Bee – 123 Kids Fun by RosMedia is a delightful eco-friendly app that takes a look at the life of bees and other pollinators. With the onset of Spring, it’s perfect for displaying the interconnection of all living things. Also, carefully placed within the narrative are typical pre-school activities to help develop the following direction, spatial relations, and visual-motor coordination activities. The pace is slightly slowed to allow time for processing the content and success in completing tasks. By providing the “just right challenge,” kids will continue to be motivated and confident, and thereby reinforce learning
Bluebee loves teaching children about the natural world, and there is much to discover with Bluebee as your guide. The Bee – 123 Kids Fun App is comprised of 4 units:
- The life and function of bees in the production of honey and in growing food
- Other pollinators and the importance of using safe products in gardens to protect pollinators
- What it means to be an organic food
- Actions that support the life of pollinators and the ecosystem
On opening the app, children first create a hive and a honeycomb frame to house their bees. To make the hive and honeycomb, kids must match shapes in a puzzle form. Each new task in-turn develops not only early learning skills, but also informs kids about the lifespan and function of all the bees within a hive – queen bee, drones, hive guards, nectar collectors, and forager bees. Games include shape puzzles, visual-motor coordination, sorting and matching games, and mazes to name a few. I do wish, however, that the game for the hive guards was not a boxing match with bee predators. Perhaps a game where kids must deflect moving predators by blocking access to the hive may be less aggressive. In other units, the importance of pollinators in the production of food is stressed and how to differentiate between organic and non-organic foods. There is a brief message encouraging kids to become more aware of the responsibilities we all share in supporting our ecosystem. It is commendable that RosMedia wishes to instill the notion of responsibility and awareness at a young age so that children can form habits of mindfulness in their everyday actions and how it affects other living beings.
Bee – 123 Kids Fun would be a fun app for introducing environmental responsibility or modules about how foods are grown or insect helpers. The artwork is bright with a sense of humor, and content is always delivered on point to a pre-schoolers developmental level.
The Internationa Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is home to a passionate community of global educators who believe in the power of technology to transform teaching and learning, accelerate innovation and solve tough problems in education. ISTE inspires the creation of solutions and connections that improve opportunities for all learners by delivering: practical guidance, evidence-based professional learning, virtual networks, thought-provoking events and the ISTE Standards.
Tech Terra represented a variety of educational products including Bluebee Pals at the 2018 Chicago ISTE Show on June 27-30. This is Bluebee Pals third year participating with Tech Terra and were thrilled to part of the ever-growing technology based educational tools that motivate and engage children to learn. Teaching for mainstream and special needs is challenging in today’s increasing reliance on technology. Bluebee Pals create a more humanoid environment bringing to life app based curriculum on Ipads and Smart Boards for children 3-8. In April, Kayle Concepts launched their upgraded version of Bluebee Pals with more robotic interaction and introducing they’re own educational/life skills app. The New Bluebee Pal app was a big hit at the ISTE Show as educators were drawn to the exciting Bluebee House where children can immerse themselves in activities in five life skills’ rooms and play 9 educational mini-games.https://www.bluebeepals.com In addition, Bluebee Pals pair with all apps with a narrative providing endless education and entertainment for all mainstream and special needs children.
Susan S. Wells, an educator, innovator and pioneer in the field of digital learning, innovative learning spaces and Makerspace design and development, is the founder of TechTerra Education and its Camp TechTerra, TechTerra Training, TechTerra Tools, and the TechTerra curriculum. In addition to her TechTerra Education focus, Susan serves as a Technology Strategist with groups across the country and internationally, focused on STEM, innovation and technology in the K12 education setting. She is current past President of the International Society of Education and Technology (ISTE) Mobile Learning Network, and served as K12 Education Outreach Coordinator for Shodor, a National Resource for Computational Science Education. Susan is a seasoned international speaker and presenter, in person and via webinar. http://www.techterraeducation.com
Children have endless excitement and creativity to learn when they are young and it’s up to us, as parents, to foster that creativity in unique and fun ways. Parents’ Picks Award chose the Best Educational Products for Preschool-Aged Kids because making sure kids are having fun and sparking their creativity will help mold a child’s brain for years to come.
In order to be a Parents’ Picks Award Winner, these products go through a rigorous approval process with over 50 criteria, including thinking skills, character building, engagement, ease of use, innovativeness, quality, durability, and creative thinking. These products come highly recommended and we hope you will love these award-winning elementary school products as much as we do. With over three hundred applications, we took extensive time with each product to whittle it down to our top picks. Here are the Best Educational Products for Preschool-Aged Kids.
The 4.0 Bluebee Pal Pro is an interactive plush learning tool with FREE companion educational app that connects to all IOS and Android Devices. Our patented technology allows Bluebee’s “mouth and head” to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, learning a language and singing songs. Bluebee Pals are a great assistive technology tool for educators, therapists and parents. Bluebee Pals are an effective smart device that motivates children to learn and communicate while having fun. https://www.bluebeepals.com
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 9 educational mini-games. In addition to our app, Bluebee Pals pair with “ all apps” with a narrative providing endless entertainment and education for all mainstream and special needs children. https://www.bluebeepals.com/store/
Now that your kids have had a few weeks to enjoy the onset of summer, it’s time to tap into learning activities to prevent the dreaded “Summer Slide”. The phenomenon known as “Summer Slide” where kids lose skills over prolonged breaks is not an urban myth, but something that has been validated in research. Summer Slide is not limited to kids of school age, but can also be seen in preschoolers. Summer learning activities don’t necessarily need to be heavy handed. Activities of high interest can be tailored to maintain skills too.
With a little help from Bluebee Pals, kids can remain curious about discovering new interest areas and put to use those skills they’ve acquired throughout the year. Pairing learning activities with actual experiences is one way to gather and retain information. Who doesn’t like a field trip? In this first in a series, we will provide you with ideas of how to keep learning fresh with Bluebee Pals. https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/
Summer Slide: Going to a beach whether it’s the ocean or a lake is always a family favorite. Here are a few apps to play if you are headed to the beach:
Grandma’s Beach Fun by Fairlady Media is loaded with educational games and videos. There are 7 different activities and 3 interactive extras to explore. Identifying what items are needed to take to the beach, beach art, and math and literacy games with a beach theme will help sharpen thinking skills, as well as help kids, plan out what to do on vacation. I love this app for an introduction to what goes on at the beach and what to expect.
Marco Polo Ocean is an excellent choice when exploring the ocean. This app combines a sandbox full of activities that serve as your child’s personal oceanic encyclopedia. Fun begins with a puzzle that examines sea life, boats and submersibles. What sets these puzzles apart are the fact that they are accompanied with a narrative describing the function and parts to each item. Once done, completed puzzles are thrown out in the water where kids can design their own oceanic landscape from the shore to the deep-sea floor. Moving the items around in their environments gives you a peek into how the sea animals interact and behave.
Just Grandma and Me the classic book by Mercer Meyer is one of the most endearing stories about summer fun. The story shares Little Critter’s adventures with Grandma at the beach. It facilitates language development through highlighted narration, words and pictures that can be tapped to reveal pronunciation, and the opportunity to record parents (or grandma) reading the book to their kids.
Prevent summer slide with Bluebee Pal! It’s summer and time to play outside and be free! Summer can be a wonderful time for both children and adults to relax and be engaged in a variety of unstructured tasks. However, with all of that time off, it can also be a time for children to regress with their speech, language and reading without some intermittent instruction from caregivers or educators.
What is the summer slide? The summer slide refers to the loss of achievement gains from the past school year. Summer slide is normal for children but with children with special needs we have to be even more conscious about this regression. How can we prevent this summer slide? Exposing your child to language and literacy in a fun and engaging task can help.
To learn more about the summer slide, click here.
Six apps that help your child engage in various learning apps!
Phonics Genius app is an excellent app to improve your child’s ability to learn phonics! The free app contains over 6,000 words and combines audio, voice and written words together. The words are grouped by phonics and support three unique learning modes. This includes the following; play audio automatically and proceed to next card on click or hear audio only on click and move back and forth one word at a time by swiping left or right. To see the full review, click here.
Clicker Books is a book making app that helps supports students with varying abilities. The app includes speech support which helps students to review and self monitor what they have written within the Clicker Book app. You have the option of creating your own book, using a sample book or editing your own book. Within each sample story, you have the option to “read”, “talk”, “write” or “illustrate”. Clicker’s “SoundShift” button allows students to listen to any word on the page, or in the word predictor, or spell checker. Inside the Clicker Books App, there is also word predictor that helps suggest words that fit within the context of the student’s writing (for example, if you type “drink” words related to beverages would be proposed). To see the full review, click here.
Letter school is an app that can help your child write the letters of the alphabet. This app can make handwriting easier by providing the child with motivating and supportive stimuli with appropriate cues. For each letter, your child will learn the letter name, sound and a word that it begins with. Tap, Trace, and Name each letter when using Letter School. The app also includes lowercase letters and numbers 1-10. The app can also help with eye hand coordination and can help build a foundation for literacy and numeracy. To read the full review, click here.
Kids will have a blast learning their ABC’s and building vocabulary with the adorable monsters in Endless Alphabet. Each word features an interactive puzzle game with talking letters and a short animation illustrating the definition. Before you know it, your child will be using words like gargantuan and cooperate! Encourage your child to improve their literacy, spelling and vocabulary skills with Endless Alphabet App. Endless Alphabet app is an engaging and educational app that will help your child learn and have fun at the same time. As your child opens the Endless Alphabet App, they can swipe through up to 70 choices of words to explore. To read the full review, click here.
Create stories of your summer memories! Make a story about visiting the pool or your summer vacation. This can be used to elicit conversation and recall events when your child returns to the school in the Fall. It can also be used to help your child create sentences and work on literacy and language skills. Pictello is a versatile app that can be used to create stories with using photos, short video clips and text. This app has the ability to use both synthesized and digitized speech. The app also gives you the ability to share easily with others is user friendly to set up. Pictello also has the option to use many different language and accents which can be an excellent feature for many individuals. When creating a story, choose between Wizard or Expert depending on how much support you need. Name your story and then choose your voice, transition feature and filling out the “About Me” section. To see the full review, click here.
The Bluebee pal App is a free educational and interactive app which can bring your Bluebee Pal to life! Don’t have a Bluebee Pal? No problem! This free app can be used without a Bluebee Pal. The Bluebee Pal App incorporates choice making and engagement when interacting with the app. It features five different rooms with specific tasks. Within each room, your child’s chosen Bluebee Pal can interact with varying activities, such as in the kitchen scene. Bluebee Pal can eat various foods, drink, and access different appliances and objects in the kitchen like the refrigerator, oven, mixer, water bottle, etc. During these scenes, your child will also learn different routines in the kitchen and can target specific goals listed below. The app also includes free mini-games that target language, literacy, matching, inferencing skills and imaginative play. To see the full review of this app and targeted 10 language and learning goals, click here.
Bluebee Pals made an impromptu visit to Princeton House Charter School in Orlando, Florida. Princeton House Charter School is a Pre-K through 5th grade charter school serving students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and a member of the Bluebee Pals Project. As a Bluebee Pals project site, Princeton House has been a recipient of these interactive plush educational tools with exceptional positive outcomes. During this visit, the students were thrilled to meet Bluebee 4.0, whose upgrades include moving head, increased upright sitting ability, and the Bluebee Pals App. With little demonstration, the students began exploring the Bluebee Pals app including its multiple rooms in which their favorite Pal could do things just like them! Students manipulated items in Bluebee’s living room, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen while learning vocabulary and following directions.
Making Bluebee talk with text to speech apps (Text to Speech!, Robot Talk) continued to be a hit with Bluebee 4.0 saying anything and everything they could imagine! Bluebee was also caught in action during small group reading tasks with Early Literacy Skills Builder (ELSB https://www.attainmentcompany.com/elsb) curriculum in which they were paired with the ELSB app. The teacher shared how her students with significant cognitive disabilities increased their attention to the activity when Bluebee was paired with the curriculum. The speech therapy department at Princeton House received a personal tutorial of the Bluebee Pals app and immediately began brainstorming what speech-language goals could be worked. A therapist or educator’s first question to that would be, well what did they come up with? See below “sharing is caring”:
Speech-Language Therapy Goals with Bluebee Pals App
- Requesting With Words/Phrases
- Identifying and Labeling Functional Vocabulary
- Following 1-2 Step Directions
- Understanding Verbs in Context
- Functional Play Skills
- Retelling Events
- Sequencing Skills/Steps
Thank you Princeton House Charter School for being a Bluebee Pals Project site!
Trying out the new app and Bluebee 4.0? Let us know what you skills you or your student are working on by commenting or messaging us on Facebook @BluebeePalsInc:
One of the best features of the Bluebee Pal is its ability to suspend reality and bring the written word alive in a book. We all know that reading is one of the best ways to engage our children in interactive play and it also gives them an edge up on learning. Current research shows that babies benefit tremendously from listening to stories, and the earlier this routine is established, the better. By reading to Baby, he or she begins to pick up the nuances of language, its sequence, and structure. Most important of all, however, are the bonds that deepen because of shared experiences through stories. Stories inspire, they make us laugh, and they also tell us what to do. Reading stories with diverse characters informs kids of not only the experience of others but also to appreciate the idea of how family traditions across cultures may, on the one hand, be different but are so very much the same. All parents love their children and want them to succeed.
Joint attention is the cornerstone of communication. Joint attention is the ability to share experiences and to acknowledge another person as a witness. It can be as simple as pointing to a plane with a quick glance to see if the other person notices or sharing a laugh at funny faces. And it is through joint attention that the ability to imitate emerges and is strengthened. Books for early learners that can be used with Bluebee include hardback books, audio books, a combination of the two, or a digital version via a phone or tablet.
One of the most overlooked features to using Bluebee is using a phone or a voice recording app. Parents with jobs that keep them away from home may love phoning in, to read a story or may like the convenience of a voice recording app to record a book. Often when recording a familiar tale, try leaving off a keyword and see if your child throws it in at the correct time. This will help synchronize memory, comprehension, and communicative intent.
Another lesson from reading books is the ability to wait and listen. Once the sequence of a story is established, welcoming kids to interrupt, stop and ask questions, and ponder what if…allows for the imagination to take flight. I love when kids both anticipate and then try to come up with alternative twists within a familiar book. https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/
Here are a few resources for great story finds. Remember to use the Bluebee app for any further questions on the use of its features. We would also love to hear from you, what stories do you like? What are your kids responding to?… and until then sweet play in the land of make-believe and crossing that bridge of the possibilities of imagination.
Goodnight Moon – the classic book by Magaret Wise Brown is ripe for learning the labels of common household items. This classic book can be found on almost any digital format. I do love having the book in conjunction as many kids will “read” the book to themselves, and sharing that recitation is priceless. In my clinical practice, I use this book every week.
Podcasts are also invaluable to a reading experience. Nosy Crow’s Stories Aloud series have narrations to many of their published books. I love these podcasts in that they teach children to wait and listen for auditory cues to turn the page. Thus pairing the storyline with the written material.
Oceanhouse Media has a catalog of children’s favorites from Dr. Suess to nonfiction books by the Smithsonian Institute. They are one of my go-to developers when searching for books.
For Social-Emotional Lessons, you can’t fair better than Peppy Pals. These books for preschoolers are engaging and invite discussion. They are magically matched to a young child’s attention span.
Pairing a book with audio versions (audio versions of books can be purchased on Amazon, or a book can be read by yourself through the voice recorder on the Bluebee Pals App is sure to make cherished memories
Helen Wagner is a Speech Language Pathologist at Saxs Elementary in Anniston, Alabama. Since 2016, Helen has been integrating Bluebee Pals in her speech therapy classroom at school for the past 2 years. She and her students have enjoyed every minute of learning with them! Now, the new 4.0 Robotic Head Bluebee Pal Pro with free Bluebee Pal Educational/life Skill App has been introduced into her class and taken their educational fun to the next level! https://www.bluebeepals.com/store/
What is the NEW 4.0 Bluebee Pal?
The Bluebee Pal Pro is a full-sized, friendly-faced plush animal that is remarkably soft, pliable, and sensory soothing for kids of all ages. There are plenty of friends to choose from: Monkey, Lamb, Lion, Zebra, Puppy, and Bear! The Bluebee Pals are special Bluetooth speaker enabled educational toys that can be connected to any Bluetooth device. Play any app and your new friend will “speak” and read any storybook app, sing with your favorite music, and you can even talk with them through your phone! The new Bluebee Pal Pro has a gentle, naturalistic head movement while speaking which makes them come to life! Remarkably, the Bluebees now come with their own fun, free companion app that is chock full of content! It leads you easily through the simple set-up with a tutorial video and provides tips and ideas for parents to use to engage their children in learning activities. The app has a fun voice recording feature, mini-games, activities, and a cool house to explore and interact with! There are even easy links to a resource section (for parents)!
Bluebee Pals can be used just for the fun of it or can be incorporated into highly engaging educational activities. Helen’s students absolutely love them, and their Bluebee friends are part of the school family! They use them for articulation and language and AAC therapy frequently and they are a “most requested” activity in our speech room!!!
Parents can participate in their children’s education!
Read, Read, Read!
Read to your child daily. Reading helps develop vocabulary, attending, sentence construction, grammar, pronoun usage, social-skills, turn-taking, imagination, creativity, sequential thought, emotions, wh-questions, comprehension, receptive/expressive language skills, critical thinking and problem solving, and so much more! Reading daily to young children is one of the most language rich and meaningful learning opportunities that parents can give their children. Parents provide many natural educational interactions while reading, talking about the subject matter and elements of the story, questioning the story, and practicing story retelling.
Transitions are difficult for all of us. Kids especially become more tense and apprehensive when needing to shift gears. Why? Because transitions disrupt the status quo and are an unknown factor of what to expect and what to do. Many children become rigid with a need to have a say or control events surrounding every transition throughout the day. These behaviors can be exhausting for both a parent and child. Using Bluebee for teaching and establishing bedtime routines is a win-win situation as it takes you out of the mix and may help the child initiate the ability to shift along with Bluebee. There is no need for a screen because of Bluebee’s mixed capabilities and functions. In Part one we went over things to consider when designing a bedtime regime for your family. Now let’s take a look at Bluebee, and how he/she can be used with your child.
Here are six ideas for Bedtime routines:
- Practice Bedtime routines with Bluebee. Tuck him in, read a story, and give him a kiss good-night. Through play, kids begin to learn and anticipate what is going to come next. Young children have a blurred line between reality and fantasy, so watching Bluebee’s reaction may help them begin to imitate what to do. Be sure and go over how to fall asleep as well as any exceptions to the rules, i.e., Let Bluebee know that he/she can have three books read before lights out, but if he/she feels unwell to please call Mommy.
- Using the phone feature may bring about realistic responses to tough situations – by having your partner call and talk to Bluebee, you can discuss any ongoing fear or anxieties a child may have. Having that common thread with Bluebee may help a child not feel so isolated or alone.
- Children need to feel safe, and who better than Bluebee can give that reassurance all night long? Deep pressure squeezes and hugs help to release important neurotransmitters that can reset or organize our systems. This, in turn, can help us return to sleep if awakened during the night.
- Try syncing a playlist of soothing songs or lullabies to Bluebee. There are many soundtracks for sleep sounds such as a babbling brook, rain or meditative sounds. Pairing Bluebee with an Amazon Echo Plus or Echo Dot is easy. Amazon has many apps for Alexa to aid in relaxing and preparing for sleep. Search Sleep Sounds under Amazon Skills for possible selections.
- Sleep Stories are stories (really guided imagery) to help kids or adults to fall asleep. The app “Calm” has sleep stories and music for both kids and adults. It uses highly suggestive words such as slow, relaxed and lowers the volume and pacing of the stories gradually to help fall asleep.
- Podcasts also are great to use with Bluebee. Some podcasts can read books where a child can follow along, and some tell stories. Both improve listening skills and increase vocabulary by expanding the context of how both familiar and unfamiliar words are used.
Are you having difficulty with getting your children to settle at bedtime? Are they restless or looking for “one more” reason to get out of bed after lights off? Using Bluebee as part of your child’s bedtime routine can set up invaluable habits for good sleep hygiene. What’s that? Sleep hygiene is a set of routines or habits that establish a smooth transition to sleep well. Kids that have consistent routines can recognize that it is bedtime. They then begin to anticipate what is coming next and relax. Kids that don’t have established routines often barter or attempt to control transitions in attempts to decrease the stress of what’s to come because they don’t know what to do.
We all know that a good night’s sleep prepares you both mentally and physically for the day. But how do you not only prepare your kids as well as yourself for a good night’s sleep? As stated above, establishing a consistent routine is essential. Consistent does not have to be the exact same thing, i.e. When my oldest was just a baby; I used to read him the book Ducky Quack Quack every night. I read it to the point where I just couldn’t read it anymore. I didn’t give a hoot if Ducky quacked or not! And so, on the night I rebelled, my son would not go to sleep. I asked my husband, “What’s wrong?” and his response? “No Ducky Quack Quack”. I realized then; I had painted myself into a corner by not just reading a book but by reading the same book every time interfered with teaching good sleep habits.
Here are some suggestions, including using Bluebee to help set everyone up for some quality shut-eye: https://www.bluebeepals.com/parents/
- Make sure everyone in the family participates in some form of movement every day. Whether it is playing on a playground, dancing to oldies, or walking the dog putting some exercise in the day will help everyone sleep better. Exercise not only does your body good but improves sleep too. Although the rationale is not fully understood, regular physical movement promotes quality sleep, length of rest, and may reduce the stresses that may make your sleep restless.
- Establish a consistent routine – about 2 hours before bedtime. Announce its time to start getting ready for bed.
- Exposure to natural light helps the body naturally sync to the time of day. Daylight and the onset of darkness set up one’s own circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle. Begin by reducing or limiting screen time at night to allow the body to adjust to the time of day naturally. Some devices can be set to help reduce exposure to blue lighting for specified hours.
- Avoid heavy foods or carbonated drinks. These just become unsettling in tummies before lying down. Eating late at night may also establish an unhealthy routine and weight gain that prolongs going to sleep.
- Taking a bath or reading a book, are peaceful, quiet time activities that promote relaxation. While a warm bath fosters sleepiness, listening to a story has many benefits for both better sleep and healthier brains.
We will discuss how to use Bluebee in part two for healthier sleep and to promote better synchronization between the body’s systems.
Are you looking for some fun and user-friendly speech apps to try at home with your Bluebee Pal? As an app reviewer, I have reviewed many apps that are easy to use for parents at home to help facilitate speech and language. To see all of my app reviews, click here. I have reviewed many speech and language apps as well as AAC apps.
These apps can span many years and target various speech and language goals. For example, Actions in Video can help build longer sentences with a verbal individual and help an AAC user learn to combine symbols and create more grammatically correct sentences on their talker. Below are some excellent early learning and speech apps to try with your Bluebee Pal at home
The Eli Explorer App was created by early childhood experts designed to encourage kids to explore while learning. This app helps facilitate language and learning in a fun educational and interactive way. When you open the app, press play and then see Eli sleeping! How do you wake her up? Press on Eli, and she is ready for an adventure. Take your finger and help guide Eli through a fun and stimulating journey through different scenes. To read the full review with tips for parents, click here.
Create a social story with Pictello and make Bluebee Pal the reader of the story! Pictello is a versatile app that can be used to create stories with using photos, short video clips, and text. This app can use both synthesized and digitized speech. The app also gives you the ability to share easily with others is user-friendly to set up. Pictello also has the option to use many different languages and accents, which can be an excellent feature for many individuals. To read the full review and how to implement this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.
SymbolSupport App is an editing program that allows you to add symbols to your text, while SymbolReader is a free app that displays these symbolized documents. Both apps read the documents with a high-quality text-to-speech voice and word-by-word highlighting. The apps are compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. To read the full review and learn how to implement this app with the Bluebee Pal, click here.
Actions in Video is a functional app that was created by Geraldine Moran, speech-language pathologist to help individuals with complex communication needs build sentences for communication. This app can be used successfully with both individuals with speech and language disabilities as well as younger children learning how to combine words into sentences. Actions in Video is an app “that teaches a person to understand and use action words through the use of videos.” To learn more about how to implement this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.
Wh Questions: Why? Speech and Education Cards is an app that was created by speech-language pathologists and contains professional illustrations and scenes with educational content. The app includes 30 scenes which give you at least 30 different opportunities for answering 30 “why” questions. The app is free but only includes a select amount of pictures. To buy the additional set, an in-app purchase is available. Bluebee Pals motivate kids for the Why questions. This app is appropriate for both children who are typical ages 3 and up and can also benefit those individuals with speech and language disorders and delays. Since the questions are read to the reader (as an option in the setting), no reading is required to use the app functionally. The goals that the authors target with this app are the following: Cause and Effect Relationship, Receptive and Expressive Language Skills, Naming Actions and Describing Situations, Answering Wh Questions, Making Logical Conclusions and Reasoning by Using Hints and Creative Thinking. To learn how to implement this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.
Are you looking for more apps? Check out Bluebee Pal App and learn how to facilitate language and learning with this fun, free and versatile app!
Nosy Crow makes some of the best interactive storybooks and apps in the industry. Always innovative, smart, and fun to read stories for both parents and tots, they also offer audio recordings of their published books. Their Stories Aloud series can be obtained for iOS or Android as a podcast or by scanning a QR code found on the inside cover of the paperback edition of their books.
As I have a few hardback books from this publisher, it was a snap to search through the available podcasts to see if reading was in their catalog. On iOS, there are 90+ podcasts, dating back from 2014, and the list will grow from there. The books are professionally read using children’s voices and are accompanied by original music and sound effects.
Inside The Three Little Pigs
Let’s take a look at The Three Little Pigs and discover why the Stories Aloud series is so exceptional. As with all Nosy Crow books, the Artwork is infectious and bright, and kids respond well to the promise of adventure that illustrator, Ed Bryan brings to the story. Each page is rich in the tiniest of detail that will have the family roaring with laughter, and any repeat telling uncovers discoveries of visual puns and hijinks. The text stays true to the classic tale while still updating it for the 21st century. Both male and female piggies take the lead, and the ending has a twist that won’t leave anyone guessing what happened to the Big Bad Wolf
WATCH THE VIDEO: https://youtu.be/Ss5pNmB1dU4
Tools for Learning
Using Stories Aloud with Bluebee Pal presents developmental challenges and play for your child. Children love stories, and they love to hear their favorites read over and over. By downloading the podcast, kids will learn the synchronization of looking, listening and then following the directions to turn the page on cue. In addition to building vocabulary, attention, and memory, books also help kids with practical life skills of visually scanning for details in a left to right format, grading force by turning the pages gently, and learning about tasks having a definite beginning, middle and end. These are all essential skills for developing brains. Bluebee loves reading stories, and with practice, a child can listen to stories with distant supervision after setting it up. Visit Nosy Crow’s website for more information – https://nosycrow.com/stories-aloud/
Here’s how to pair Bluebee Pals with Stories Aloud:
- Have the podcast ready by downloading it to your phone or tablet – this way you’ll have access to the book without the need for WIFI. Kids can listen while driving in the car, waiting at the doctor’s office, or snuggling on a blanket during a picnic.
- Turn on your Bluebee Pal and Synch it to your device using the Bluetooth setting
- Tap Play on your Podcast and listen to Bluebee Pal tell the story while you follow along in the book!
Core Words are a hot topic in the world of Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC). Core words are the words we use most often when communicating and makeup 80% of what we say. These high-frequency words can be used across contexts and settings. They include words such as “it”, “that”, “is”, “he”, “go”, “not” and are often times more abstract than their counterparts – “fringe” words. Fringe Words are approximately 20% of the words that we say when communicating and are used in fewer situations. They include words such as “zoo”, “pizza” and “wet”. For many years AAC was focused on the use of fringe words particularly with requesting.
AAC users were introduced to many fringe words to help them communicate their needs/wants and access their curriculum. Fringe words are very important, but how often does a child need to express “zoo” versus the times they may want to express a core word like “go”? This understanding and the research supporting the focus on core word use has transformed the way that AAC users are being taught in the classroom and therapeutic settings with far-reaching results!
The AAC device companies are following suit by creating vocabulary systems with easy access to core word vocabulary on home pages and a vast array of resources focused on core word learning and use.
The Tobii Dynavox company calls their set of core words “Core First”. They have created books, lessons and Core First posters that complement their Core First Gage Sets. In the ESE classroom setting I have used Core First books to introduce the use of “go”, “want”, “more”, “you”, “it”, “is” and many more! Aided language modeling (the therapist activating words on the AAC device while speaking and reading) can be used to demonstrate to users the various ways the core words on their device can be used. https://www.tobiidynavox.com/en-us/software/content/core-first-1/
Assistiveware has created an entire online toolset called the “Core Word Classroom”. Teachers, AAC professionals and parents can download lessons, five minute fillers (outlines of core words to be used during play activities), watch videos and read articles all related to best practices for use of core words in the classroom and home settings. http://www.assistiveware.com/assistiveware-core-word-classroom
The success of core word use in the academic and therapeutic setting are coming to light at schools and clinics around the nation. A quick online search will reveal hundreds of resources related to “core words”. It’s amazing to hear AAC users expand their utterance through use of core words such as:
*Stating Observations: “I see the ___./I see that.”
*Expressing Likes/dislikes “I do not like it.”
*Asking Questions “Can I have it?”
Learning how to use these Core Words can open up a new world for AAC users. They are given the gift of learning words that can help them communicate 80% of what they want to say. What is better than that??!! Maybe only one thing – pairing Bluebee Pals and the new Bluebee Pal App with Core Word instruction.
The house activities of the Bluebee Pals App are a great tool for practicing use of core words. Students can state what they see and hear happening in the lively Bluebee House with the core word vocabulary on their AAC device. Bluebee is great at saying core words too! Hip Hip Hurray for the new Bluebee Pals App that is available just as the world of AAC is expanding!
***Punam Desormes, M.A., CCC-SLP-Speech Language Pathologist-Princeton House Charter School-Passion-Hope-Communication-Service
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 scenes, your child will also learn different routines in the kitchen and can target specific goals listed below. The app also includes free mini-games that target language, literacy, matching, inferencing skills and imaginative play.
How to incorporate 10 Language and Learning Goals when using this free Bluebee app!
Making choices: Making choices is easy with this app. When the app begins, a child gets the option of choosing a Bluebee Pal (choice between the Sammy the Bear, Leo the Lion, Lily the Lamb, Rylie the Zebra, Partner the Monkey, and Hudson, the Puppy). After the child chooses their favorite Bluebee Pal, they get to choose their favorite color balloon, category and then the room they want to explore.
Categories: Explore categories with this app including animals, furniture, toys, outdoor activities, games, sports, art, music and much more! With this app, there are so many ways to incorporate the learning of categories as a child is playing with the app. To carryover, this goal, take screenshots of the app and with a visual of various categories ask your child to put the objects in the right category. Another carryover activity is taking a screenshot of the house and then asking your child to place the right object in the correct room with some tangible symbols or objects.
I love how the app incorporates errorless learning with specific tasks that require appropriate choices. This helps build language and learning in a fun and stress-free play environment.
Following directives: Throughout this app, the child is required to follow 1-2 step directives such as feeding Bluebee Pal, putting him sleep, brushing his teeth and much more! If your child needs more help with following directives, give prompts as necessary.
Literacy goals: This app is ideal for emerging readers! The mini-games help children recognize sounds and letters in a fun and interactive manner. With one mini-game, a child is required to put the right letter where it belongs on a qwerty keyboard.
Daily Living Skills: This app incorporates a variety of daily living skills including hygiene, cooking and cleaning up. During these opportunities, a child will be able to engage in these daily living tasks that they can relate to on a daily basis. This can be carried over into the home environment by going through the hygiene routine with Bluebee Pal and then doing the same with your child.
Actions: Learning actions is such an important skill and vital for creating grammatically correct sentences that are communicated well. This is a goal that should be facilitated and modeled as the child is playing the app. For example, the parent/educator can model, “Bluebee is ______his teeth” and have the child fill in the action. Bluebee engages in so many actions with this app so goals can be targeted in many ways and can also help build vocabulary.
Expand vocabulary: A child can expand their vocabulary by interacting with the various objects within each room. During each room activity, there is an opportunity for a child to explore different vocabulary. For example, when the child touches the water bottle, it says “water bottle”. This continues for a variety of objects in each room. Use this vocabulary during conversation to help your child store these new words in long-term memory. Also, focus on descriptive words as well!
Sequencing: When playing with this app, help your child recall various tasks in order. For example, when Bluebee Pal is in the bathroom, he first gets in the shower and gets wet, then gets washed with soap, and then finally needs to get dried with the towel or the hairdryer. When the sequence is done, review the steps in taking a shower and ask specific questions. For example, “What did Partner the Monkey do first?”
Negation: Learning and understanding negation is so important for various communicative functions such as requesting, commenting and expressing an opinion. In this app, a child has to follow directives with negations embedded it the sentences such as “Don’t forget to turn off the light.”.
Inferencing Skills and Improving Visual Awareness: Explore various puzzles, a maze and mini-games and target inferencing and critical thinking skills. Throughout the story, a child has to figure out specific situations within a context. For example, after taking a shower, Bluebee Pal is wet. What does he need to do? Does your child or student have difficulty with visual perception? In one mini-game, a child is required to find all of the Bluebee Pals within the scene which can help build those visual awareness skills.
Potty training 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!
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 Explorer App was created by early childhood experts designed to encourage kids to explore while learning.
This app helps encourage language and learning in a fun educational and interactive way. When you open the app, press play and then see Eli sleeping! How do you wake her up? Press on Eli and she is ready for an adventure. Take your finger and help guide Eli through a fun and stimulating journey through different scenes.
It’s wonderful in the way that it incorporates different goals and ideas. What happens when you tap on the hot air balloon? Eli gets a telescope and then thinks about finding her “grandfather”. This helps children understand the process of thinking versus saying and prediction. There are also many opportunities for vocabulary expansion! Eli passes the train and it immediately labels “black train”. Throughout the app, there isn’t just labeling of words, there are questions that Eli asks and different types of communicative functions that can help benefit a child’s language and learning.
Eli Explorer can be easily used both in the home, in a classroom or a therapy session. Other features include discovering various animations, getting exposed to over 100 words and phrases, and is recorded with professional mother tongue actions.
The app also comes in 10 different languages! Model language when you are flying with Eli! What do you see? I see balloon! Eli is going fast! Eli is slowing down, what is she going to do?
Apps Bluebee Pals
How can we use this learning app with Bluebee Pal?
- 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
Bluebee Pal read storybooks and engage 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 – Getting The Most From Your Bluebee Pal
The wonderful thing about Bluebee Pals is that they are a ready and able playmate, confidante, and teacher hidden inside a stuffed animal. They can be paired with any device that is Bluetooth enabled or used as a beloved toy unplugged. Try using your Bluebee to:
- Rehearse upcoming events by acting out what is going to happen and have Bluebee respond with any anticipated concerns. Children can also rehearse independently by playing an app with your Bluebee Pal as a guide – which helps build independence and confidence.
- Master language skills, manners, and turn taking. Simply listening to a story read by Bluebee will help increase vocabulary. We’ve all gone to “tea parties” and I’ve heard that Bluebee loves a bit of cake with his tea. During your party, practice sharing portions. There are many food playsets that have a portion component. Games with definite turns are also a way to teach waiting – although your child can take Bluebee’s turn too!
- Using the phone component with Bluebee can add to imaginative and pretend play by having Bluebee communicating directly with your child.
- Have your child “teach” their Bluebee Pal how to accomplish something they may struggle with such as getting a haircut or brushing their teeth. We once used a parade of stuffies in habituating a family to getting haircuts by setting up a shop. “Haircuts 5 cents!” Of course, no real scissors were involved (play dough scissors were used), but this allows the child to be in control and regulate the sequence of events.
- Allow your child’s Bluebee Pal to express the often confusing and conflicting emotions of a child. Simply ask “Why Bluebee looks sad today, what do you think is going on?” This takes the pressure off the child and gives you a window by having the child respond through their Bluebee Pal.
- Dressing Blubee up in clothing helps to build fine motor skills. Baby clothing that can be purchased at a thrift store in sizes 6-9 months’ work well. All sorts of hand strengthening and manipulative skills can be enhanced by outfitting Bluebee……..https://www.bluebeepals.com/general-education/#
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
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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…
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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.
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Bluebee inspires learning through educational and therapeutic apps
- Bluebee provides a safe environment in which to practice new skills
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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!