Enter the bathroom and give your Bluebee a shower. Turn on the water and then tap the sponge to wash Bluebee’s fur. After getting out of the tub Bluebee needs to be dried with a bathtowel or blow drier. Then, brush the fur so it’s soft and clean. After bathtime, it’s time to brush teeth – kids move around the toothbrush to clean their teeth. After 20 seconds, teeth are clean and it’s time to practice washing hands. Then kids can tap on the items in the bathroom to hear their names.
- Playroom – This room has learning and fun! Kids can practice their ABC’s and sight words, drag Bluebee through the maze, find a Bluebee on the island and match them to chairs, move cars and trucks around the track and hear their horns. Other mini games include a six piece puzzle, voice recorder so kids can record their voice — or parents can record their voice and have the app say it back. There is also a robot game where you assemble robots, dress up and match fruits to the right color balloon.
- Bluebee Pals Library – Using this library you can select a mini game for the playroom.
- Bluebee Resource Section – this parental gated area requires a four digit date of birth where you can access resources including: voice recorder, activities along with app reviews, a letter from founder Laura Jiencke about Bluebee Pals. This parental gated area does contain external links.
My son loves this app – one of his favorite mini games is the cars and trucks around the track. He loves placing all the cars on the track at the same time and seeing them zoom around. As a parent, I love that the app has both an educational and fun component to it. My son will practice zooming cars, learning letters, practicing the names of foods and more! I really liked that we can show a bath routine sequence, and then follow through in real life. I also loved using the app with our Bluebee Pal Parker who speaks the narration and moves his head in time to the app. My son also loved reading with Bluebee – for a full list of items that you can try with Bluebee – look in the resource section accessed from the main hub of the house or try this link. The app contains a parental gated area with resources and external links. I find that my son is repeating words that he learned in the app – especially in the kitchen and I’ve even gotten him to ask for a few foods like banana as a result of seeing them in the app. Above, I have highlighted each of the individual areas and items within the app – my kids have spent hours discovering each section as well as practicing letters, puzzles, creative thinking to solve problems and more.
Overall, the Bluebee Pals app is a fantastic app which encourages kids to learn as well as have fun. I love seeing all the different ways that my kids interact with the app and try the various activities. The app is gender neutral and allows you to pick your favorite Bluebee Pal to play along OR choose your own Bluebee Pal.
This review was originally published at The iMums.
NOTE: I was involved in the design of this 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 scene, 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 TEN 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 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.
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.
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.
Kayle Concepts recently welcomed the Florida Alliance of Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST) to the Bluebee Pals Project. The regional centers received Bluebee Pals to use with clients during evaluation sessions, training activities and instructional events. FAAST is a state-funded program that provides device demonstrations and loans to help customers select assistive technology equipment that will help with activities of daily living and communication.
The Gulf Coast Regional Center is part of the Center for Independent Living (CIL) in Pensacola, Florida. LaVesta Feagin, an AT Specialist at CIL, works tirelessly to provide seniors with equipment to better access their environment and live active lives. LaVesta began working as a volunteer through a Career-Transition Program and then was hired as the AT Specialist.. She primarily works to provide the elderly with items from their “senior kit” including car canes for stability, car caddies, swivel seats, lifts, power chairs, and weighted eating utensils. However, she is faced with another crucial tasks of helping customers all over the Gulf Coast find Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices that will help them communicate effectively.
LaVesta has delved into this area with a thirst for knowledge that has guided her journey as the centers only AT Specialist. LaVesta was faced with limited experience working with children and AAC devices but was up for the challenge! She has used Bluebee Pals to engage children as well as the seniors at CIL with much success! She connects Bluebee to her trial AAC Devices including the Tobii Dynavox, the iPad with Proloquo2Go Communication App, Android devices, Kindles and even smart phones! “I was excited about how they can be used with so many devices because they are Bluetooth enabled” she stated.
LaVesta hosts a “Foster Grandparents” program which connects seniors with children. Both populations benefit from the shared experience of chatting, playing games and now interacting with Bluebee Pals! “The kids and elderly loved activating the Bluebee Pals with the iPad and AAC app (Proloquo2Go)! They could talk to the foster grandparents with the Bluebee Pals and even had the grandparents using the iPads!” -LaVesta Feagin
The Bluebee Pal’s biggest fan at Gulf Coast FAAST is Hannah. LaVesta works with this 17-year-old student with Autism who without question always lets her know if she is interested in a new activity or tool right away. “She will let me know right away if she is not interested in something and she absolutely loves the Zebra Bluebee Pal that she has named June. I checked out the Bluebee Pal’s recommended apps on the website and downloaded Toca Hair Salon. Hannah loves hearing the hair salon sounds through Bluebee June and is so engaged.”
“Bluebee Pals are a good price-point for people because AAC is expensive. Not only is it an affordable price, but there are a variety of animals for kids. It offers people different choices.” – LaVesta FeaginLaVesta Feagin is an AT superstar, working hard to engaged seniors and children during FAAST activities as well as for AAC evaluations. We love that Bluebee Pals are helping her in this endeavor. We salute you LaVesta!…..https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-pals-project-participants/
FAAST Gulf Coast Regional Demonstration Center
3600 N. Pace Blvd
Pensacola, FL 32505
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.
My son Chauncey has autism and he is non-verbal. I wanted a Bluebee Pal for him after seeing them presented last year at an autism convention! We currently do not own an IPad but he is using one at school. Chauncey utilizes his IPad by tracing lines and practicing his letters and having one at home would be beneficial to his education.
My favorite memory is fall time fun, specifically his time at Leeds Farm when they had a special autism day. Chauncey headed straight for their jumping area and I have never seen him smile so big. He was in heaven and could have jumped all day and I always strive to get that smile!
Chauncey is in preschool this year and working so hard! I think having an Ipad and a special friend Bluebee Pal Hudson at home would be so amazing for him! Chauncey’s 6th birthday was this past November the 5th. He is a very happy sweet boy and last year even received the sweetheart award. Chauncey loves being outside at our metro park exploring all day and running free! He just this year has shown interest in our phones and tries to swipe the TV. He loves school, therapy and spending time with his friends. He also has a best friend at home his( 8-year-old Pit Bull Roxy )and has to be around her where ever she goes.
Chauncey goes to an autism school Bridgeway Academy. Bridgeway is a non-profit organization located in Columbus, OH with a mission to meet the educational and therapeutic needs of children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Bridgeway Academy utilizes the principles of Applied Behavior
Analysis (ABA) which has been found to be the most effective. They provide Chauncey with ABA, Speech and Occupational Therapy. I plan to send his Bluebee Pal with him to school for his speech therapy sessions.http://bridgewayohio.org/about-us/
Feedback from Chauncey’s Mom
I wanted to let you know the iPad and Hudson have been helping Chauncey sleep. He has such a hard time with his autism and staying asleep. Since having them we’ve been able to not even hardly use Melatonin. I know they say screen time isn’t good but its been helping him wind down and fall asleep. He cannot have any cords in his room, he pulls them out and likes to chew on them, so he hasn’t been able to have a TV in his room 😢 But now he has the IPad and a Bluebee friend to help him. So after bath time every night, we get the IPad and play a story or watch a cartoon with Hudson and tonight he fell asleep on the couch with him.
Chauncey enjoys lying on our couch with Bluebee Hudson and listening to music while he sings. He is working hard on learning his letters and matching words with pictures. He loves a variety of educational apps especially the Peek a Boo Barn App and also enjoys using Hudson and iPad for story time. When we watched the Superbowl Chauncey and Hudson both wore their Philadelphia Eagles jerseys during the games! Recently, he has been obsessed with ripping paper and it’s difficult to keep him from tearing his books but with the IPad and Hudson, it has helped us with stress-free reading and storytelling!
Apps with Bluebee Hudson
- · My Play Home – Interactive house with lots of languages
- · Toca Boca Kitchen, Toca Train or any Apps by Toca Boca
- · Sago Mini- Monsters, House, Sound Box any app by Sago
- · Bamba(pizza, burger)- Great way to work on following directions
- · Pogg- Great way to work on verbs, requesting to watch actions
- · Peek a Boo Barn, Vehicles, any of the peek a boo apps
- · Finger Paint- Fun cause and effect game
- · Letter School- OT app, works on letters but a lot of cause and effect
- · Mr. Potatohead
- · Endless ABC
- · PBS app!
Thank you so much for our Bluebee Pal and Ipad! Bluebee is Chauncey’s new furry friend who provides companionship and therapy for us to incorporate at home!
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!
Using 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”.
I still remember those words like it was moments ago. Your child has special needs. At the time those words felt crushing. I didn’t know what to say or to do. My world felt like it went into a tailspin. Over the years, we have gotten medical news about our child – some of it good, some of it bad, and some of it difficult to comprehend. In my mind, I can tell you where I was the moment that I heard that news – and how it changed my life. Each time, we have adapted and changed to be able to best help our children.
I had a magical moment. Today, I was able to share Bluebee Pals with a classroom of special needs children. Today, instead of tears we saw smiles. Instead of frustration, we saw encouragement. After all, that’s what being a parent is all about. It’s about those magical moments when you see a breakthrough with your child. When life suddenly doesn’t feel as challenging anymore. I personally have seen how Bluebee Pals have enriched my children. Bluebee Pals aren’t just a Bluetooth enabled device that you can connect to your tablet, smartphone or laptop – they are a friend.
Bluebee Pals can help to give your children a voice, they can provide a friendly companion when your child is feeling sad or they can simply be a friend when your child needs someone to talk to. All of my life I have seen that children of all ages gravitate to stuffed animals (myself included). Today, I saw a magical moment where tears stopped and kids were smiling.
When we first opened up our Bluebee Pal, we used it for music, narration of a storybook and with a few apps. Then, we unlocked how Bluebee could help my children be successful. We use Bluebee now to help with directions – first you do this then you can give Bluebee a hug. We use him as a positive reinforcer when my kids do something great like helping to clean up toys, doing daily chores or even using the potty. I’ve even “caught” my son reading his Harry Potter books with Bluebee narrating along while he follows along in the text. These are all magical moments – moments brought to us by Hudson, Sammy, Lilly, Leo and Riley. Helping our kids to reach new levels and communicate is in the end what it is all about.
When a child is having a meltdown related to autism – sometimes something as simple as cuddling a stuffed animal or using a weighted blanket can help them to calm down and recalibrate. Using Bluebee not only does that but it can help to give them a voice – one that they may not have the words for using an AAC app or even a storybook.
I bring Hudson and Sammy to the park at times with my kids – some ask why would I bring such an expensive toy with us. To us, Hudson and Sammy are not toys – they are friends that we use to successfully navigate and explore the world.I like to write social stories for my kids using Kid in the Storybook maker – and have one of their Bluebee’s read my story aloud using narration. My kids often listen to these stories over and over again – both for comfort and to become familiar with what the story is telling them.
I recommend Bluebee Pals as a loving companion and educational tool for children with autism and of all abilities.
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.
The Eli Explore 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?
- Connect your Bluebee Pal with your device via Bluetooth.
- 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”.
- 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.
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.
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!
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 Studios – Peekaboo Series. (Peekaboo Barn and Peekaboo Sesame Street are favorites)
Duck Duck Moose – The Wheels on the Bus or Musical Me
L’Escapadou – Drawing with Stars
Oceanhouse Media – for storybooks and learning vocabulary
Sago Mini – Sound 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.
Bluebee Pals Jan 2018
Wow! A fresh, new year is here! I have some exciting new apps to share with you, straight from my Whether you are new to the wonderful world of Bluebee Pals, or a seasoned user, these apps are sure to delight!
Speech Tutor Educational by Synapse Apps, LLC: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/speech-tutor-educational/id1323272450?mt=8
Billed as an “All-In-One Speech Toolbox”, this app really rocks! Speech Tutor Educational is a complete, seamless combination of essential teaching tools for articulation therapy. It features two easy to use speech screeners: one for parents and one for therapists, 52 sound production/placement teaching videos along with sound production tips, and nearly 5,000 different articulation stimulus practice cards across 33 sound/phoneme decks, and 36 minimal pair decks.
The app can be set to use with individual students or with a group, and provides instantly available detailed data tracking. Students are provided practice with sounds in the initial, medial, final, or mixed positions in your choice of words, phrases or sentences. Students’ productions may be video recorded and stored for progress monitoring.
I really like that the screeners provide realistic, developmental norms for speech sound acquisition ages, which helps in counseling parents and in therapist planning. The app also features 2 types of screens, normal screen and kid friendly (cleaner page layout). The photographic stimulus cards are beautifully rendered!
This is a great app to use along with your Bluebee Pals, in that they can “help” your child practice the speech targets by saying the words and sentences before your child practices, which provides for added auditory bombardment! And even after a child practices and uses the recording feature, he/she can hear their productions via their Bluebee Pal! This just adds to the learner fun and engagement!
Little Stories Pro by Little Bee Speech: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/little-stories-pro/id1228283813?mt=8
Little Stories Pro for Speech, Language and Literacy is a set of 82 beautifully crafted and illustrated, 100 word stories developed to support receptive and expressive language, reading fluency, and phonemic awareness/sound production skills through the use of sound-saturated stories. Chock full of curriculum support, this app is filled to the brim with learning and literacy content through targeted story practice.
The app is so easy to use! Select a story, sorted by story title, theme, reading level, or phonemic target. Sounds emphasized in the stories are r, r blends, l, l blends, s, s blends, and th. There are three reading levels from ages 6.5 to 9.5. Before you read, you will be given a story synopsis, sight words, phonemic target words, and challenge words. As an option, you can choose to practice flash cards before you begin reading. The story can be read aloud to the child, or the child can read independently. A Reading Helper is available to select navigation buttons, provide for eye-tracking, choose an early reader format, and to select which words you would like in bold print. A feature is available if you want to measure reading fluency in words per minute. An assessment feature also allows you to mark a child’s reading, vocabulary and speech errors and turn them into practice flash cards for extra practice. Coloring pages from the stories and tongue twisters during the story just add to student engagement!
Following completion of the story, there are story comprehension activities, which include story retell, story sequencing, WH questions, and story talk conversational questions.
This app is best used side by side with your child. Bluebee Pals can easily be used with Little Stories Pro, either to read the pre-recorded story with your child, or to re-read the story in your child’s own voice! This is a great app to check out on the app store!
YUMI |Story Dice:https://itunes.apple.com/th/app/yumi-story-dice/id1225064701?mt=8
Story Dice is a fun app to encourage children to create their own, original, fun stories! By shaking their iPhone or iPad, children roll magical 3-D story dice! Then, they tap on each one to unlock the surprise
3-D toy inside! These toys can be dragged, enlarged, rotated and stacked in any order. You choose the order and a colorful setting, and then create your own story using the objects you have been randomly given. These stories can then be recorded and shared with family and friends! This is free-play at it’s best! Your child can be the “…author, director, and star of their own original stories, plays, and videos”!
This app is great for building expressive and receptive language skills, storytelling, sequencing, and thinking skills! And, best of all, it is fun to use along with a favorite Bluebee Pal, who can tell your story back to you!
The Bluebee Pals Project soared to new heights in 2017! Laura Jiencke, the creator of Bluebee Pals, has donated 1000+ interactive plush educational companions to schools and centers around the United States. Bluebee Pals Project sites have taken these generous donations and incorporated Bluebee Pals into their educational activities and therapy. We are thrilled to hear about how students and clients have benefited from Bluebee Pal experiences through surveys and testimonials.
The most frequently reported observation has been increased engagement and joint attention when Bluebee Pals were incorporated into activities. Students were observed to make eye contact, participated in tasks and attended to activities when Bluebee Pals were present.
Several participants reported that clients seemed to enjoy the novelty of being given instruction by Bluebee Pals versus the teacher/therapist. Successes were also observed when Bluebee Pals were used as a reward. Reward systems are a crucial part of any classroom or therapy session, allowing clients to know exactly what is expected of them and what they are working for.
No one likes to work for free – so it seems that Bluebee Pals were a very motivational reward! Bluebee Pals were used for a variety of activities including vocal imitation, social skills, feeding, group attention, turn-taking, grammar activities, behavior treatment as well as gross motor and fine motor activities. Bluebee Pals participated in dance parties, sing-a-longs, story telling and even potty training!
Here are some things the participants had to say in 2017
“I have seen an increase in engagement with students. For example, a student that rarely ever participates with the class has shown interest in the Blubee and will participate with the group/teacher most of the time if the Blubee is used” -Rebecca N. – Curriculum Instructional Specialist – Florida Autism Center of Excellence (FACE)
“It definitely helped our students stay engaged during reading time.” -Brittany High School Intervention Teacher at FACE
“In my classroom, we are learning communication skills using our favorite tech learning tool, Bluebee Pals! Children absolutely love them and are so very motivated to interact with them! Through the use of our Bluebee Pals, my students have shown tremendous progress with their speech and communication goals”! -Helen H. Wagner, M.S., CCC-SL
“They are very easy to use, and with the Bluetooth you can make the intervention very client-centered. I also like how soft they are, you can barely tell that there are any electronics inside.” -Hannah Lambert, OTAS
We thank all participants of the Bluebee Pals Project! We are so grateful for incorporating Bluebee Pals into their educational and therapy programs.
Naples Village School Napes, FL
In 2017, Bluebee Pals talking, educational learning tools were donated to the Naples Village School. Bluebee Pals were introduced into Preschool and Kindergarten classes as an assistive technology tool for teachers to engage and motivate their student to learn.
The school has enjoyed a reputation as a STEAM school, being recognized internationally in that capacity with visitors coming to see how STEAM is taught at the school. Also, other programs developed including a strong performing arts department. Both of these aspects of the school are recognized in the community and indeed respected for leadership.
Testimonials -Bluebee Pals in the classroom
Kathie Leibert (Jr. Kindergarten- 4-5-year-olds) or you can call it Pre-K 4 My students love spending time with our Bluebee Pals. They consider them classroom friends! They particularly enjoyed working with the Alphabet Matching and Alphabetical Order games on the ABCya Games app. They also like using the Beginning Phonics app. In the words of my students, “It’s so cool they can talk!” “They are furry and soft!” “They are fun to learn with!” Thank you so very much! “I have several students in my class that use an AAC device to speak. When introducing the BlueBee, I explained that he also needed a device to speak, just like many of us. The kids started to explore different ways to interact with our BlueBee dog, having him read stories, talk with them one on one and even singing Adele! We could not be more excited to have BlueBee as a part of our classroom. As a teacher of students with ASD, I am excited to discover new ways to incorporate this wonderful resource to help with all aspects of academics and building confidence with social skills.”
Ann Nathan (Jr. Kindergarten(4-5-year-olds) or you can call it Pre-K 4 Our Junior Kindergarten class enjoys playing with the Bluebee Pals because they are soft and cuddly. The children love to hug them while they are working. They feel they are playing instead of working. Their favorite apps are the Recorder app and the Phonemic Awareness app. We have been recording the children reading their weekly poem or rhyming words. Then, during Circle Time the children listen to themselves on the Bluebee Pal. We also record our Spanish lesson with our Spanish teacher so we can listen and practice Spanish during Circle Time. The children love sitting together hugging the Bluebee pals and working on the iPad.Thank you so much for sharing your Bluebee pals with our class!
Raquel Rinaldi (Kindergarten-5-6-year-olds)My kindergarteners have really enjoyed using the Bluebee Pals this year. I have introduced “Research Skills” to my students. They listen to and read information regarding different animals on the Wikids App. They choose their favorite animal and then illustrate four facts about that animal. They are engaged, having fun, and learning all at once. Bluebee Pals helps us to integrate multiple curriculum areas into one lesson and is helpful in reading text that is too difficult for the students to read on their own. We use the Recorder APP for students to read into the IPad. The children also use different apps for the Sound Sorting App, Dora Rhyme App, and the Phonic Awareness App during reading rotation centers. It’s great!
Katrina Derby (Kindergarten-5-6 year olds) My students look forward to reading side by side with our Bluebee Pals. They love to record themselves reading a book using the Recorder app and then having Bluebee read it back to them. We also record ourselves, individually and as a group, reading our weekly poem. It’s great to have Bluebee read our poem back to us as we track the words on the poem. This helps us learn our concepts about print skills and keeps the students actively engaged in the lesson. They love hearing their voices come from Bluebee! One student showed so much enthusiasm for Bluebee that her parents contacted me to see how they could get a Bluebee for them to use at home. This has been a great educational learning tool for our classroom!
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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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
Bluebees Pals Are A Dynamic Learning Tool in Education
Bluebee read storybooks and engages in learning apps fostering a love of learning in school and home environments.
Bluebee helps facilitate memory and sequencing skills while children listen to storytelling.
Bluebee can lead a sing-a-long through a playlist of music • Through such apps such as Spotify or downloaded music, Bluebee can teach your child the joy of music.
Bluebee can play back voice recordings of a favorite book, story, or song spoken in the dialect understood by a child, or produced by a child to enhance reading and speech
Bluebee Facilitating Language Acquisition In Speech Therapy
• Bluebee can be paired with many therapeutic apps and provide the instruction
• Bluebee can be the teacher by asking questions, giving directions and participating in conversations via text-to-speech apps
• Students can control Bluebee via text-to-speech apps and work on syntax, semantics and pragmatics
• The media used on Bluebee can be varied and tailored to a specific child’s needs. For example, to increase a child’s attention and the ability to listen, the Bluebee can sing songs that teach the nuances of language including rhythm and intonation. The apps can then be scaffolded to improve skills in a manner best suited for a child to learn
• Bluebee can be used along with an AAC device to give children a voice. It’s great for AAC users to see that Bluebee is an AAC user just like them!
• Bluebees can be used to foster communication by pairing them with a phone
Bluebee facilitating positive behavior management and ABA therapy
• Bluebees can be used to foster communication by pairing them with a phone
• Bluebee is a highly motivating reward
• Bluebee increases tolerance and compliance during extended discrete trial training
• Bluebee can be used as a model for behavior that is being targeted for increase
• Seeing Bluebee gain reinforcement for completing tasks can be a great motivator!
Bluebee a wonderful tool for Occupational and Physical Therapies
• Earn Bluebee play and interaction for completing OT/PT tasks
• Compete with Bluebee when engaging in OT/PT sessions
• Clients can “teach” Bluebee how to do fine motor and gross motor skills Bluebees can benefit children whether they are turned on and connected to a Bluetooth device or not.
• By hugging Bluebee, children receive deep pressure and proprioceptive input to help them calm and focus
• Bluebees help reinforce and maintain self-regulation
• Bluebees calm through social stories created with pictures of a child and the voice of a parent or sibling to decrease anxiety
One of the most endearing traits of early childhood is that magical line between reality and make-believe. It is the space where anything can happen, and THAT is how beloved stuffed pets or dollies come to life. Attachment to stuffed animals can begin as early as before a child’s first year and can in fact with some people, last a lifetime. To a child, stuffed animals or dolls represent living beings that have real personalities, thoughts, and feelings. Observing a child’s interaction with their pets can give you key insights into a child’s world. It is much easier to express worries or concerns with a stuffie, as they are nonjudgmental and will always listen.
Stuffed animals play a major role in children practicing nurturing and communicating with others. They allow for facilitating the use of new vocabulary, practicing social skills, and rehearsing routines. In addition, they are also a source of learning to self-calm and regulate by providing deep pressure and warmth when hugged or used as a transitional object. Transitional objects are part of a parent’s toolbox in helping children build confidence to try new things or to go from place to another. Don’t be alarmed if your child clutches tightly to their loved stuffies. The tight grasp is actually a way to provide body input called proprioception that helps ground or seats an individual. Try it yourself by clenching your fists – feel the stability?
Stuffed Animals- The Most From Your Bluebee Pal
The wonderful thing about Bluebee Pals is that they are a ready and able playmate, confidante, and teacher hidden inside a stuffed animal. They can be paired with any device that is Bluetooth enabled or used as a beloved toy unplugged. Try using your Bluebee to:
- Rehearse upcoming events by acting out what is going to happen and have Bluebee respond with any anticipated concerns. Children can also rehearse independently by playing an app with your Bluebee Pal as a guide – which helps build independence and confidence.
- Master language skills, manners, and turn taking. Simply listening to a story read by Bluebee will help increase vocabulary. We’ve all gone to “tea parties” and I’ve heard that Bluebee loves a bit of cake with his tea. During your party, practice sharing portions. There are many food playsets that have a portion component. Games with definite turns are also a way to teach waiting – although your child can take Bluebee’s turn too!
- Using the phone component with Bluebee can add to imaginative and pretend play by having Bluebee communicating directly with your child.
- Have your child “teach” their Bluebee Pal how to accomplish something they may struggle with such as getting a haircut or brushing their teeth. We once used a parade of stuffies in habituating a family to getting haircuts by setting up a shop. “Haircuts 5 cents!” Of course, no real scissors were involved (play dough scissors were used), but this allows the child to be in control and regulate the sequence of events.
- Allow your child’s Bluebee Pal to express the often confusing and conflicting emotions of a child. Simply ask “Why Bluebee looks sad today, what do you think is going on?” This takes the pressure off the child and gives you a window by having the child respond through their Bluebee Pal.
- Dressing Blubee up in clothing helps to build fine motor skills. Baby clothing that can be purchased at a thrift store in sizes 6-9 months’ work well. All sorts of hand strengthening and manipulative skills can be enhanced by outfitting Bluebee……..https://www.bluebeepals.com/general-education/#
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.
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!
- Connect your Bluebee Pal to your device and get ready to hear a classic book with a special reader.
- Will Bluebee read the voice-over narration or will your child record their own voice? Bluebee can do both!
- 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.
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.
Playing with Riley the Zebra is a fun experience for kids of all ages. We love using Riley when we are reading books like Puppup at the Zoo and seeing him act out all of the animals. Bluebee Pals will work with any smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer that has Bluetooth. Bluebee Pals can be used with an AAC app to provide communication, paired with a storybook app to read with your child or even paired with any app that has narration to speak the various parts. Bluebee Pals have an interactive mouth communicates while connected to all Music, Storybook, Educational and AAC Apps. Winner of Mom’s Choice Awards, National Parenting Publications, Parents Choice, Creative Child Award, Academic Choice ( Brain Toy) and Tillywig( Brain Child)
Check out our fun Christmas video!
Enter to win a Bluebee Pal – open to those with a valid United States mailing address
a Rafflecopter giveaway
After a play date with Bluebee Pal Hudson, where he showed her his wish list for the holidays, Bluebee Lily thought it would be a great idea to make a list herself. She decided too, to ask mommy, daddy, and her sisters what was on their lists. “This will be the best holiday ever,” she thought. She liked the idea of books, learning games, and toys that she could play with her sisters. The season is all about sharing and enjoying the warmth and love of your family, she thought.
Here is Lily’s List:
Sometimes, it is just hard to get started or stop a fun activity and go onto something else less fun. Lily has seen this with her younger sisters and had heard about an app where there were songs to help transition to a new activity. Everyday Grooves is that app. It was developed by the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College, so you know it has been thoroughly researched. Mommy can play it on her phone, and she and her Bluebee Pal can sing the songs to make transitions easier for her twin sisters. You see when Bluebee sings a song, everybody listens.This app works on both iPad and iPhones that use an older iOS (under 11. On the iPad it is an enlarged screen from the iPhone – but you don’t need to watch anything in particular – it is about the song being used as a call to action). It’s perfect for Lily’s big sister to use on her older iPhone with Lily’s Bluebee.
A sweet little pre-math app developed by the brother/sister team, Will and Cara Jessop, for Enabling Play, is The Amazing Adventures of Millie Moreorless. It was specifically designed for children with learning difficulties. The pacing and graphics are key to what makes this app successful. New research is showing that children who are able to recognize and discriminate the concept of “More” from a grouping of objects early on have greater success with math as they are able to better sequence, classify, and visually place objects that they relate when navigating and interacting.
Lily’s a busy girl. She likes to discover and find out about new things. She also like to apply what she’s learned to new situations, and so it can be hard to settle down at nap or nighttime. She loves that her Daddy can record stories on the iPad so that her Bluebee Pal can read a story in Daddy’s voice if he’s away. It makes her feel calm. The one she loves the best is Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site produced by OceanHouse Media. It’s all about busy builder trucks that work hard building during the day, and need to settle down to rest. Lily loves hearing the names of all the trucks and what they do.
Lily wants to be an architect when she grows up. She loves to build and design things. She knows that careful measurements go a long way when building. She saw the app Measure Up by PBS Kids. It had all her favorites from her T.V. shows and videos on YouTube. There was Peg and Cat, Dino Train and Sid! In the app kids can explore 3 different worlds and begin to compare and contrast length, width, height, weight, and capacity. These are foundational skills not only for math and science in later years but also in navigating one’s world.
Lily’s secret wish is for a Bluebee Pal for all her sisters. There is so much for them to do – sing songs together, talk to Grammie, play games, or simply read a book. Lily also likes to play pretend with her Bluebee – her sisters and their Bluebees could all join in for a tea party, build amazing buildings with blocks, and explore outside together. It would be double the fun if all of us and our Bluebees could play together. Now she thought she heard something about a monkey named Parker…
A few months ago, The Bluebee Pal Project donated Bluebee Pals to Bierman Autism Centers in Indiana and their Boston Locations.Therapists graciously agreed to monitor the role of Bluebee Pals in their therapy daily sessions with children with Autism. We have provided photos and feedback to share with other therapists and families on the positive effects of the utilization of Bluebee Pals as a learning tool for children with Autism.
Bierman work with children with autism spectrum disorders up to the age of 13. They specialize in providing early intervention, personalized and intensive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) programs. Their early intensive intervention programs (EIBI) are designed to help children learn skills across many different developmental domains in order to be happy and successful in any environment, whether that be in the home, community or the classroom. Whether a child was just recently diagnosed or has been in a traditional school setting but unable to make adequate progress, they deeply believe every child is capable of learning with the right programming in place.
1. How often is Bluebee Pal used daily/weekly?
Used daily, 2-3x times a day….What activities is Bluebee Pal used with?
Stories via youtube, singing along to songs via youtube (individual child), stories with friends (youtube), dance party with friends ( group ) Bluebee is the DJ), practicing taking turns with BlueBee, practicing taking turns which story bluebee reads (group), individual student uses Bluebee during independent time (usually relies on adults to play)
2. Who is using the Bluebee Pal (teachers, therapists, teacher assistants, students, administrators etc.)?
behavior technicians, behavior analyst, trainers, administrators, students
3. What goals/objectives are you targeting when using Bluebee Pals (educational, speech/language, occupational, behavioral, physical)?
Group attention (educational), behavioral (for motivation), gross motor (dance), turn taking (social), asking in full sentences for stories/activities (speech)
4. How does Bluebee Pal effect the activity and student progress/engagement?
For students who are motivated by Bluebee, students will engage in activities such as reading, stories, listening for much longer with bluebee. Students who often want to play alone will be prone to listen to a story with a peer if the story is read by a Bluebee.
5. Are you experiencing any technical or implementation difficulties when using Bluebee Pals? Please explain.
One student became frustrated when Bluebee had enough battery to say low battery but not enough battery to properly function, but no real technical issues. Very easy to use.
6. What are your most favorite and least favorite things about using Bluebee Pals?
The moving mouth seems to be the biggest hit. It helps the child engage and focus as you would in real conversation. No least favorite so far!
7. Anything else to share?
The Bluebees have been a great teaching item. The Bluebees seem to be a great item to help kids who are usually hesitant be more open to new activities.
Crystal Academy of Coral Gabes, Florida received an early Christmas Present. Bluebee Pals were donated to Crystal Academy. They specialize in early intervention and education for children overcoming the challenges of Autism Spectrum and related disabilities.
They believe every child’s life begins with the ability and desire to communicate with the people they love. Children on the autism spectrum suffer difficulties in all areas of communication, socialization, and learning. Early intensive intervention has proven critical to these children realizing their highest potential.
CRYSTAL ACADEMY’s premium therapy center utilizes a variety of evidence-based and ancillary services combined in a holistic program personalized to each child. Services are focused on the child’s specific needs and coordinated to optimize measurable results.
In the Primary School at Crystal Academy, they develop and nurture the children’s unique abilities, while meeting their needs and challenges through a curriculum designed specifically for each child including academics, evidence-based therapy services, and socialization with peers.
Central to their approach is the belief that the brain can be re-wired and impaired cognitive function enhanced or even fully replaced. New neural pathways can be developed through intensive intervention during the early years. They are proud to provide a variety of services that include intensive Behavior Therapy based on the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) and Speech and Language Pathology, also incorporating Occupational and Physical Therapy, Sensory Integration, Neuro-Developmental techniques, life skills, Music and Art as Therapy, Gymnastics, and socialization and play activities.
Crystal Academy programs were developed to provide a behavior milestones and language acquisition intervention that promotes appropriate cognitive and social development, communication and language, independence and life skills.
A comprehensive evaluation of a child’s skills and developmental challenges is conducted by their staff in order to design a child’s personalized program. A program designed to provide behavior milestones and language acquisition and promote appropriate cognitive and social development, communication and language, independence and life skills. A detailed assessment of each child’s progress is provided to parents every six months. An objective measurement of skills is performed every day.
Last, but certainly not least, at Crystal Academy, they believe learning should be a fun and rich relationship between the child and the staff.
CRYSTAL ACADEMY Coral Gables.
107 Antilla Avenue
Coral Gables, Florida 33134
After a play date with Hudson, where he showed her his wish list for the holidays, Lily thought it would be a great idea to make a list herself. She decided too, to ask mommy, daddy, and her sisters what was on their lists. “This will be the best holiday ever,” she thought. She liked the idea of books, learning games, and toys that she could play with her sisters. The season is all about sharing and enjoying the warmth and love of your family, she thought. Here is Lily’s List:
Sometimes, it is just hard to get started or stop a fun activity and go onto something else less fun. Lily has seen this with her younger sisters and had heard about an app where there were songs to help transition to a new activity. Everyday Grooves is that app. It was developed by the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College, so you know it has been thoroughly researched. Mommy can play it on her phone, and she and her Bluebee Pal can sing the songs to make transitions easier for her twin sisters. You see when Bluebee sings a song, everybody listens.This app works on both iPad and iPhones that use an older iOS (under 11. On the iPad, it is an enlarged screen from the iPhone – but you don’t need to watch anything in particular – it is about the song being used as a call to action). It’s perfect for Lily’s big sister to use on her older iPhone with Lily’s Bluebee.
A sweet little pre-math app developed by the brother/sister team, Will and Cara Jessop, for Enabling Play, is The Amazing Adventures of Millie Moreorless. It was specifically designed for children with learning difficulties. The pacing and graphics are key to what makes this app successful. New research is showing that children who are able to recognize and discriminate the concept of “More” from a grouping of objects early on have greater success with math as they are able to better sequence, classify, and visually place objects that they relate when navigating and interacting.
Lily’s a busy girl. She likes to discover and find out about new things. She also would like to apply what she’s learned to new situations, and so it can be hard to settle down at nap or nighttime. She loves that her Daddy can record stories on the iPad so that her Bluebee Pal can read a story in Daddy’s voice if he’s away. It makes her feel calm. The one she loves the best is Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site produced by OceanHouse Media. It’s all about busy builder trucks that work hard building during the day, and need to settle down to rest. Lily loves hearing the names of all the trucks and what they do.
Lily wants to be an architect when she grows up. She loves to build and design things. She knows that careful measurements go a long way when building. She saw the app Measure Up by PBS Kids. It had all her favorites from her T.V. shows and videos on YouTube. There were Peg and Cat, Dino Train and Sid! In the app, kids can explore 3 different worlds and begin to compare and contrast length, width, height, weight, and capacity. These are foundational skills not only for math and science in later years but also in navigating one’s world.
Lily’s secret wish is for a Bluebee Pal for all her sisters. There is so much for them to do – sing songs together, talk to Grammie, play games, or simply read a book. Lily also likes to play pretend with her Bluebee – her sisters and their Bluebees could all join in for a tea party, build amazing buildings with blocks, and explore outside together. It would be double the fun if all of us and our Bluebees could play together. Now she thought she heard something about a monkey named Parker…
Thanksgiving Bluebee Pal Giveaway
**Must create mandatory entry to enter for giveaway**
Bluebee’s “mouth” to move while you’re reading storybooks, engaging in learning apps, singing songs & much more! Our award-winning Bluebee Pals will enhance your child’s learning journey in a variety of ways. They can stream any song, story app (in any language), educational software and activities, to capture and retain your child’s attention all while promoting fun interaction. Bluebee Pals wide range of app compatibility introduce an exciting communication device that fosters educational opportunities for all mainstream and special needs children.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Bluebee inspires learning through educational and therapeutic apps
- Bluebee provides a safe environment in which to practice new skills
- Bluebee serves as a witness to a child’s accomplishments
- Gentle encouragement to persist is provided through Bluebee’s presence
- Bluebee provides a novel and inviting conversational partner
- Bluebee uses AAC just like many of our students and clients
Hudson, that silly puppy, is being smart this year with a list already for Mommy to send out. What does he have on his list? Some books, some learning apps that are challenging, and of course some apps and toys for fun. Here are a few of his top picks:
Oceanhouse Media, a long-time favorite of Bluebee for their outstanding work with children’s media, has a host of Holiday Books. One that Hudson loves is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. This is a holiday classic where children learn about the true meaning of a family’s love and faith – it has all the elements of suspense that are near and dear to a child beginning to celebrate the holidays. It is told in a way that only Dr. Suess can. Highlighted words and the options to have the book read aloud or a parent reading or recording the book make this an outstanding app to be treasured for years to come.
My Hanukkah by Debora Castelnova is an endearing app for young children to learn about the traditions and activities of Hanukkah. This free app contains the story of Hanukkah, music, and activities such as puzzles with items used in celebrating Hanukka, spot the difference, and simple coloring pages that reinforce the story. After looking at a few other apps, this one really stood out and seemed to address developmentally appropriate activities with great care. Every activity was constructed to engage children. Hudson was thrilled to play the app over and over! There are also printables available on the website. Thank-you Debora!
Axel Scheffler’s Flip Flap Ocean by Nosy Crow is a delightful frolic into the ocean by finding AND MAKING both familiar and new species by scrolling through the tops and bottoms of different sea creatures. Nosy Crow has both books in interactive app form and hardbound books. It would be fun to have both for group play between Bluebee and your child so that your child could help Bluebee replicate the newly formed animal in the book. This would teach visual shifting, beginning turn-taking, and refining matching and sorting skills. Hudson likes to come up with silly and fun combinations and show them off before reading the poem aloud to his friends.
Mother Goose Club by StoryToys has been a hands-down favorite for Hudson this year, and he plays with it on a daily basis. It is a subscription-based service that is continually updated and offers new content on a monthly basis for toddlers and preschoolers. There are plenty of songs to learn and sing, games to play, and challenging learning activities. All the videos teach core foundational skills for kids in a playful way – and facilitates memory, language, and the imitation of movements.
Cowly Owl’s Little Digits has recently been updated for young users. Hudson loves to count and especially loves a good numbers shout-out to his friends. In this app, children learn the sequence and what quantity means by using a 1:1 correspondence. Through simply tapping their fingers on the screen, children drive home (body and mind) what 3 feels like, and can quickly progress to simple adding and subtraction. In this way, they begin to see numbers as applicable and real…and that plants the seed to a lifelong love for math.
Hudson loves to pretend and likes to dress up to make it seem more real. He loves the role play costumes from Melissa and Doug. Using Bluebee in an open play scheme such as being a Doctor, Police Officer, Teacher, or Chef – gives your child a chance to habituate to varying places they may go, what to do IF, and the chance to pre-rehearse unexpected changes in routine. Bluebee can whisper in Mom or Dad’s ear the possibilities of responses or actions. These then can be reinforced so that a child may know what to do in certain situations.
This is Hudson’s List…What’s on Yours?
For the holiday season, I wanted to review two different apps for children to use with Bluebee Pal. Since children celebrate all different holidays I wanted to include apps that celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Bluebee can celebrate any holiday with you! With so many apps out there, I want to highlight some of my favorites.
Who doesn’t love Charlie Brown? This character is a favorite for both adults and children! A Charlie Brown Christmas and iMessage by Loud Crow Interactive Inc is a fun and interactive app and voted iPhone and iPad App of the Week. Peter Robbins who is the original voice of Charlie Brown narrates the rebirth of the 1965 animated classic as a storybook with illustrations, dialogue, and music for the Christmas season.
This app which is priced at $4.99 includes a variety of activities to keep both you and your child busy. When the app opens up, you can choose the record player or storybook. The app immediately starts reading the story, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Each page is fun and interactive with objects moving in all different ways.
For example, on the first page of the book, all of the characters on ice move in a different way. They can spin, ice skate and glide across the ice! As the story reads aloud, this is where Bluebee Pal comes in. Let Bluebee Pal take the role of the reader in this interactive storybook app. Within the storybook, you can decorate the tree and add ornaments of your choice. Take a personal picture to add to the storybook with the camera option! Throughout the story, there are other voices from different characters that will keep your child engaged and excited about the story.
Me & You/Jewish Holidays App is great for Hanukkah and all of the Jewish Holidays. With this app, you can help facilitate play, interaction with an adult and early Jewish learning for your young child. With this app, you can pose for photos in the various backgrounds representing the different holidays.
When taking pictures of your child or student (with permission from the parent if it’s your student), have them act out Jewish holiday actions. When your photos are complete, all of the photos will be combined together with a new holiday song by Elana Jagoda.
This is where Bluebee Pal can help out by singing the songs with you and your child. Within the app, you can help your child follow directives and encourage pretend play by “eating”, showing “I’m sorry” face and much more. This activity can also help work on improving a child’s ability to understand how their facial expressions can communicate specific feelings and actions. An overall fun and educational app for the family!
The Big Day is here! You’ve prepped by practicing certain aspects of the day’s celebrations – reading stories, decorating and trying or discussing new foods – but then the unexpected happens. Whatever are you going to do? Employ Bluebee to the rescue of course! Bluebee has been a trusted friend for a while, and your child knows to hold on tight when things get bumpy. By holding him tight, kids receive the body input needed to stay calm. Adults do things too to stay calm and focused – leaning against a wall, playing with the change in their pockets, or eating crunchy, chewy or creamy foods. We all look and need support when overwhelmed. Here are some strategies for the big day of keeping things running smooth.
- Using an app such as Choiceworks by BeeVisual LLC, begin the day with what the events and expectations are going to be throughout the day. This app has many applications, from using it at a grocery store for a “Food Hunt or Check-off List” or simply keeping kids in the cart by giving them a job to designing schedules, or “If/Then contingencies. Choiceworks is one of the most versatile apps that I have used in helping to keep kids regulated. One of the nicest features is the ability to take pictures of real objects and input the names of the pictures so Bluebee can read off the schedule and say all done when finished. We all are able to remain calm when we know what to expect. Many times, we think children know or can go with the flow of things when really their systems are way beyond overload already. Giving little one’s choices also helps them feel in control.
- Practice social greetings before the big day by pairing Bluebee with a phone where an older sibling or your spouse is in another room – prompting your child through Bluebee. You can even have pretend tea parties – using such apps as Toca Tea Party – (read review).
- If you need your child to wear something special – try it on and wear it before the big day to get the “scratchiness out”. Also letting the child know that the outfit is for wearing short-term. Practice having it on for an hour, then taking it off. Visual Timers are perfect for this. Search for one that pleases your child. In addition, Bluebee can wear a similar outfit too, making it less painful. I often get clothes for our Bluebees at a second-hand shop or by PJs on sale for a couple dollars or less. 6-9 month clothing seems to fit Bluebee fine.
- Try to make time for your child to adjust and try new foods before the big day. There is nothing like pulling out Aunt Birdie’s gelatin mold for the first time and expecting your child to be thrilled to eat it. If you do know of traditional holiday foods – try to incorporate a taste of them in the weeks ahead of the holiday, so the sight, sound, and taste of something new don’t send your little one over the edge. Also respect a child when he says, “No thank you.” Holiday meals are not worth a power play, but a time for families to enjoy each other. In other words – Don’t make demands you have no intention, time, or energy to follow through on – choose your battles.
- Lastly, give your child a safe space in which to go, if things get too much. Pop up tents with pillows, Bluebee and a blanket are perfect pairings. Bluebee can be set up to play soothing music or earth sounds to keep your kids calm and give them a sense of space.
What are some of your favorite strategies? Please share. And most of all Happy Days from our family at Bluebee Pals to yours!
Holidays are hectic. There is always a mad dash to get things done, new routines and foods to eat, objects to “not touch” placed about the house, and not to mention well-intentioned relatives invading personal space. This time of year is a great opportunity to provide plenty of practice in dealing with transitions – and who else better than Bluebee to help your child stay calm amidst the chaos and learn to love the holidays. Here are a few strategies for using Bluebee for special occasions:
- Decorate early and have Bluebee and your child help decide where objects go. This not only habituates children to the changes in décor but empowers them to be mindful when interacting with family traditions. Be sure to set aside your breakables in a safe “just to look-at table” or in a cabinet. When setting up a “just to look-at table” allow your child to handle and feel those objects before going on the table or in the cabinet. By having the child sitting on a sofa or carpet, include Bluebee’s thoughts and questions too. He can echo Mommy’s or Daddy’s thoughts…or you can pair your phone and have a spouse or other talk through Bluebee to share the story of how the object became a piece of family history. Let them know its importance and how it represents the love everyone in the family has for each other.
- Read stories about Holiday Routines and what is expected. Check out Helen Wagner’s post for November on recommended stories and apps for Thanksgiving. Making a social story (usually an original story with your child as the star) can help prepare your child for family traditions and special foods that you may have. Rebecca Eisenberg has several recommendations on apps for mealtime with Bluebee. These are two very experienced Speech Pathologists that have great insights into the use of Bluebee in establishing new routines. In an upcoming post, I will take you through the steps in making a social storybook.
- Just because Bluebee the Lion is named “Leo”, doesn’t mean your child can’t give him a nickname. By addressing him/her by name – gives a familiarity and space where anything can be shared. Practice talking to Bluebee and sharing your worries, and have him whisper to you a response. Many times, children know what they need, but are unable to verbalize it. Sometimes a hug from a friend is all that’s needed. Demonstrate and practice with Bluebee – as he/she is always available for hugs and advice if needed.
In Part two, we will review a few more tips for making your holidays memorable and happy!
Apps from Mrs. Wagner’s classroom November 2017
It’s November! Turkey time! Time for family get-togethers, traditions, history lessons, and remembering to be thankful! Here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving-themed apps. We love to pair them up with our favorite Bluebee Pals for maximum learning fun. Enjoy!
Turkey Forgot How To Gobble by Alexis H. Purcell
Oh no! Joey the turkey has forgotten how to gobble! His barnyard friends rooster, cat, dog, Minnie Moo and Gillie the turkey all join in to help him find his gobble! This is a cute interactive story about friendship, helping one another and perseverance. Great for learning and imitating animal sounds, same/different, wh-questions, and critical thinking skills. When you press an animal, it makes its own sound! Do you know the sounds each animal makes? Turn the pages on your own, so that you can talk about the story while you read. My preschoolers love this book app!
Just So Thankful – Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media
Little Critter learns about being thankful for what he has! There’s a new kid in town who seems to have everything, including the Super Streak scooter that Little Critter wants! But Little Critter soon discovers that he has something that money can’t buy…his loving family! This sweet story is great for teaching the value of family over possessions and has lots of vocabulary words to learn, too! One of our favorite features is the ability to record the story in your or your child’s own voice! Be sure to search for and find the hidden creatures in the book…can you find them all? Works beautifully with your Bluebee Pals!
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving – A Peanuts Interactive Classic for All Ages by Loud Crow Interactive Inc.
What would Thanksgiving be without this classic? Join Charlie Brown and all of the Peanuts gang as they get together for a feast! Kick a football with Charlie Brown (can he trust Lucy?), help Snoopy prepare the eats, set the table, and discover the meaning of Thanksgiving! Great fun for reading and discussion.
Hand Turkey Thanksgiving by Jay Ayres
This is a very simple but enjoyable little app for the younger ones. Press your hand on the screen to make your own turkey, then name it and decorate it! Great for cause and effect and following simple directions. You can draw and rake fall leaves and create your own turkey stampede!
The Berenstain Bears Give Thanks by Oceanhouse Media
The little bear family celebrates and acts out the story of the original Thanksgiving. Sister bear discovers something she is really thankful for. As always with this series, there is a moral to the story! Excellent to use for sequencing. Readers can read the book or record it in their own voice. A very sweet tale!
**I can not use this book in my public school due to its decidedly Christian perspective; however, I do love it and enjoy sharing it with friends and family!!!
What’s new in the Bluebee Pals Project? Donations, donations, donations! Kayle Concepts has connected with THE leading resource for those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders – The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD). CARD was founded in 1990 by Doreen Granpeesheh, Ph.D., BCBA-D after she was inspired by a young boy named Corey.
After studying under renowned Autism therapy scientist, Dr. Ivan Lovaas for 12 years, Dr. Granpeesheh was profoundly touched by the positive affect therapy had on Corey. She began a center that now has over 100 locations across the U.S. CARD has two programs (CARD I and CARD II) that serve children birth to 21 years old in the areas of communication, friendships, health and Specialized Outpatient Services (SOS).
CARD provides families resources for health providers and therapists as well as opportunities to learn real-life strategies to help their family member with ASD gain crucial skills. Many families and person with Autism depend on organizations like CARD to assist in navigating our ever-changing world! http://www.nova.edu/card/
With the help of Dr. Carol Zangari, Director of Nova Southeastern Universities Satellite CARD, numerous Bluebee Pals have been donated to the University of Miami CARD, University of Central Florida CARD, University of Florida CARD and Florida Atlantic University CARD.
We are beyond thankful to Dr. Zangari for helping to unite Kayle Concepts and these CARD locations! Each of these centers is associated with communicative sciences and disorders clinics, allowing the donated Bluebee Pals to be used during speech-language therapy sessions! We can’t wait to hear how the speech-language pathology graduate students, clinical directors and most of all clients are interacting with Bluebee Pals!
But that’s not all! Bluebee Pals have also been donated to the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST) in Tallahassee, Florida. FAAST is a part of the Florida Department of Education’s Assistive Technology (AT) Act of 1998 and as such receives grants to help provide AT services throughout Florida. FAAST has regional centers serving the Gulf Coast, Northwest, Northeast, Central, Atlantic and Southern areas of Florida. Their many services include providing information, referral services, educational programs, access to publications/research and funding opportunities related to Assistive Technology.
Those in need of AAC devices that can help them find their voice can go to FAAST for device loans, device exchange, and reuse options, AT evaluations and demonstrations. The world of Assistive Technology can be very overwhelming with families often unaware of where to start their journey. We thank FAAST for being a trustworthy guide to AAC users and their families AND letting Bluebee Pals be part of the process! It is a perfect fit as our Bluebee’s are device users themselves – communicating with the help of iPads and Android tablets! Stay tuned to hear how Bluebee Pals are being used at the Tallahassee FAAST center in the near future!
What we love…
fun personalized animal themed app that lets parents or caregivers record their voices to help teach their children about animals, also it uses real photos of animals versus cartoon depictions
What we’d love to see…
ability to more easily remove animals or categorize them by type
Fun animal themed app with educational value especially for toddlers and young children learning their animals
MTA Animals by My Toddlers App, LLC is a iPad only app that includes over 40 animal photographs designed to teach your toddler or children about animals. The animals range from cats and dogs to whales and elephants using real photographs. It is designed for preschool aged children and teaches image recognition as well as early spelling. There are two ways to access the app, one is a “toddler/preschool” version which means they can touch the different animals; the “parent/caregiver” requires to either multi-tap or press and hold to access the setup.
One of my 2 year old’s favorite parts of the app was seeing his picture as well as the animal and hearing my voice. I always supervise my 2 year old when he is using my iPad and he seemed a bit surprised that he was hearing my voice from the iPad. When you use the app, you are presented with a photo of your child/name, the animal and then a spoken statement.
This could be a great thing for grandparents to record so that your kids remain familiar with their voices. I also liked that once your child heard the name of the animal, you could tap on it to hear the animals sound over and over again. One of the things that differentiates the app from others, is that the app uses actual photos of animals versus cartoon type animals. I also liked that it was easy to add animals, but child safe in that my son couldn’t easy delete animals without following a multi-step process.
To add the animals, first you must tap on the “add” button three times, then you can choose the specific animal you want to add from a scroll of animals. From there you record your voice (parent) reading a statement about the animal. I’ll admit, there were a few times where I did add a word like “dog” and then said the name of my mom’s dog Lacey. Once you have recorded the animals, your child can tap on the animal to see the photo of the animal as well as the spelling at the bottom which comes in while the word is pronounced.
When you first set up the app, you enter your child’s name and put a photo of them so they can see their photo as well as the image when using it. Also in the settings, you can change the background color and text to your kids favorite colors! By the time we were done testing the app, my son was practicing saying the names of his favorite animals – even ones he hadn’t been familiar with in the past.
In terms of enhancements, it would be nice if could personalize the app for more than one child. As it currently works, you can only add the name of one child/photo although I typed both of my kids names and put a photo of both of them together so one didn’t feel left out. I would also like to be able to group animals by type – for example pets like dogs, cats and horse versus insects like ladybug or bee. I would also like an easy way to “hide” or “remove” animals. As I put more animals on, at times my son would just randomly scroll looking for animals and just kept tapping rather than engaging with the app. It might also be fun if you could put in your own photos of your pets (like dog) instead of using the images contained in the app, in the future.
Overall, this is a fun animal themed app that encourages kids to learn more about animals in an easy to use toddler friendly app. It includes over 40 different animals and can provide hours of fun for your kids as they practice seeing their favorite animals.
10 Ways to Use Bluebee Pal during AAC Therapy
Bluebee Pal is a plush educational learning tool that can be connected to a tablet, phone or computer via Bluetooth. Once connected to a device (such as an iPhone or iPad), this interactive educational tool can talk, sing, etc.
Bluebee Pal’s technology includes lip synchronization that allows the animal’s “mouth” to move while reading storybooks, engaging in learning apps or singing songs. As an app reviewer for Bluebee Pals for the past two years, I have discovered countless ways of using this tool to meet speech and language goals with my clients that present with complex communication needs. To see my app reviews on Bluebee Pal’s website, click here (https://www.bluebeepals.com/beccas-app-reviews/).
In order to meet these goals below, you would need two different devices. One device that is connected to Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth and one that has a communication system installed, whether dedicated or non-dedicated for your student. As an SLP that has specialized in the field of AAC of the past 18 years, I generally target multiple goals during a variety of activities. In this article, I want to share how to use Bluebee Pal to meet AAC goals in both the therapy room and in the classroom.
- Reading a Story: Since Bluebee Pal is connected to your device, this toy can read any book to your student that is downloaded on an app or available online. When reading the story, pause, ask questions and encourage your student to comment via their AAC system. Listening to Bluebee Pal read the story can be engaging and exciting for a child, which can help meet your goals more readily. Some of my favorite story apps include Go Away Green Monster and Crepes for Suzette. I also like the story time apps One More Story and Storybots. For more suggestions of story time apps, check out my article here (http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2016/08/18/5-excellent-storytelling-apps-for-kids-with-special-needs/)
- Improving choice making: During an AAC evaluation or training present Bluebee as a choice for requesting. With the child’s communication device, they can work on creating sentences and use describing words to request Bluebee. This would be a great opportunity to create the sentence, “I want soft Zebra”, or “I want blue puppy”. For those children who want to figure out how to say Bluebee without it being programmed, navigate to colors for “blue” and then the “bugs” page for bee. Combine to say Bluebee! Other ways that a child can make choices is within the app itself. The child can request specific sounds within a soundboard app like in the picture below. This is a wonderful opportunity for creative and complex sentences that can be modeled and then communicated by the child.
- Answer “wh” questions: This is often a common goal that appears on IEPs and lesson plans. Use Bluebee pal to ask questions in the app About You and Me by Super Duper Publications. Responding to Bluebee pal can increase motivation and engagement among students. This can also help the student practice answering “wh” questions about themselves.
- Social Story Companion: Social stories are commonplace in special education classroom because they help meet a variety of both social and communication goals. Use an app such as Pictello and let Bluebee read the social story with your student.
- Pretend Play: Bluebee Pal is perfect for dramatic play! Since Bluebee is a stuffed animal, he can participate in lots of different play from dress up to be at a tea party! There are a variety of ways that you can incorporate Bluebee into dramatic play. Bluebee can start conversations with your student via being connected to a communication app or provide the voice and music in the app such as Toca Boca Tea Party.
- Use for AAC Assessment: The app that I use often for assessment is AAC Genie. With Bluebee connected, this tool can help with assessment. Let this educational tool guide your student through the protocol which can help keep the child motivated during the evaluation. For a more in-depth look at how to use Bluebee with AAC genie, click here (https://www.bluebeepals.com/app-reviews/make-aac-assessment-interactive-bluebee-pal-pro/)
- Learn Phonics: Learning phonics and literacy is the key to communication. With the app, Phonics you can expose your student to exploring phonics. Another way is using the phonic keyboard on Touch Chat with Word Power during a literacy activity. Let Bluebee Pal answer the question, “What does the letter “a” sound like?”
- Categorization: Working on categorization is another common goal to target during speech and language therapy. When a child can learn categories more readily, this can help speed up communication and expand vocabulary. It can also help with improving word association. With one app that I reviewed called Categories Therapy Lite, Bluebee Pal can help a child learn categories. To learn more about learning categories with Bluebee Pal, click on the app review here (https://www.bluebeepals.com/app-reviews/beccas-app-reviews/category-therapy-lite-bluebee-pals/).
- Learning Actions: Learn actions with the app, Actions in Video. This app can help students combine symbols together into sentences focused on actions. At the end of the sentence, hear Bluebee Pal say the whole sentence or record your own voice. To practice on their AAC system, ask them to construct the same sentences on their AAC system with modeling and prompting as needed.
- Turn-taking in conversation: Bluebee Is a perfect companion for practicing taking turns in conversation. This can be done with a Bluebee connected to an iPad with a communication app or within an app such as Elmo Calls. For more tips on how to use Elmo Calls with Bluebee, check out my review here (https://www.bluebeepals.com/app-reviews/beccas-app-reviews/phone-calls-elmo/).
AUTHOR : Rebecca Eisenberg, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist, author, instructor, and parent of two children, who began her website gravitybread.com to create a resource for parents to help make mealtime an enriched learning experience. She has worked as a specialist in area of Augmentative and Alternative Communication for over 15 years serving both children and adults with varying disabilities in schools, day habilitation programs, home care and clinics.
Becca currently works as a speech language pathologist on the tech team at the Westchester Institute for Human Development in Valhalla, NY.
Literacy and Mealtime
We are proud to present the Learning® Magazine 2017 Teachers’ ChoiceSM Award Family Evaluation Form. Below you will find the comments on Bluebee Pals. As you read the comments, please note that this is the literal text from the evaluation forms. They have not differentiated comments between the teachers on each team who provide the insight into the panel’s thoughts on our product.
Product: Bluebee Pals – Lion Company: Kayle Concepts What aspects of this product did you like most?
I can’t say enough about this awesome toy. It is not only cute but is hard to leave alone. It is soft and stands up to much playfulness with the children. The lion is very realistic when he talks. It is so easy to get started. None of us had to read the instructions. It has many great features. This was reminiscent of Teddy Ruxpin, though not nearly as creepy as I remember him. However, the excitement that this Lion created for my six-year-old was that same crazy love that everyone had for old Teddy back in the 80s. The website had a lot of great things going for it. The font used was big and clear and the pictures were great. I especially loved how the children looked real, not like kids picked to do a GAP ad. Everything is clear and looks clean.
The Bluebee Pals were a hit with my youngest child. He was absolutely fascinated with the fact that the lion could be used for phone calls, music, and learning applications. I was really impressed with the quality of the sound from the speakers. We never had any connection problems with any of the Bluetooth devices we used. The directions are thoroughly written, so I really had no need to watch the demonstration video, however, I did to ensure I was not missing anything. The stitching on the animal was strong, so there were never any issues with holes or tears in the animal. He is so soft, and my son loved to cuddle with him during story times.
When we used it with the learning applications and stories, it was a great tool to keep my son focused for a longer period of time. We are always reading to our boys, which is so important in early literacy development. This is a great way to have your child read to at any time of the day! What would you recommend to make this product better? Did you
Do find Bluebee Pals product interesting or motivating for children? Please explain. My kids take this lion almost everywhere. They both love it. It is helpful with my son for reading. It is also just fun to watch a story or song come to life while the lion tells it to you. The lion is very well synchronized. We all love him! My son loves this Lion. He loved it the moment we took it out of the box. He loved solely as a stuffed animal and usually prefers baby dolls to stuffed animals so this is pretty big for him. We connected it to Pandora, it’s all he wanted to do for days, just listen to Pandora through “Bluebee“. He also almost lost his mind when we took a call from Daddy and Daddy was talking through Bluebee. His biggest disappointment in life is that all of our calls don’t come through Bluebee and that we don’t get more calls.
He really thinks of Bluebee as his friend. My son was very motivated to use this product. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, he was excited to read books and work on learning applications because his lion pal was talking to him. I definitely can see this used at home, and even in a preschool setting to motivate children to want to do learning activities. It really makes the learning come alive for the child! I felt like a kid again when I turned him on and he came to life. He reminded me of my Teddy Ruxpin from a long time ago!
Would you recommend this product to another parent whose child is at the appropriate grade/age level? Why or why not? Yes, yes, yes. This is an awesome educational and fun toy for all ages. I like it, my 12-year-old dies, and my nine years old adores it. The lion, bluebee pal, is highly recommended. I would. It’s a cute fun product and makes for a sweet friend for children. It was fun to see my son’s face light up every time he played with it and how everyone who has come to my house since we got him got a proper introduction. He brags about all the things “Bluebee” can do and before we know it a dance party has broken out.
What parent doesn’t want a dance party, especially when the alternative might be another round of PlayStation 3? Thank you for the dance parties, Bluebee Pals. I would recommend this product to children ages 3-5. My oldest son had an initial attraction to the product, but it was my youngest that was absolutely fascinated with it. I think this is a great way to motivate children to want to read, so anything that promotes early literacy interest/skills is a great product. You can use it for just playing music while the family joins in on the fun or a more focused environment like a learning activity. I was really impressed with the Bluebee Pals. Great product!!
Bluebee Pals were donated to University of Miami – Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD). Individuals with autism and related disabilities frequently require specialized services and supports.
CARD, The Center for Autism & Related Disabilities, is a network of state-funded outreach and support centers based at universities around the state. In South Florida, the main center is at the University of Miami (UM-NSU CARD).
The center at NSU(Nova Southern University) is a satellite of UM-NSU CARD and was established in 1999 to serve the community in Broward County. They are housed in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) in the College of Health Care Sciences at Nova Southeastern University and collaborate closely with the main South Florida CARD Center at the University of Miami.
Dr. Carole Zangari serves as Executive Director of the NSU Satellite and met with Laura Jiencke(founder of Bluebee Pals) to discuss and confirm the Bluebee donation to various offices and branches of UM-NSU CARD. She is a professor of speech-language pathology (SLP) at Nova Southeastern University. In addition to autism and other developmental disabilities, her areas of interest include augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), assistive technology, and literacy.
What is CARD? CARD stands for the Center for Autism & Related Disabilities. Our center, based at the University of Miami and Nova Southeastern University, is one of seven state-funded, university-based outreach and support centers in Florida dedicated to optimizing the potential of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), dual sensory impairment, sensory impairments with other disabling conditions, and related disabilities.
In addition to ASD, CARD also serves a variety of related disabilities including deaf-blindness, sensory impairments with other disabling conditions, developmental delays in children under 5 who also present with autistic-like behaviors, and genetic disorders that may co-exist with autism symptoms (e.g., Fragile X Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Tuberous Sclerosis, Angelman Syndrome, among others). Over the years, CARD’s constituency has grown from 88 families in 1993 to over 9,000 families today in Monroe, Miami-Dade, and Broward counties.
CARD services are designed to build on the capacities of state and local resources, not to duplicate or replace them. CARD provides families with resources specific to their needs. Some of the services that CARD provides include:
- Individualized Client and Family Support
• Family and Professional Training
• Public Education and Awareness and Community Outreach
• Programmatic Consultation and Technical Assistance
University of Miami – Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD)
CARD Main Office
University of Miami
5665 Ponce De Leon Blvd.
P.O. Box 248768
Coral Gables, FL 33124
CARD Satellite Office
Nova Southeastern University
6100 Griffin Road
Davie, FL 33314
CARD Branch Office
By appointment only.
CARD Branch Office
5801 NW 151st Street Suite #201
Miami Lakes, FL 33014
CARD Branch Office
By appointment only.
The attention span for a 3-4-year-old is typically 3-8 minutes. Of course if truly motivated by an activity kids may focus and engage for longer, but respect a child’s right to say “All Done”. All done may be after finishing or cleaning up, but then end the activity. Picking up an activity later is always an option, and many times may happen 5 minutes later! Presenting kids with choices and decisions helps them recall directions and rules. It also empowers them to repeat play and to experiment with their behaviors and responses. In addition, providing choices supports a child to be an independent and lifelong learner. Children at the age of 3-4 love challenges and testing out their new-found abilities. 3-4-year-olds base what they know on information obtained through direct experience. Asking a child to help you with practical life tasks encourages them to recall the steps of an activity, and therefore they begin to rehearse the steps needed to memory. Simple turn-taking games teach waiting flexibility, and the ability to retain directives. 3-4-year-olds also need to win most of the time when playing games, as they have difficulty shifting between concepts and ideas.
These are all great apps to use with Bluebee pals for 3-4-year-olds. They facilitate skills that are developmentally appropriate to expand a child’s ability to interact and learn from their world. Because children at this age have blurred lines between fantasy and reality, it doesn’t matter if the app itself is paired with their Bluebee Pal. Bluebee is a loyal and trusted friend you can share your thoughts, feelings and in addition, someone to bear witness to your newly discovered talents. So, “When an app doesn’t pair, don’t despair!” Children will benefit from both. Saying “Bluebee wants to watch and learn from you”, is not only empowering by a child taking on a leadership role but also of tremendous benefit for self-confidence. And that is what turns child’s play into the making of a ready learner.
Apple Patch Therapy & Learning is a family and therapist-owned private practice in Orlando, Florida. Named “Best Speech Pathologists in Orlando 2017”, Apple Patch provides comprehensive speech and language therapy services to adults and children in the home and clinical settings.
I had the pleasure of working with Apple Patch Therapy this Summer thanks to the dedicated and forward-thinking owners Dino and Josann Fernandez. Not only do their therapists provide specialized 1:1 therapy to children and adult, but they are also privy to the Fernandez’s tech adventures! Dino and Josann are currently developing an app to facilitate the treatment of various modes of speech and language called SLP Assistant!
I instantly knew that Apple Patch would be a perfect fit for implementation of Kayle Concepts Bluebee Pals educational tool. Their love for incorporating innovative technology into therapy sessions showed as they dove in head first with the Bluebee Pals. The speech-language pathologist used Bluebee Pals with children in the home and clinical settings during 1:1 therapy and the results were exceptional!
Some of the highlights were:
- higher engagement for children
- increased phrase length when talking to Bluebee
- sustained participation in repetitive tasks
- motivation from all ages including middle school students
- great tool for following directions
- success as a communication icebreaker for conversational skills
- wonderful signing partner
- increased sustained participation and motivation for articulation drilling
The therapists at Apple Patch Therapy were very creative with their use of the educational tool! They used Bluebee Pals as an “alter ego” to comfort their more shy and reserved clients as well as encouraging them to hold the cute and plush toy for an additional sensory component. We were thrilled to hear that Bluebee Pals were able to help children reach their communication goals while having fun during therapy sessions! We can’t wait to see what else the inspiring Apple Patch team with Bluebee Pals in the near future! http://www.applepatchtherapy.com
Oh Boy! It’s October! My students and I are getting all geared up for plenty of good books and apps! Here are some of our favorites for this month! Grab your Bluebee Pal and try one out!
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Loud Crow Interactive Inc
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/its-the-great-pumpkin-charlie-brown/id552498441?mt=8. Gather around with your Bluebee Friends and enjoy this classic Halloween tale, complete with the original narration! Create your own avatar and costume, and carve a pumpkin! All of your Peanuts friends are here to celebrate the big event! Will the Great Pumpkin make an appearance?This is a great book to read and discuss, retell, and practice sequencing!
Mystery Word Town – Sight Word Spelling by Artgig Studio
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mystery-word-town-sight-word-spelling/id983733111?mt=8 This is a fun app to practice spelling skills! Your goal is to find the gold and capture the outlaws in Word Town! Explore the buildings to complete spelling challenges. Featuring 3 levels of difficulty, you can use the included word lists, or create your own. You can even record your voice to use with your own words. This is an excellent way to easily practice spelling and vocabulary words. For use with single or multiple players. My kids have so much fun, they forget they are learning! You can play this game with your Bluebee Pal by your side!
Mystery Math Museum by Artgig Studio
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mystery-math-museum/id640754583?mt= This is an engaging app for practicing math skills while exploring 8 museums while helping a friendly ghost rescue dragonflies! Unlock rooms and passages as you practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills. Select the skills you want to work on by customizing the activities to suit your needs! Great for problem-solving and critical thinking skills!
Room on the Broom: Flying by Magic Light Pictures Ltd.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/room-on-the-broom-flying/id949494519?mt=8Take control of the friendly witch’s broom and fly across the sky! Collect stars along the way to see how high you can score! Pick up all of your friends, but watch out for the fire-breathing dragon! Catch letters to spell words! What fun!
Room on the Broom: Games by Magic Light Pictures Ltd.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/room-on-the-broom-games/id705107094?mt=8 There are 8 magical games to play to foster creativity and critical thinking skills, all while having fun! Collect medals while playing the games, which feature all of the wonderful characters from the book! You can fly from star to star making pictures in the sky, help the dragon eat his favorite food, help find things the friendly witch has dropped, and much, much more!
“Room on the Broom”
https://www.amazon.com/Room-Broom-Julia-Donaldson/dp/0142501123/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1507780874&sr=8-1&keywords=room+on+the+broom .One of our favorite books to read in October is “Room on the Broom”. We complete language learning activities centered around the book. the book, from Amazon: “The witch and the cat are happily flying through the sky on a broomstick when the wind picks up and blows away the witch’s hat, then her bow, and then her wand! Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items, and they all return to ride on the broom. But is there room for so many friends? And when disaster strikes, will they be able to save the witch from a hungry dragon?”After reading the book, I let my students play the companion games which are available in the iTunes App Store. There are 2 apps and we love to play both!
With a lot of novel stimuli coming at your child this Halloween, it makes sense to use Bluebee to help your child prepare for a variance in routine. The Halloween Holiday Apps listed on the website here and here are all ways to practice the sequence of what the celebration is all about. It also habituates a child to the sights and more importantly the sounds of the holiday.
By playing or engaging in Halloween activities, it will help a child learn to self-regulate in a safe environment. They can practice facing fears, learn perspective taking, and get into all sorts of scary silly fun in the comforts of home and with loved ones like Bluebee. Some kids that are sensory sensitive may need rehearsals to wear a costume or have costumes made from simple comfortable clothing. One of my sons was sensitive to the fabrics used for most costumes, and so I learned to adapt to his needs through the use of everyday clothing or a sweatshirt and pant that I could paint or alter. It made participation more about the joys of the season rather than the scratchy outfit he was made to wear. By being aware of your child’s cues and adapting – the pay-off is big. The focus is then on fun and how to use these new-found skills appropriately. The biggest plus, however, is that all actions are reinforced with laughter, family fun, and CANDY simply for partaking in the traditions!
Tips for Using Bluebee to prepare for Halloween
To Habituate to Wearing Costumes:
- Have your child dress up Bluebee in silly costumes. I have found that clothing size 6 months to a year fits Bluebee, with 6-9-months being the best fit. If dressing up Bluebee, a child can desensitize to the variations in fabrics and textures and won’t be so freaked out when trying to wear them if he/she has had familiarity with them.
- There is no need to buy new clothing, I buy most of our Bluebee clothes at a Church Thrift Shop. That way I help others and don’t spend a lot.
- And if these tips still do not work, your child can take Bluebee dressed in costume to trick-or-treat and collect candy and goodies for the two of them to share.
To Habituate to the Sounds and Loud Animated Decorations
- Visits stores if able and listen to the displays
- Play Halloween songs, games or apps to familiarize your child with the sound of ghosts, witches, and all things scary. Model appropriate behaviors and responses “Oh, that sounds like that silly ghost toy”.
- And if this does not work, sound deadening headphones may give your child relief.
To Prepare for the Big Day
- Use a visual schedule or a social story to outline the sequence of events. You can make your own social story by taking pictures of your child or using pictures of Bluebee or family members Trick or Treating.
- PLAY, PLAY, PLAY at Trick or Treating and use real treats!
- Again play games, music, and apps to ready your child for the big event.
And if you should get scared….Hold on to Bluebee tight, because FRIENDS ALWAYS get you through those tough spots!
Fun Spanish Language Learning games is a free and engaging app for children who want to learn Spanish. This app is part of series of many different apps by Study Cat include Fun Chinese, Fun French and much more. The app includes 2 Free Lessons and 13 Learning Games. The app is designed for children ages 3-10 and includes courses for preschool, early learners and young children learning different languages. The app combines a language course with different games to keep a child engaged and entertained while learning. The course is divided into lessons with each lesson including core vocabulary in several contexts. Both male and female voices are included with appropriate intonation and expression to learn the pronunciation correctly. The free lessons included are colors and animals. More lessons are available for purchase including numbers, body, fruits, food, clothes, vehicles, the house, sea animals, school bag lesson, and actions. Children love learning and languages introducing at an early age are considered easier to absorb than in later teen years.
These lessons can be purchased individually or in a pack.
Connect your Bluebee Pal!
1. Connect your Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth to your tablet.
2. Let the fun begin. Bluebee Pal can provide the audio feedback during all of the games by helping your child learn new Spanish vocabulary in addition to aiding your child with the sounds of the letters for early learners.
3. Practice the free games in the category of Animals such as Silhouettes (identifying each animal), Two by Two (learn plurals), Spellbounce (spell the animals in Spanish), Whack (singular and plural), Animal Band (reviewing the animals) or Voice Choice (provide your own voice). With Bluebee Pal, learning Spanish will be endless fun for you and your child. Now they have a tech companion that can also teach and motivate them.
Julia, the newest Muppet member on Sesame Street is helping her peers like Big Bird and Elmo get a handle on what being on the Autism Spectrum looks and feels like. And it seems to be working. Although Julia is just making her debut appearance on Sesame Street program this month, a team of researchers from Georgetown University has been studying how effective the program has proven for families who have experienced Sesame’s autism materials which have been in the works longer. After surveying over 1,000 families, more than a third of whom have children with autism the preliminary findings suggest the material helps these families feel more comfortable incorporating them in broader community activities, and that families whose children do not have autism are more accepting of those kids that are on the spectrum.
Several years ago, there was a research study conducted at the University of Central Florida’s Anxiety Disorder Clinic which teamed up with Virtually Better (an Atlanta based interactive technology company) to develop a computer simulation program that allows children to practice social skills in a safe environment through the use of on-screen avatars. The simulation featured a realistic school setting and the on-screen figures include classmates such as a “cool girl”, “smart girl” and a bully as well as a teacher and a principal. The school environment for the program was designed with input from elementary school teachers and the classmates audio responses were recorded by real children so the language reflects real-life conversations. Concepts like greetings, giving and receiving compliments, being assertive and answering questions were practiced between the child and the avatar (with a clinician controlling the role/responses of the avatars from another room). The study focused on children ages 8-12 with social anxiety disorders, but it seems like this would be a concept that could be expanded in the future to include kids on the spectrum and/or with SPD issues.
Then there is Kaspar, the humanoid robot developed at the of the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, England. So far, they’ve built 28 prototypes and research into the effectiveness of Kaspar in supporting children with autism has been published in internationally renowned academic journals.
Finally, check out Bluebee Pals. These friendly, huggable stuffed animals can connect with apps through smart phones, tablets, laptop or any blue tooth enabled device for providing a more animated interaction with technology.
You can find them in our Language & Communication Assortment here. And thanks for spreading the word that April is Autism Awareness Month!
It’s never too early to expose your child to different languages, especially in the younger years. “During this period and especially the first three years of life, the foundations for thinking, language, vision, attitudes, aptitudes, and other characteristics are laid down,” says Ronald Kotulak, author of Inside the Brain. In this article, I am going to list some parent and child-friendly apps to get you started with learning new languages with your child’s favorite interactive toy, Bluebee Pal!
Duolingo is fun and free! It allows you to learn up to 23 languages- Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Irish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Turkish, Norwegian, Polish, Hebrew, Esperanto, Vietnamese, Ukrainian, Welsh, Greek, Hungarian, Romanian, and Swahili. How does the app work? You can choose to create an account or start without signing in. Next, choose a language! Do you want to learn the language casually (5 minutes a day), regular (10 minutes a day), serious (15 minutes a day) or insane (20 minutes a day). Then you either choose the option, beginner or not a beginner which will lead you to a placement test. For children, choose beginner and start the course! The app will open up and start asking multiple choice questions with visuals. Once a choice is activated, you will hear the correct pronunciation of the word and the app will continue. This free version has ads but an ad-free version of this app can be purchased through the app which also includes additional lessons. The free version contains the first lesson which gives you the opportunity to try the app and see if you want to purchase the full version. To learn how to use this with Bluebee Pal, click here.
Baby Sign Language Dictionary-Lite allows the child an opportunity to learn some simple and functional signs for more effective communication. The full version of this app includes 340 signs and over 1 hour of video instruction. This app includes 40 signing video demonstrations and is easy to follow along. According to the app developer, “The keyword signs demonstrated in this video dictionary are based on American Sign Language (ASL). All signs have been carefully selected for their ease of use, helpfulness to carers and appropriateness for baby’s interests and daily routine.” Each sign contains a detailed video tutorial with simple instructions on how to perform the sign, tips to help you remember the sign and practical suggestions on how to introduce the sign to your baby. Various categories included in this app are action words, animals, colors, daily routines, feelings and emotions, food, manners and behavior, nature and much more. Within the settings, you can choose to see the single sign only, autoplay, autoplay, and shuffle or manual transition and shuffle. To learn about how to use this app with Bluebee Pal, check out my review here.
Take a virtual trip to Paris with Suzette, the crepe maker with this language-rich story app that includes a children’s book, videos, photos of Paris and an interactive map with the unique opportunity to explore target words in different languages. Five other languages can be narrated with app including Spanish, Italian, German and Japanese. When playing the app, Suzette (the Parisian crêpe maker and street cart vendor) takes her cart through the streets of Paris and makes delicious crêpes along the way. She meets a postman who orders a strawberry crêpe, children who request chocolate crêpes and the shopper who likes crêpes sprinkled with sugar. On each page, there is the ability to activate each character on the page who all speak the keyword in different voices. This app can not only teach your child new words, but you can learn some fun facts as well! To learn how to use this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.
Fun Spanish Language Learning games is a free and engaging app for children who want to learn Spanish. This app is part of series of many different apps by Study Cat including Fun Chinese, Fun French and much more. The app includes 2 Free Lessons and 13 Learning Games. The app is designed for children ages 3-10 and includes courses for preschool, early learners and young children learning different languages. The app combines a language course with different games to keep a child engaged and entertained while learning. The course is divided into lessons and each lesson includes core vocabulary in several contexts. Both male and female voices are included with appropriate intonation and expression to learn the pronunciation correctly. The free lessons included are colors and animals. More lessons are available for purchase including numbers, body, fruits, food, clothes, vehicles, the house, sea animals, school bag lesson, and actions.These lessons can be purchased individually or in a pack. To learn how to use this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.