Technology has transformed a host of industries since its creation, specifically education. Yahoo reports that the global EdTech marketprojects to reach $181.3 billion by 2025, with a 16.1% average growth year-over-year. The numbers used to be much smaller, but the pandemic has called for the rapid adoption of smart classrooms and eLearning solutions, fueling the need for new online teaching-learning models.
Enabling distance learning
The 2020’s pandemic has led to a global need for distance learning technologies. And luckily, many educational tech tools were already in place—their capacity just needed extra adjusting to accommodate the volume of users. Software like Google Classroom and Adobe Connect aims to emulate the traditional classroom experience, with screen sharing features, virtual whiteboards, and even a chat room for students to interact with other students.
The activity has begun to be more inclusive for students with disabilities. Laura Nota, a professor at the Department of Applied Psychology at the University of Padova, shares how her school has ensured that teachers have the necessary assistive technology tools to even the playing field for their students with special needs. For instance, those with trouble hearing had the online stenotype service. It contained the transcriptions of all their classes.
Bridging the communication gap
Not every student is the same kind of learner, and those with special needs often require extra help keeping up with the lessons. Fortunately, technology is here to help with this aspect as well. Since 2012, the Lawrence school district in New York has been providing their students with free iPads and internet access to enrich their classroom experience. As a pathologist for the district and director of Maryville University’s speech therapy program, Meaghan Goodman has been taking advantage of this opportunity to help her young students communicate. Her department uses tablets that have been installed with videos, text-to-speech tools, and voice recognition apps, to help students understand and express their words better (see below video). In addition, AAC Apps( Augmented, Alternative, Communication) like Touch Chat and JABtalk can also facilitate communication for children with limited expressive language ability.
Immersing Students Through VR
Virtual reality (VR) has many applications from gaming to workplace training and education. VR technology is utilized in classrooms to increase student engage in learning and communication. A great example of this is Microsoft’s Immersive Reader—a collection of tools that help readers learn a new language. While it’s used in many English and other language classes, education reporter for the Syracuse Post-Standard and columnist for EdTech Magazine’s classroom beat, Micah Castelo, notes how this VR tool is also designed to support students with dyslexia and dysgraphia. In a space-like environment, the user can focus on pronouncing texts by the syllable.
Teachers have also used VR to conduct virtual field trips. An article on Good Housekeeping has listed over 40 trips you can consider taking your students on, such as the American Museum of Natural History, Bright Farms, and the Atlanta Zoo. Incidentally, VR is also a great way to add a change of scenery to your lessons.
Assisting With Reading:
Reading comprehension isn’t the easiest skill to teach, especially to excitable young kids. However, if the activity was made more interactive and enjoyable, they might be more willing to sit down and learn. Reading apps like Blake’s Reading Egg, FarFaria, and Epic are good assistants to start introducing to young children. They’re equipped with colorful pictures, audio feedback, and other features that can make reading more immersive. Bluebee Pals interactive learning tools connect to any smart device and assist with lessons by speaking the prompts or providing words of encouragement. A huggable plush companion that creates a reassuring and nurturing learning setting at home or school. Bluebee Pals pair with all apps offering unlimited access to special needs, reading, and educational apps promoting literacy and communication.Students watching sing-along or nursery rhymes apps or vidoes can enhance memory and recall at a faster pace. If you can find those accompanied by subtitles that can be ideal.http://bluebeepals.com
Helping Parents Stay Connected
Technology isn’t just used to help kids with their classroom activities—parents and guardians can use it to track their children’s progress too. Several types of software can help with this. One is ParentSquare—an app that streamlines the communication between parents, teachers, and administrators. Whether it’s school-wide announcements or personal remarks on students, ParentSquare ensures that parents and guardians are always in the loop. On the other hand, classroom management tools like Edmodo for Parents are there for easy access to student’s academic performance, from the scores of their tests to which subjects they need help with. For parents and guardians interested in providing supplementary help to their kids, especially if they have special needs, these tools can allow for collaborations with teachers to provide the best education possible.
Technology has created a diverse variety of educational tools, from helping students form sentences to allowing parents to be an active participants in their children’s academics.
Exclusively Written for bluebeepals.com By Jessie Bugg
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 one 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? https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/
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/#
Virtual Learning with Bluebee Pals: Teaching Social Skills
With the recent educational focus on remote or distance learning, it can be challenging for teachers and parents to teach social skills in a virtual environment. It’s easier to learn and practice social skills with a partner or group whether it is face to face or via teletherapy.Bluebee Pals are excellent tools to help teach social skills, whether face-to-face or online.
What Are Bluebee Pals?
Bluebee Pals are softly huggable, lovable, plush interactive learning tools/toys that connect via Bluetooth to all iOS and Android devices. They wirelessly pair with all apps and activities with a narrative, which provides endless educational opportunities and entertainment for children of all ability levels. Bluebee’s mouth and head realistically move while speaking, making reading, educational apps, games, and activities so much fun! Which Bluebee Pal will you choose? Hudson the dog, Riley the zebra, Leo the lion, Lily the lamb, Sammy the bear, or Parker the monkey? https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-pals-app/
The five core competencies of social and emotional learning:
Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision-Making. Using books, apps, and Bluebee Pals, you can make learning and practicing social skills loads of fun!
The following are some favorites that can be used to teach social skills virtually via your teaching platform with your favorite Bluebee Pal, to address individual student needs.
*Conversation Builder: Targets conversational skills, turn-taking, initiating conversation, and staying on topic. There are 160 conversations to choose from and the student can either initiate or respond to conversations.
*Autism and PDD Picture Stories and Language Activities: There are 5 different themed apps: Friends, School, Community, Home, Family. They contain functional stories depicting children behaving in various situations. At the end of the story select WH questions, yes/no questions, or text match language activities. Answers are automatically scored and the student receives immediate feedback!
*Between the Lines: There are 3 apps for different ability levels. The main focuses are listening skills, body language, and expressions. The app uses real videos, pictures, and voices for a variety of social situations.
It’s December! If you have been thinking about getting a Bluebee Pal for your classroom or child, now is the perfect time! Children’s eyes light up with joy when they receive a Bluebee Pal. As a Speech-Language Pathologist, my students adore them! Bluebee Pals make treasured friends, even as they help teach important educational lessons. Engaging children in literacy and communication are challenging during these unconventional times in education; Bluebee Pals offer a comforting, huggable companion enabling children to learn beyond a screen.
We are offering a discount PROMO CODE bluebee20 at the Bluebee Pals Shopping Cart during this Holiday Season. Bring a smile to a child’s face and purchase one of our talking plush animals as part of your classroom essential tools or buy as a unique gift for your child. Bluebee Pals are a versatile educational tool for all early childhood and special needs children. ENCOURAGING social-emotional skills, reading, singing, and all educational activities at home or in school https://www.bluebeepals.com/store/
Bluebee Pals make awesome gifts!
What Are Bluebee Pals?
Bluebee Pals are softly huggable, lovable, plush interactive learning tools/toys that connect via Bluetooth to all iOS and Android devices. They wirelessly pair with all apps and activities with a narrative, which provides endless educational opportunities and entertainment for children of all ability levels. Bluebee’s mouth and head realistically move while speaking, making reading, educational apps, games, and activities so much fun! Which Bluebee Pal will you choose? Hudson the dog, Riley the zebra, Leo the lion, Lily the lamb, Sammy the bear, or Parker the monkey? https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/
Here are some of our just-for-fun favorites that we love to use with our Bluebee Pals:
I am an occupational therapist in New Jersey who, through my colleagues and research, discovered the Bluebee Pals Project. I currently work for Parsippany Troy-Hills School District in New Jersey, which includes ten elementary schools with various special education classrooms, ABA programs, preschool disabled programs, and many more. Our school district is currently enrolling students for in-person as well as virtual schooling. The Parsippany Troy-Hills School District is a K-12 district with fourteen schools serving approximately 7200 students in ten elementary schools, two middle schools, two high schools, and an adult education center. The community served by the district is ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse. https://www.pthsd.k12.nj.us
As a therapist, my responsibilities include treating my students both in-person and via teletherapy. I have been struggling to create new and engaging sessions for my students. After researching Bluebee Pals as an assistive technology tool to utilize in my sessions, I focused my efforts on an opportunity to receive a donation from the Bluebee Pal Project for our special needs classrooms containing a large population of children with autism. Thinking outside the box versus conventional educational channels is essential when working with special needs children at an early age. Bluebee Pals ability to connect with children is an effective and affordable educational tool that perpetuates positive results in communication and literacy.
Last month, The Bluebee Pal Project donated 8 Bluebee Pals to our occupational and speech therapists for ten districts to implement in school and remote therapy. The Bluebee Pals website provides a host of practical resources for educators and therapists on their tutorial page and free educational materials to promote user-friendly applications. The Bluebee Pal Project collaborates with schools and organizations by requesting feedback through testimonials, blogs, videos, and photos to share with educators, therapists, and parents. https://www.bluebeepals.com/tutorials/
Specifically, I have started using Leo the Lion with my preschoolers with disabilities and see the incredible results with engagement in our programs. Our therapists will contribute feedback through testimonials and share it on our social media platforms in the coming months. We are honored to be a participant in the Bluebee Pal Project and grateful for this special gift to our students!
Bluebee Pals are softly huggable, lovable, plush interactive learning tools/toys that connect via Bluetooth to all iOS and Android devices. They wirelessly pair with all apps and activities with a narrative, which provides endless educational opportunities and entertainment for children of all ability levels. Bluebee’s mouth and head realistically move while speaking, making reading, educational apps, games, and activities so much fun! Which Bluebee Pal will you choose? Hudson the dog, Riley the zebra, Leo the lion, Lily the lamb, Sammy the bear, or Parker the monkey.
November is a perfect time for children to learn about Thanksgiving, what it means, sharing with others, the importance of family and being grateful for what we have in our lives. Bluebee Pals have a unique charm that makes them excellent learning partners!
Fun activities you can pair with Bluebee Pals to learn about Thanksgiving.
We recommended the below videos and apps to connect your Bluebee Pals. Our soft, huggable tech companions provide your child with a learning companion that encourages communication and learning, all in the comfort of your home. Bluebee Pals connect to any app with a narrative, including the Bluebee Pal Educational App, allowing our users an infinite number of educational tools through Apple and Android Apps and Youtube Videos…Please visit our website to review all our Bluebee Pal Programs and resources for mainstream and special needs children. ..http://bluebeepals.com
Teaching your child to read is most likely one of the hardest things I have done with my kids. As a Mom, I think it among the most rewarding. Reading opens up a whole world for kids. I remember when I was young, I struggled to learn to read when I was young but used a variety of strategies I worked to learn.
Teaching my now first grader to read, is different. There are apps to use versus physical workbooks. We also have leveled early readers and go to the library often to pick up new books. At the library, it is now through the curbside. I remember going to the library when I was little and I always loved to pick out new books. As a parent, a whole new world opens to your children as they read!
Independent reading is made more fun with Bluebee Pals.
My son enjoys sitting with Sammy the Bear and reading different books. Sometimes “reading” is looking at the photos and trying to figure out what the story might say. We have read a variety of different books including Poky the Little Puppy and reading along. He often hugs Sammy and reads to him. I asked him why he liked reading with Sammy – he said Sammy helps him to learn. He uses Sammy to help him “tap” out his letters using Fundations which help him determine if he has a “just right book”.
Reading Apps for Kids
Reading Egg – this app by Blake eLearning includes a test at the beginning so that you can determine your child’s reading level. Through interactive games you practice sight words, digital story books, learning lessons including rhyming and interactive reading. My son loves working for the Golden Eggs and pairs his iPad with his Bluebee Pal so the two of them can work on reading together!
Epic is a reading app that includes 40K books from 250 platforms. You can choose books that are read aloud or your child can read by themselves. The app includes picture books, different types of books including some of my son’s favorites community helpers like police and learning videos as well! I love that my son can choose his favorites – and practice reading at the same time. We also practice looking at pictures and trying to “decode words”.
FarFaria is one of the best reading apps for struggling readers because it is such a fun app! It has several “worlds” to explore, each one containing a certain genre of books that would be captivating for kids to read or be read to.There are thousands of stories and songs, with more added weekly. And they are the most popular books available. Also, there is a badge system so your child will be motivated by his/her achievements. Plus parents and teachers can monitor their students’ achievements by seeing which badges have been achieved.
Math is an important part of learning for children in the early years because it provides vital life skills. Math helps children to develop the ability to think critically and solve problems. Both are integral to success in school and in life. “Research suggests early math skills are a better predictor of academic success than early reading skills. The more math-oriented activities kids do before kindergarten, the better they’ll understand math in school. Early math skills foretell higher aptitude in high school math and higher rates of college enrollment. Math is the language of logic…Math builds reasoning, which leads to comprehension. Developing a mentally organized way of thinking is critical. To make that happen we need to provide high-quality math education at an early age.” https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/early-math-equals-future-success/.
Activities to Foster Development of Early Math Skills:
Bluebee Pals are a great tool to use when teaching and reinforcing math skills. Use one-on-one or invite a Bluebee Pal into peer groups to practice skills. Paired with reading, storybooks and math apps, Bluebee Pals offer children a special learning friend who makes educational skills practice fun…and therefore, more meaningful. By “speaking and singing” the audio in connected apps, a Bluebee Pal adds just the right touch of warmth and humanity to motivate children. Just connect your Bluebee Pal and get started! Reading books, telling stories, and using “math talk” are easy, effective ways to integrate and promote the development of early math and early literacy skills. Using children’s book and math apps provide many ways to teach and reinforce foundational math skills. https://www.bluebeepals.com
Use puzzles, building blocks for stacking and manipulating, board games, and card games. Chutes and Ladders, Pop the Pig, Hi Ho Cherry-O and Candyland are great beginning games. Games with dice and number spinners reinforce counting.
Use shape-sorters. Talk about each shape—count the sides, describe the colors.
Count and sort. Gather together a basket of small toys, shells, pebbles or buttons. Count them and sort them based on size, color, or what they do (i.e., all the cars in one pile, all the animals in another).
What size is it? Notice the sizes of objects in the world around you: That pink pocketbook is the biggest. The blue pocketbook is the smallest. Ask your child to think about his own size relative to other objects (“Do you fit under the table? Under the chair?”).
You’re cookin’ now! Even young children can help fill, stir, and pour. Through these activities, children learn, quite naturally, to count, measure, add, and estimate.
Sing songs that rhyme, repeat, or have numbers in them. Songs reinforce patterns (which is a math skill as well). They also are fun ways to practice language and foster social skills like cooperation.
Use a calendar to talk about the date, the day of the week, and the weather. Calendars reinforce counting, sequences, and patterns.
The long and the short of it. Cut a few (3–5) pieces of ribbon, yarn or paper in different lengths. Talk about ideas like long and short. With your child, put in order of longest to shortest.
Pattern play. Have fun with patterns by letting children arrange dry macaroni, chunky beads, different types of dry cereal, or pieces of paper in different patterns or designs.
Remote schooling using the virtual model is hard! My son is a first-grader and lost part of the last school year when schools closed due to COVID-19. He struggles with telling time, staying on task.
Timers We have tried using Alexa to set timers. I also like the visual timer in Time Timer (iPhone, iPad, Android) because it provides both a visual and timer you can use out loud. Time Timer app is currently free as of the time of this post. It’s great because you can set it up in advance with timers, to make your child more independent. It also provides a visual cue with the red shrinking as time counts down to completion. I find this app especially helpful when it’s break time, lunch/recess time during remote learning to provide a visual for my son as he tries to figure out how much time he has left. In addition to the visual, it also displays the time. We also use this during independent reading (10 minutes) to make sure when my son takes his eyes off the screen, that he comes back to his virtual learning on time.
Bluebee to help during school
He especially enjoys using Hudson the Puppy and Sammy the Bear. He can use it as a sensory item or we can Bluetooth it to his Chromebook or iPad to speak the words in the classroom. Other families have used a cardboard poster board or a box to help them set up a school “environment” for their children.
Remote Learning setup at home One of the ways that we help to prepare for the day of remote learning is to create a schedule, provide reinforcers for completing tasks, and making sure we have everything all set for the day. We also organize items by subject to make it easier to find them when the class transitions to the next material. We try to use bookmarks in order to make it easier to open up in packets and workbooks the next day. Whenever possible and especially with my older son, we use Google Drive or scan items to keep electronic items rather than paper items. https://www.bluebeepals.com
Independent Reading Tech Style At independent reading time during remote schooling, my son will often use Bluebee Pal Leo the Lion to help us read aloud. This way, he can snuggle with Sammy and we can read aloud on the pages while tapping out words as needed. Our school uses Fundations which encourage kids to tap out words to determine if the book is hard or easy. Our library has curbside pickup during COVID-19, we can work with the librarian to get books that are “just right” and that interest my son. I also love trying audiobooks with my son so he can independently listen and then look at the words on the pages while finding sight words and items he recognizes. We also love bringing Hudson with us and listening to audiobooks in the car which I check out from our local library and then play via my phone and with our Bluebee Pal. Hudson provides a huggable stuffed animal who speaks the voice of the audiobook reader, support during reading, even someone for kids to talk to.
I am a special education teacher at The Princeton House Charter School in Orlando, Florida, working in the education field, specifically students with Autism Spectrum Disorder for over seven years. The special education field has provided opportunities to utilize a variety of educational resources and assistive technology. One of these technologies is the Bluebee Pal Tech Companions, compatible with all IOS and Apple devices via Bluetooth.
It’s essential to be flexible in the special education field, but this school year, the pandemic brought on unprecedented challenges in teaching our students. I am teaching students in the classroom and others through virtual instruction. During these difficult and unknown times, many students can become uncomfortable with all the unfamiliarity and sudden changes. Bluebee Pals educational tools maintain a sense of comfort and familiarity with my students. Bluebee performs as a teaching assistant and allows our students to interact with a plush animal who can read, sing, ask questions, and even answer phone calls.
Bluebee Pals Beneficial to Teaching in the Classroom.
When I was introduced to Bluebee Pals, I was impressed by the warming and comfortable presence in our classroom. Bluebee Pal has succeeded in its job by engaging and comforting the students this year. Every educator must discover new and inventive educational resources that entertain and motivate them during virtual learning. When working on the other side of the computer screen, it becomes difficult to engage your students with the educational resources you would ordinarily use in a face to face classroom setting. This year, my school team has found many beneficial resources for virtual learning and compatible with Bluebee Pal. http://bluebeepals.com
Applying Digital Tools in Education
Boom Cards are interactive, self-checking, and digital tools that can be used in the classroom or for the whole group and individual learning. When working with boom cards, they display only one question at a time, with multiple ways to answer. The student or teacher can select an answer choice, type, or drag the answers depending on the activity. Also, many of the cards will read the questions aloud to the students. Boom cards is an interactive digital tool that can be paired with Bluebee Pals by asking the questions aloud to the students.
GetEpic.com is another great tool to use with and without virtual teaching. I have used GetEpic.com for three years now. The website consists of many published books that are well known. Many of the books have the read to me option. There are educational videos, and quizzes that go along with some of the books. Bluebee Pals is a great educational tool that can be used with GetEpic online, especially for the read to me books. You can hit the play button on the read to me books, Bluebee Pal will read the book aloud to the students while the GetEpic book turns by itself on the digital screen. The students enjoy the books being read aloud by Bluebee Pal instead of the teacher.
Twinkl is a digital educational tool that our school recently discovered for the virtual and face to face learning. Twinkl has resources for all ages and grade levels consisting of lesson bundles, assessments, interactive PowerPoints, and stories. It provides educational resources that can be used as supplemental work for the classroom as well. Bluebee Pals, paired with Twinkl, increases students’ motivation to complete the activities. Bluebee Pal can read the stories to the students, parts of the text or activities that can be read aloud.
Lastly, Starfall is a fun and interactive digital website for elementary-aged students. It consists of fun videos, stories, calendar activities, mathematics, and letters, and reading activities. The students really enjoy Bluebee Pal paired with Starfall. Bluebee Pal will sing the songs, read the stories, and ask questions aloud to the students.
Bluebee Pal has been extremely beneficial in the classroom before virtual learning, especially now when schools teach remotely. It is imperative to find educational and digital tools to capture, engage, and motivate the students. By connecting to a diverse selection of digital teaching tools, they provide educators with a teacher assistant who inspires learning, encourages communication, and add comfort and familiarity during virtual learning.
RECOMMENDED RESOURCES WITH BLUEBEE PALS
**Carissa Savoy, Special Education Teacher Princeton Houe Charter School Orlando, FL
Many of us are teaching or doing therapy virtually, in-school, or as a hybrid mix of in-school and virtual visits. Although we need to limit the use of a stuffed animal for onsite sessions due to infection protocols, we can still use Bluebee Pals during virtual visits. Here are some ways we are using Bluebee Pals during the pandemic.
When my occupational therapy visits were in person and I needed to demonstrate a handling or facilitation technique, we were able do it right then and there – in person. I could monitor and correct the technique the parent was using. Now, things are different and it takes some planning and thought to communicate to parents or caretakers what to do.
As handling techniques are manual, they are very difficult to verbally sequence what to do and where to put your hands. Many parents have anxiety over their ability to follow the directions for multistep or complicated techniques. And when a parent is anxious, their children become anxious. This is where Bluebee Pals have come to the rescue! Having Bluebee up on screen, puts a smile on everyone’s face and immediately calms frayed nerves. Modeling sensory or handling techniques on Bluebee relaxes everyone! Bluebee makes movement fun and less scary. I have also found Bluebee Pals to be invaluable for demonstrating feeding techniques. Now if I would only coordinate a call from me through my Bluebee Pal to make scrumptiously delicious sounds while he is munching! http://bluebeepals.com
We’ve also been reviewingideas of using Bluebee as a home ambassador to kids in need. We are exploring sending a Bluebee Pal out to children that may need that extra social boost or extra practice for language or reading skills. Kids learning English as a second language will be able to hear and rehearse vocabulary and social greetings with Bluebee at their side. In addition, with the bonus of being able to use Bluebee with the phone, it gives therapists a chance to reinforce all skills learned during visits on preprogrammed phone lines..
Last but not least is having Bluebee teach essential life skills like wearing a mask, social distancing, and rehearsing what to do if someone makes you feel uncomfortable. Bluebee can also be a teaching aid in how to get dressed. Baby sizes 6-9 months and even 12 months fit Bluebee perfectly. Not only is the child looking at the weather and what is appropriate to be dressed in, they are also learning to have an inquisitive mind and look to science for what needs to be done.
Other Ideas to use Bluebee in a home teaching environment are:
Tea parties to teach social skills/manners
Bluebee as a means to learn self-calming, and use in high stress community settings – how to give deep hugs and how to talk to someone who knows
Pushing Bluebee in a doll stroller or shopping cart for heavy work
Practice going to the doctor, church, post office etc.
Practice getting haircuts (Play-doh scissors)
Clipping nails or other hard to perform activities of daily living
Bluebee Pals app is an interactive app which brings your Bluebee Pal to life! No Bluebee Pal is needed to use the app or you can use your own Bluebee Pal. The app features activities of daily living like bathing, brushing teeth and washing hands this app can also be used to help your children understand the steps necessary to complete tasks.
The app features four rooms each with specific tasks: living room where you can tap on objects to hear their names; kitchen where you can eat a meal or have a snack; bedroom where your Bluebee takes off their shoes and goes to sleep; bathroom where your Bluebee Pal takes a shower, dries off, brushes their teeth and more!
The playroom has fun educational games including ABC’s, puzzles, building a robot, racing cars, find your Bluebee, matching colors and more! In a parental gated area there are access to suggested apps to use with your Bluebee Pal, resources on ways to use your Bluebee Pal with your children, app reviews and more. App encourages role play, use of imagination and allows kids to explore with no time limits!
Many people ask me how to connect their iPad to their computer. There are several ways to do this!
I found the easiest way via an app called Smart Mirror. With this paid app, I can mirror my iPad in any virtual platform.
The Bluebee App is fun and interactive and wonderful, which is ideal for teletherapy. Here are some tips:
Have your mirroring up and ready for screen share.
Begin by choosing a Bluebee Pal. This is a perfect opportunity for your child/student to either use their speech and/or AAC communication device.
Enter your name! Ask your child/student either spell their name (great literacy opportunity) via verbalization or their AAC communication system.
Choose your favorite color. Worked on creating sentences by modeling, “My favorite color is _____.” This is also an opportunity for choice making and commenting.
What activity will you begin with? I use annotation via zoom to circle choices. If you are using google meet, you can go through the choices verbally. I use custom cursor (free as add-on) which can also be very helpful!
Then choose a room for your daily activity. Since you are mirroring the screen, your child/student will have either verbalize the room they want or use their talker to tell you. When in the room, encourage your child/student to communicate different actions such as “open”, “get up”, “close”, “eat”, “drink”, etc.
Play the games on Bluebee app! There are so many ways to play this via teletherapy. For example, in one game you need to “find the bluebee pal”. This can be a great way to work on language that describes where Bluebee is such as “next to”, “up”, “down”, etc.
Lesson Pix an affordable, versatile and wonderful resource for creating custom printable materials. I love this website and have used it consistently for teletherapy since the pandemic began. I use it to create visual supports, power point social stories, games, schedule boards and much more!
Lesson Pix includes 40,000 symbols and gives you the ability to also upload your own photos. The website also includes over 500 templates.
Lesson Pix is a paid subscription that can be used individually or as a group.
Now that you learned all about Lesson Pix, let’s talk about how Bluebee Pal can join the fun!
Here are some quick tips!
Download a Lesson Pix game and have Bluebee Pal take turns with the spinner
Make a story about Bluebee Pal
Make a communication board to go with the free ebook, Bluebee Pals and the Techie Rangers here.
Upload a picture of Bluebee Pal and create schedule with Bluebee included.
Connect Bluebee pal via an AAC app and give Bluebee pal voice output. The Bluebee Pal can join in and have conversations with your child/student via teletherapy. For more information about connecting Bluebee Pals via AAC apps, click here.
Create a Bluebee Pal board game via Lesson Pix by uploading pictures of Bluebee Pal!
Play a describing game by making a communication board of different adjectives (big, soft, little, cute, etc.) and play “Tell me about Bluebee Pal”
Create a sequencing board for Bluebee Pal! You can read, play, or even dress up Bluebee Pal!
Download “having a conversation pdf” book via Lesson Pix and practice with Bluebee Pal!
Make a word wall of key core words to practice with Bluebee Pal. For more information about making word walls, click here.
White Plains Elementary School is honored to be a recipient of Bluebee Pal Project donation of Bluebee Pals educational tools. As a participant, we provide feedback and testimonials on the impact of technology in our speech therapy programs.
For the past 25 years, I have been a school based speech-language pathologist in the public schools. My journey has been rewarding working in school based services that provide therapy to a wide variety of student populations. I work with children as soon as they turn three years old and students can stay in school with speech services until they are 21 years old. I currently have students from 3 years old to 19 years old in my programs. In addition to the students who attend my school, I work with preschool children before they come to school as well as students in our preschool classrooms at my elementary school.
Just as the ages range greatly, so do the disabilities of the children. My students are working on producing speech sounds correctly to make their speech more understandable. Many of my students have autism or language delays in skills that we take for granted. These students focus on learning conversational turn taking, new vocabulary/concepts, providing appropriate answers and learning to ask their own questions.
Some of my students are learning about fluency control techniques to make their speech more smooth. The variety of age and disability varies greatly when providing services as a school based speech pathologist. So many of my younger students are motivated to practice new skills with the Bluebee Pals assistive technology tools. Young children learn faster when learning is fun and play oriented. Play is the natural state for preschool and young children so the Bluebee Pals fit right in with this therapy setting.
We are utilizing Bluebee Pals in the speech room, in two preschool classrooms and in a self contained classroom for children with significant disabilities, including autism. In the speech sessions, our objectives are on comprehension skills using story apps. In articulation therapy, we use them for modeling the target word and also recording the child’s attempt for playback in speech apps like Articulation Station.
We have the students practice their words with the Bluebee–the Bluebee just listens in this activity but the children love to practice saying their words to Bluebee and give better effort knowing the Bluebee is listening. I am working toward using the text to speech to reward/encourage them during this activity. We are also using it for conversational and social skills with students that have a delay in social language.
They are learning to take conversational turns and participate in interactive play which is so important for language development. The students love the Bluebee Pals! In the classrooms, we are still in the introductory stage and using them mostly with story book applications and songs. I have sent the teachers your information with ideas to use across the curriculum and we will continue to use them in different ways in the classroom.
Katrina Ginn: Speech-Language Pathologist, White Plains Elementary School, Anniston, AL
Thank you again for this wonderful donation to our school and students.
We hope that you will spend some time getting to know the companies on this 2020 homeschool curriculum list. They are all small businesses and your support of them is not only greatly appreciated, it gives you the chance to try something new and innovative with your kids. The products in the 2020 Ultimate Homeschool Curriculum List are sure to get your kids excited about learning this year. Have any suggestions for next year’s Homeschool Curriculum List? Email Info@HowToHomeschool.net to submit nominations for the next Top Homeschool Curriculum List! We’d love to hear from you.
These are our top picks for the Top Homeschool Curriculum List in the Special Needs category. This is your one stop homeschool curriculum list to see all of the Homeschool Resources we love!
Bluebee Pals – Laura Jiencke is the founder and creator of the awarding winning Bluebee Pals Interactive Plush Learning Tools, Bluebee Pals Life Skills/Educational App and co-author of the Bluebee Pals Techie Rangers book. The Bluebee Pals and companion app are recognized globally as an effective assistive technology tool for early learners and special needs children for engaging communication and learning.
With the intent of bringing back the plush buddy, they had an idea of combining traditional plush toy designs with state-of-the-art technology. The concept of an educational “huggable” plush learning companion that could be combined with a wide range of online digital content would provide children with a great source of entertainment while assisting in educating and developing cognitive and communication skills.
Bluebee Pals was chosen as a 2020 Top Homeschool Curriculum List winner!
Little Wooden Toybox supplies parents, teachers and homeschoolers with loads of fun, educational and sensory play printables that give parents and educators the confidence to teach and equip their children with the skills to succeed at school.
Printables designed by Tash Kritter, B.Ed K-7 and mum of 2 kids with Autism, meaning lots and lots of experience with OTs and speech therapists who have also influenced design concepts.
Little Wooden Toybox was chosen as a 2020 Top Homeschool Curriculum List winner!
Susan writes and develops curriculum and therapy materials appropriate for special education students needing speech-language intervention or significant modifications. Most of her resources are written for students who are nonverbal or minimally verbal and who need to use AAC (Augmentative-Alternative Communication) either no/low or high technology. Susan has been a speech language pathologist for more than 40 years and has conducted and published research and been a national and international presenter. She develops her materials in alignment with EBP (evidence-based practice). Especially this year, educators and therapists needing to provide distance learning and parents looking for materials with which to engage their children at home need appropriate AAC and speech-language resources. Susan has both paper-based and digital materials available. She has also written a training guide for parents, available on Amazon. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Susan-Berkowitz
Susan Berkowitz Resources were chosen as a 2020 Top Homeschool Curriculum List winner!
Puro Sound Labs is a small family run company with a big mission…to help inform people that noise-induced hearing loss is 100% preventable with the right tools and you can be causing it in yourself and your children by not limiting the volume that you are listening to your headphones at.
Puro Sound Labs products range from their BT2200 & JuniorJam Bluetooth Headphones, PuroQuiet Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones, PuroBasic Wired Headphones to PuroGamer the only volume limited gaming headphone available. All of Puro’s products are limited to 85dB, the recommended listening level for up to 8 hours of listening & have a built-in microphone making them great for however school will look for you this year.
With a 30 day money back guarantee and a 1 year warranty Puro wants you to be satisfied with your purchase and if you are not they want to know and fix it!
Puro Sound Labs was chosen as a 2020 Top Homeschool Curriculum List winner!
The Dianne Craft Learning System is a “home depot approach”, meaning that it can be done at home, inexpensively and successfully without the cost of outsourcing. Parents and teachers learn how to identify the symptoms of blocked learning gates and how to start making corrections using a successful three-pronged approach: Brain Integration Therapy, Right Brain Teaching Strategies & Targeted Nutritional Strategies.
1. Brain Integration Therapy- Dianne Craft’s Brain Integration Therapy Manual teaches parents and teachers to informally diagnose their student’s processing problems and teaches daily midline exercises along with crucial once-a-week Brain Training sessions to make permanent connections between the two sides of the brain.
2. Right Brain Teaching – Right brain teaching strategies give the child more “glue” for information to stick – using the powerful photographic memory. Using zany colors, pictures and stories to imbed left-brain information with the right brain, visual memory, allows you to teach to the brain as a “whole”. These strategies will help your student blossom in reading (decoding, phonics, dictation), writing (easily getting thoughts from head to hand), spelling (spelling words forwards and backwards in one spelling session), math (easily recall math processes), vocabulary and test-taking skills.
3. Targeted Nutritional Plan- While you are doing the academic midline therapies (Brain Integration Therapy) and Right Brain Teaching strategies, you can help your children focus easier and have better retention by following the week by week, step by step 3 month Targeted Nutritional Intervention Guide as found in Dianne Craft’s Biology of Behavior CD set. This set comes with the all-important Printed Study Booklet that gives you the steps in order, the amounts, best brands, ages, etc. Many parents report huge changes in focusing, mood, attitude, meltdowns, memory and Sensory Processing issues when they implement this easy to use home nutritional program.
The Dianne Craft Learning System was chosen as a 2020 Top Homeschool Curriculum List winner!
In most parts of the country, schools are beginning to open up for the new school year. Students and teachers will be wearing masks and following new safety guidelines to help protect from getting and spreading COVID-19.
Although most students have been wearing masks in public over the summer, it’s a good idea now to start getting them used to wearing masks for longer periods of time.
*Have conversations with your child about wearing a mask! Be frank with them and even discuss the obvious “This feels weird doesn’t it? Do you know why we have to wear it?”.
You might practice wearing a mask during a tv program, playing games or when reading a story.
Use books and videos with pictures to start a conversation and open up feelings about what is going on.
Use appropriate vocabulary to see if they really know what it all means.
Don’t assume that a child knows how to express what they are feeling. Children with limited language skills may be experiencing big emotions that they don’t know how to deal with.
Bluebee Pals are great tools to use to help your child understand reasons for and to practice wearing masks and using safety precautions. Let your child pick a mask for themselves and for their Bluebee Pal and they can practice wearing masks together! Use your Bluebee Pal to “read” Bluetooth connected stories, or read and record your own books in your own voice for your child. You can also practice social distancing with your Bluebee Pal!
*Keep everything upbeat and lighthearted to make them feel safe.
Here are some excellent resources about masks and safety to check out!
Smiling From Ear to Ear: Wearing Masks While Having Fun Paperback – By Kaitlyn Chu Let’s Smile From Ear to Ear! We’re all having to get used to wearing face masks in our daily lives. Let’s see how our favorite animals wear their masks and still have fun! Smiling From Ear to Ear is all about showing kids that they can wear face masks to protect themselves and those around them and still have fun. It was created to address kids’ fears and struggles by normalizing face masks in everyday activities using a playful and imaginative approach.
The Social Distance King: Introducing Queens and Kings to Social Distancing by Eric Desio The Social Distance King sensitively introduces the topic of social distancing to kids. With recent changes in the world, we all find ourselves living…differently. The Social Distance King is a great way to entertain children and also expose them to what social distancing might mean to them. And kids, most importantly, this book helps us learn in a FUN, entertaining and thoughtful way!
Lucy’s Mask – by Lisa Sirkis Thompson Are your kids confused and anxious about wearing a mask? Lucy’s world turned upside down. She’s bored. She can’t be together with her friends. But when she finds out her mom is making her a new mask her boredom turns into excitement. Lucy loves masks! She dives into her toy box full of costumes and opens a world of imagination and make-believe adventure, far beyond the walls of her room. Of course, she doesn’t realize that the mask her mom is making is not a costume at all but one that will keep her safe and make her a real-life superhero.
Before the onset of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the use of teletherapy in speech therapy and education was limited. Most education was done in a traditional face-to-face manner in a set physical location such as a school building. With schools unexpectedly closing across our nation in the spring due to safety concerns, educators were taxed with quickly learning and establishing new and flexible ways to teach their students using a wide variety of technology and teletherapy. Teachers learned to use Google Classrooms, Zoom meetings, created Virtual Classrooms, Boom Cards, and more! Using an internet connection, web portal, and two-way live video, students and teachers learned to interact as if they were in-person sessions. The use of teletherapy is expected to continue to grow as schools develop plans and educational options for the 2020-2021 school year.
Teletherapy opportunities are vast and include hands-on activities, interactive games, and unique educational plans. For the youngest students, a parent, or other adult is on the end with the child providing cueing and any “hands-on” techniques that might be needed.
***Even with all of the exciting new ways to teach virtually, teachers continue to use their most favorite, tried-and-true classroom resources in their online sessions!
Bluebee Pals are an example of a wonderful classroom favorite that are well suited to use during virtual instruction. Use them in your teletherapy sessions the same way you would use them in a traditional education setting!
What IS a Bluebee Pal? The Bluebee Pal Pro 4.0 is an interactive plush learning tool with a FREE companion (life skills /educational) app that connects to all iOS and Android Devices and pairs with all apps with a narrative. The patented technology allows Bluebee’s “mouth and head” to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, communicating through speech/AAC apps, learning a language and singing songs. The FREE Bluebee Pals Learning App is a robust life skill and cognitive development tool for children ages 3 to 7. When connected with a Bluebee Pal, children can immerse themselves in activities in five life skills rooms and play 9 educational mini-games. In addition to their app, Bluebee Pals pair with all apps with a narrative providing endless entertainment and education for all mainstream and special needs children.
* Bluebee inspires learning with educational apps.
* Bluebee reads any storybook apps.
*Your Bluebee Pal can become the teacher with your favorite text-to-speech app.
* Bluebee teaches with language and AAC (alternative augmentative communication).
* Bluebee sings with your favorite music apps.
* Bluebee acts as an educational tool with voice recording apps.
Bluebee Pals can easily be transitioned to use in teletherapy!
***Please visit the Bluebee Pals website to learn more about these excellent teaching tools.
Hooray! It’s summertime! School is out and kids are free to play and just be kids! But wait…this is not just any summer! This is the summer in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.Why does that matter? This school year was cut short for almost all students by at least 3 months. That is 1/3 of the school year! Although the schools and teachers scrambled to offer some type of educational services virtually and/or through packets mailed to students, educational instruction and progress took a major hit and a significant number of students will show skill regression in the fall when school begins again.
Even in the best of times, 100% of students experience summer learning loss if they don’t engage in educational learning activities over the summer. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 25% of academic learning is lost by children over summer vacation. This number would be expected to increase following the tremendous loss of instruction this year.
The “Summer Slide” is the phrase used to describe the slide backwards that many children normally make in reading and math skills over the summer months when school is not in session. Numerous studies show that kids who don’t practice educational skills during summer vacation actually lose up to 3 months by the time autumn rolls around. It takes teachers 4-6 weeks to reteach material that has been lost over the summer.
**You can combat summer slide by encouraging your child to devote a small bit of time each day to keeping up skills. Just like with playing a sport, Reading and Math are skills that must be practiced… It is important to keep your child’s mind engaged over the summer so they will not fall victim to the summer slide.”
Read EVERY day! Read non-fiction, fiction, ebooks, poetry, newspapers and read out loud! For most children, twenty minutes is an appropriate amount of time to read for a child who is an independent reader. Most libraries have a wonderful summer reading program with incentives and rewards for books read over the summer.
Cook with your children. This is one of the best ways to integrate math, reading and following directions. Let your child design the menu too! Help your child put together their favorite recipes in a cookbook.
Plant a garden. Your child will gain responsibility and pride as they watch their plants grow and thrive.
Take a field trip to a museum, zoo or local park with walking trails. Keep a journal about your travels.
Learn a new word each week! Hang it on the fridge and see who can use it the most times throughout the week.
Enroll in a quality summer program that will provide your child with opportunities to build their critical thinking skills.
Play quick games with flashcards like Math War or Concentration to keep math skills sharp.
Listen to Audio Books during your road trip.
Take pictures and make a summer scrapbook.
Did I mention READ?!If your child does nothing else this summer make sure he/she is reading!
Great News! Bluebee Pals are a wonderful way to encourage summer reading and combat the Summer Slide! Kids love to be connected! By reading their favorite book apps with Bluebee Pals and online reading sites for 20 to 30 minutes a day, your child can maintain and improve reading skills over the summer! They make excellent reading buddies! www.bluebeepals.com
Suggested Summer Reading Sites:
*Storyline Online by SAG-AFTRA Foundation is an award-winning children’s literacy app that features celebrated actors reading children’s books.
*Epic! – Kids’ Books and Videos by Epic! Creations Inc is a leading digital library for kids with instant, unlimited access to 35,000 high-quality ebooks, audiobooks, learning videos and quizzes for children 12 and under. There is a monthly subscription plan for home and a free plan for educators.
*HOMER Reading: Learn to Read by Homer is a personalized reading program for kids 2-8. This award-winning app has been proven to increase early reading scores by 74% with just 15 minutes a day. There is a monthly subscription plan for home, and a free plan for educators.
Teaching early dressing skills require patience and plenty of practice for little ones. To be successful, kids require a sense of body awareness, the needed motor skills – both gross motor and fine motor, and the ability to sequence steps. Kids begin to express their base knowledge of steps of routine tasks through daily engagement. This simple act of participation takes on meaning and deserves attention because it is relevant. Relevancy facilitates retention.
Any other presentation of material can simply be PLAY. Using PLAY (experiential learning) as a medium is one of the most powerful learning tools because it turns-on the motor system in conjunction with the body’s other systems and THAT promotes active critical thinking, problem-solving, and memory.
Here are some tips in using a Bluebee Pal for teaching dressing skills:
Kids love to play dress up, and what a perfect way to practice fine-motor skills than to dress up Bluebee! We love dressing Bluebee for holidays and seasons. Not only can you demonstrate what clothing is appropriate for the season but also introduce practice on a wide variety of those tricky fasteners (snaps, buttons, and even belt buckles). I buy clothing at our local church’s thrift shop and have found bargains for all kinds of clothing. Six to nine-month clothing usually fits Bluebee perfectly – although I have bought shirts sized up to 2 years for “dresses”.
Onesies are good for left/right, front/back awareness which directly relates to one’s position in space, and the fine-motor abilities to pinch with force in the handling snaps. Socks or booties help kids sustain the ability to stretch and place the sock or bootie, and are one of the harder tasks for kids to perform. As kids gain competency with dressing Bluebee, try altering Bluebee’s position from looking directly at Bluebee to having Bluebee in your lap. In the lap position, it resembles how a child may dress themselves.
Some of my favorite preschool apps for dressing:
The Bluebee Pal App..With an app, or as a stand-alone activity, Bluebee is there to help teach your child through fun and play. Enjoyable activities lend themselves to skill retention and the ability to transfer skills real time – meaning that skills are not produced in exact circumstances.
Sago Mini Babies Dress Up – while this does not have a narrative for Bluebee to play with the Bluetooth speaker, it is a great introduction for what to wear. The added bonus is that Sago Mini updates this app for seasonal variations.
Pepi House or Pepi Bath introduce self-care and has always been a clinic favorite. This is also an app that doesn’t use language. Learning at this level helps kids process and practice the sequence of events rather than have too much auditory input com overloading a kid’s system.
Dr. Panda apps always provide clothing to dress-up your character. They are great games to provide kids choices of what to wear. Their new annual subscription, “Dr. Panda Learn and Play” looks very promising.
This is what we all wish for not only our children but also all children. It is the gift to problem-solve and think through multiple strategies.
Some children just love reading; however, others may find it difficult or even boring. They may be missing foundational skills or have difficulty sitting for long periods of time.Reluctant readers can learn to enjoy it! With schools currently closed, parents have an increased need to help make reading fun at home! By making reading fun (instead of frustrating), as well as improving reading skills, your child can develop a lifetime love of reading……Be sure to keep reading over the summer!
Bluebee Pals and the Bluebee Pal Program are excellent instructional tools for early reading skills! Due to their endearing appeal, Bluebee Pals and The Bluebee Pal Program, Bluebee app, Techie Rangers E-book and free Activity Guide are uniquely suited for use with reading support. The Bluebee Pal Pro 4.0 interactive plush learning tool connects via Bluetooth to all iOS and Android devices and pairs with all apps with a narrative, which provides endless educational opportunities. Each Bluebee’s “mouth and head” realistically moves while teaching curriculum through educational games, activities, and apps.
* The Bluebee Pals Techie Rangers E-book with Activity Guide takes readers on an adventure with Andy and his Bluebee Pal Techie Ranger friends. Andy, a student with complex communication needs, uses an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device or “talker” to speak to the Techie Rangers as they help him return to the Rainbow School. The accompanying free Activity Guide provides fun extension activities focused on literacy and math. Don’t forget to check out the Bluebee Pals Curriculum for a lesson plan made especially for the Bluebee Pals Techie Rangers E-Book and Activity Guide. You can find the E-book and activity guide here: https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-pals-techie-rangers-book/#
*The Bluebee Pals Curriculum, Bluebee Pals Techie Rangers E-Book and Activity Guide, app recommendations, numerous video tutorials, and extensive professional development resources are all available at www.bluebeepals.com
Empowering struggling readers by making reading fun at home:
Use technology! Use Bluebee Pals along with any available technology to increase engagement with reading. Kids love tablets, computers, and phones! Use colorful book apps with Bluetooth devices to encourage reading. A set of personal earplugs or headphones would improve attending skills and give great auditory feedback.
Pick the right books– Select books your child will enjoy according to interests. Let your child help choose books. This will make reading less of a chore and more of a fun activity.
Read aloud– Take turns reading aloud to add excitement to the story using fun, different voices.
Encourage all forms of reading– In addition to books, magazines, graphic novels, road signs, recipes, and newspapers are also great reading materials.
Create a reading space– Make a fun reading area or fort where your child can read on his or her own. This is especially fun with a Bluebee Pal!
Make connections between books and life experiences– Read adventure books before you take a camping trip or dinosaur books before a trip to a museum.
Offer developmentally appropriate reading through audio books– They are a great way to make reading more enjoyable while helping to improve comprehension skills. Providing human-read audiobooks allows struggling readers to focus, visualize, and become engaged in the story. Audiobooks help build vocabulary, comprehension, and critical thinking skills. Students can gain access to grade-level content so they can participate in class and work along with their peers. This builds more confident and engaged learners. Taking away the mechanics of reading and allowing students to work at their ability lowers stress, allowing them to succeed.
Read a series– High interest book series help keep your child engaged. Also read multiple non-series books by favorite authors.
Have a daily “reading hour”– Have a scheduled reading time every day. During this time, ask your child what is happening in the book, what his or her favorite part was, and what he or she thinks might happen next.
Take trips to the library– Let your child get a library card and select books that catch his or her attention. Participate in age-appropriate story hours at the library, as well as any summer reading programs offered.
Teach reading strategies– Lots of kids don’t like reading because they don’t have the necessary skills. Talk to your child’s teacher about strategies to help improve reading motivation.
If your child’s teacher has assigned an online reading program via your school system, be sure to complete assignments as scheduled! This extra reading help will be tailored to your child’s needs and is scientifically-based instruction.
These excellent reading sites for pre-K and elementary children are backed by a tremendous amount of research into how kids learn to read and how they become fluent readers.
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!
Let’s face it. The world is in crisis mode right now! The COVID-19 global pandemic has changed our lives for the foreseeable future. As of the end of April 2020, 3,275,475 coronavirus cases have been reported worldwide, with 1,078,476 cases reported in the United States. Medical professionals are fighting daily to save lives while families remain unable to visit their loved ones. Businesses are closed with many employees out of work or furloughed. Families are trying to manage staying at home while working remotely AND educating their children who are unable to go to school. A household full of people “Zooming” (the crazy popular video conferencing tool being use for everything from staff meetings to happy hours), trying to work, trying to learn, trying to cook and clean is enough to break any of us!
Our children are affected too. They can tell that things are not quite right and that the adults in their lives are stressed. They hear us talking about the virus, or “big germ” as some moms have nicknamed it, and may not understand why they must #stayathome and #keepadistance! More time at home with this heightened level of stress can inevitably lead to increased anxiety for our children. You may be noticing more whining, tantrums, and sibling rivalries no matter how attentive you are trying to be. We are social beings that thrive on interactions and variety. Living this way is HARD!
Thankfully, organizations are providing FREE access to some amazing educational and fun resources. Bluebee Pals work exceptionally well with these activities via Bluetooth connectivity. Check out the list below and connect your Bluebee Pal today!
Not only can you connect your Bluebee Pal to read and sing along with any of these resources, but our plush friend is there for hugs and cuddles too! Hug your Bluebee Pal today for a break from the COVID-19 emergency we are all dealing with. Bluebee Pals and Kayle Concepts are thinking of you during this time!http://bluebeepals.com
With children out of traditional school due to the current virus pandemic- homeschooling, online schooling, and social distancing are the current new normal. Children are missing their teachers, classmates, friends and social activities. Parents are trying to supplement educational assignments to prevent loss of prior learning. This has all been such a big adjustment to our daily lives!
Bluebee Pals make perfect friends and educational tech companions.
Family Pack Bluebee Pals
Bluebee Pals make great social distancingfriends! Even if you can’t have human friends over to play right now, you have an instant friend with your Bluebee Pal! They are soft and snuggly, and instantly loveable. They make a perfect friend! Here are some suggestions to help you and your child enjoy playing with a Bluebee Pal friend:
Have a tea party. Have one every day! Invite your Bluebee Pal, mom, dad, sisters and brothers. Set the table, enjoy some snacks, and talk about your day. This is a nice way to schedule some family time and reconnect.
Your Bluebee Pal can receive telephone calls through it’s Bluetooth connection! Show your child how to answer the call by pressing on Bluebee’s ear. Then, go to another room and call your child through their Bluebee Pal. Have a conversation, sing some songs, ask and answer questions! Now, change places and let your child call you on your Bluebee Pal! This is wonderful for practicing conversational and social interactions.
Be sure to include Bluebee Pal in daily activities! Let him sit next to you while watching cartoons or movies, and let him sleep with you at night. He will help keep your child from feeling lonely and isolated.
Play games! You can play your favorite board games together and/or with other family members! Pick a game, set it up and get started. Help your Bluebee Pal take turns playing with you! Bluebee Pals love playing games!
Play-pretend! Help your child learn to engage in pretend play with Bluebee Pal! Play pirates, princess, dress-up, take a trip to the moon or act out your favorite books! Imaginative play fosters creativity!
Help your child make Face-time calls with your child’s friends with your Bluebee Pal! Let your Bluebee “read” your favorite book apps with your child’s friends over the phone! This is an awesome way to keep friends connected.
Practicing responsible social distancing is imperative for all us….and, with Bluebee Pal friends, can be fun!
Bluebell Pals are NOT just your average toy! Oh no! They go way beyond that! They are excellent educational tech companions! Bluebee Pals can easily be utilized to address educational needs with young children and make learning fun!
Their 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 come with a FREE educational app, free resources, lesson plans tied to the Common Core Curriculum, video tutorials and ideas for educational uses, a fun activity guide and a downloadable book!
Click the links to learn about Bluebee and Free Resources
Life skills have been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. Skills that function for well-being and aid individuals to develop into active and productive members of their communities are considered as life skills. Educators are increasingly supporting the development of life skills, in addition to academics, in order to enable students to function effectively in society. Teachers sometimes describe these skills as “learning to learn skills” which can be developed through intentional daily activities.
Life skills go hand in hand with development and can help your child succeed later in life.
In the book, “Mind in the Making,” Ellen Galinsky, a leading authority on child development issues, organized the essential life skills that children need to be well-rounded, ready for school, and life.
What Are the Most Important Life Skills for Kids to Learn?
Focus And Self Control: Children need this skill in order to achieve their goals. It involves paying attention, remembering the rules, thinking flexibly and exercising self control. Children thrive onschedules, habits, and routines, which not only create a feeling of security, but also help children learn self-control and focus.
Perspective Taking: Perspective taking goes far beyond empathy in that it involves figuring out what others think and feel, and forms the basis of children understanding their parents’, teachers’, and friends’ intentions. Children who can take others’ perspectives are also much less likely to get involved in conflicts. Thinking about another’s point of view doesn’t come naturally to most children, but it can be developed by making observations with children about how others are feeling.
Communication: Communicating is much more than understanding language, speaking, reading and writing – it is the skill of determining what one wants to communicate and realizing how our communications will be understood by others. Children need to build healthy social-emotional skills, including the ability to understand and communicate with others. Children need to learn how to “read” social cues and listen carefully. They must consider what they want to communicate and the most effective way to share it.
Making Connections: Making connections is at the heart of learning—figuring out what’s the same, what’s different and sorting these things into categories. Making unusual connections is at the core of creativity. True learning occurs when we can see connections and patterns between seemingly disparate things. The more connections we make, the more sense and meaning we make of the world. Young children begin to see connections and patterns as they sort basic household items like toys and socks. Simple acts, such as choosing clothing appropriate for the weather, helps them build connections.
Critical Thinking: Critical thinking is the ongoing search for valid and reliable knowledge to guide beliefs, decisions, and actions. We live in a complex world in which adults are required to analyze information and make decisions about myriad things every day. One of the best ways to build critical thinking is through rich, open-ended play. Make sure your child has time each day to play alone or with friends. Through play, children formulate hypotheses, take risks, try out their ideas, make mistakes, and find solutions—all essential elements in building critical thinking.
Taking On Challenges: Life is full of stresses and challenges. Children who are willing to take on challenges instead of avoiding them or simply coping with them do better in school and in life. One of the most important traits we can develop in life is that of resilience—being able to take on challenges, bounce back from failure, and keep trying. Children learn to take on challenges when we create an environment with the right amount of structure—not so much as to be limiting, but enough to make them feel safe. Encourage your child to try new things and allow reasonable risk, such as climbing a tree or riding a bike. Offer a new challenge when she seems ready.
Self-Directed, Engaged Learning: It is through learning that we can realize our potential. As the world changes, so can we, for as long as we live—as long as we learn. A child who loves learning becomes an adult who is rarely bored in life. To encourage a love of learning, try to limit television and encourage plenty of reading, play, and open-ended exploration.
Bluebee Pals are excellent educational tools that can easily be incorporated in the classroom or at home to help model and build age-appropriate essential life skills. Use one-on-one or invite a Bluebee Pal into life skills learning or peer groups to practice skills. Paired with story books and educational apps, Bluebee Pals offer children a special learning friend who makes life skills practice fun…and therefore, more meaningful. By “speaking” the audio in connected apps, a Bluebee Pal adds just the right touch of warmth and humanity to motivate children. Just connect your Bluebee Pal and get started!https://www.bluebeepals.com
A few examples of apps that can be used to help develop essential life skills:
First Then Visual Schedule HD by Good Karma Applications, Inc allows you to create first-then boards, visual schedules, task analyses, social stories, choice boards, and video models, and even has a timer for task completion.
Peppy Pals Family Play Bundle by Peppy Pals AB is a set of three apps featuring engaging animal friends that enables children to learn and explore emotions in an relaxing, interactive environment while developing emotional intelligence.
Peppy Pals Social Skills by Peppy Pals AB features gender-neutral animals in story scenarios as they take care of each other and solve problems. Helps build social emotional skills such as self-esteem, resilience, empathy, problem-solving, managing emotions, managing stress, and creating healthy relationships.
10 Ways – a Social Skills Game by Everyday Speech LLC teaches through a familiar game format with categories of questions that include conversation skills, perspective taking, asking and answering questions, friendship skills, and more.
Categories Learning Center by Smarty Ears fosters categorization skills by sorting similar and dissimilar items, placing objects in the correct category, naming members of given categories and identifying which category name a group of objects belongs in.
Thinkrolls by AVOKIDDO is an addictive, award-winning logic, brain power, and problem solving app for kids that uses mazes to master the art of thinking. Provides for penalty-free and stress-free trial and error problem solving.
“I am a special needs teacher and work with a population of middle school age children with moderate to severe special needs. In this video, Sally is an eighth-grade student with Autism who is in our Critical Life Skills Program. Critical Life Skills include adapted academics, toileting, feeding, mobility, communication, dressing, self-help, and social/emotional achievement and functioning. As a special needs teacher, I am always searching for new ways to reach my students and keep their attention. Bluebee Pals are an amazing educational tool to encourage reading and literacy. Whether the Bluebee is narrating a story or identifying a word for the student to locate on an Ipad/touch screen.” –Cheryl Stark-Special Needs Teacher ……….https://www.bluebeepals.com/tutorials/
Sally is listening to the Raz A-Z Reading Program read to her from Bluebee Pal Parker the Monkey. She then taps on the self-read function after he reads to her and states, now she is reading to her Bluebee Monkey. Bluebee Pals are powerful assistive technology tools for many special needs children as they engage in learning and communication by connecting to any app with a narrative including the Bluebee Pal App. In addition, they provide companionship as a learning buddy who is soft, cuddly and non-judgmental. It’s an opportunity for children to interact with a humanoid companion outside the daily routine of staring into the screen on a iPad or laptop.https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-pals-app/
Raz-Kids is an online reading program that helps students hone comprehension skills in class, at home, or on the go. Students can read and listen to eBooks at 29 different reading levels, use eTools for active reading, and take quizzes while teachers and parents monitor student reading activity and quiz reports. The Kids A-Z mobile app delivers interactive learning content for Raz-Plus, Raz-Kids, Headsprout, and Science A-Z anytime, anywhere. Kids can choose from a library of eBooks, eQuizzes, and other eResources. With the Kids A-Z app, personalized learning goes wherever the student does! https://apps.apple.com/us/app/kids-a-z/id474207297
Bluebee Pals are extremely versatile and effective educational assistive technology tools that can be utilized to support individualized instruction in virtually any subject area! They make great teacher’s assistants and promote active and engaged learning. They can be used one-on- one or in a small group setting. In addition to being used with any apps containing a narrative, they can also be used with voice recording and text-to-speech apps and tailored to meet specific student or classroom educational needs.
Voice Recording Apps:
Students can’t get enough of hearing their own (and their teacher’s) recorded voices and this is an instant attention getter! These apps allow you to record, save, and immediately playback your own recordings in your own (or a student’s) voice. Bluebee can playback adult voice recordings of a favorite book, story, or song in a child’s own regional dialect, or recordings produced by a child. Bluebee can “speak” in a student’s voice to give the student auditory feedback on how he/she sounds.
Voice Memos by Apple. Quickly and easily record vocabulary words for Bluebee to say and for students to practice repeating. Let your students record their words, sentences, or stories, too! Matching game: Record nouns for Bluebee and give students picture or word flashcards to choose the correct match for the word that was said. Use the recorder app to have Bluebee give instructions or ask questions. Use the recorder to have students sequence events, answer questions, or retell a story. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/voice-memos/id1069512134
My Story School eBook Maker by MY STORY, LLC. Create and share ebooks and movies using your own voice, drawings, stickers, and photos! https://apps.apple.com/us/app/my-story- school-ebook-maker/id449232368
Book Creator for iPad by Red Jumper Limited. Easily create your own books! Add music, narration, video, text! Share with family and friends. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/book-creator-for-ipad/id442378070
Little Bird Tales Storytelling by Mike Klem. Create your own unique stories, podcasts, presentations and journals. Students can download lessons from their teacher and send them back when completed. There is an art pad for illustrations, and it records in your own voice and adds text to each page. Great for custom lessons, Common Core aligned lessons, writing assignments, book reports, poetry, journals, and more. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/little- bird-tales-storytelling/id517996494
Articulation Station Pro by Little Bee Speech is an example of an app for articulation (sound production) remediation that records student responses for auditory feedback and practice. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/articulation-station-pro/id491998279
***In addition to these, many storybook, articulation, language development and educational apps contain a recording feature. Be on the lookout for it!
These apps let your students interact in real time with your Bluebee Pal as you type in text for your Bluebee to speak! They offer so much versatility and control of your lessons as Bluebee Pals “speak” to your students as you are working with them. You can program your Bluebee Pal to say anything you want him to say as you type in the text. Ask and answer questions or carry-on a real life conversation! Make up your own stories or type in the text of books for your Bluebee Pal to read. Book discussions: Have Bluebee read a book out loud. Then, type in questions for Bluebee to ask the students. Have Bluebee help practice vocabulary and comprehension skills by typing in words or definitions, questions, or even tests for him to say aloud. With Bluebee Pals and Text-to-Speech apps, students can quickly and easily work on syntax, semantics, pragmatics, social skills, math, language, social studies, science, and other curriculum skills….anything you want!
Talk For Me – Text to Speech by Darrin Altman https://apps.apple.com/us/app/talk-for-me-text-to-speech/id975096888
Text to Speech (TTS) https://apps.apple.com/us/app/text-to-speech-tts/id1183892228 Text to Speech! https://apps.apple.com/us/app/text-to-speech/id712104788 iSpeech Text to Speech https://apps.apple.com/us/app/ispeak-text-to-speech/id1101193022
Speak4Me-Text to Speech https://apps.apple.com/us/app/speak4me-text-to- speech/id894460403
Many parents and teachers are constantly looking for new ways to get children excited about reading. And for good reason. Reading is a large part of receiving a strong foundation during the early years of a child’s education. In fact, studies have often shown when a young child is read to, it improves language skills, assists in literacy development, and has a great impact on the parts of a child’s brain that are fundamental early literacy development.
Parents and teachers today have many tools that help spark an early love and desire in children to read and learn. The Bluebee Pal is one of them, and it may remind some of a classic talking and plush toy that made its debut in the 1980s.
Our Bluebee Pal, better known to my preschoolers as Leo the Lion, is providing loads of educational fun, so much so that I doubt the kiddos realize they are learning as they are playing. Leo, and all Bluebee Pals, is a plush toy that syncs with Bluetooth® enabled devices. With its built-in speaker the Bluebee Pal reads to, sings with and engages children as they learn with their favorite apps, songs and videos. The pals also have moving mouths as they talk and sing. Typically toys like this can be a bit bulky or not as plush as they appear because of the battery pack and speaker inside the toy. The Bluebee Pal is extremely soft, lightweight and huggable, making it a great toy for kiddos of any age. These are just a few reasons why reading time is bit more exciting these days.
6 Top Reading Apps for Home or School
1. HOOPLA Book Riot has recommended this for downloading audiobooks straight from local libraries. It also has an extensive children’s audiobook section, which will make for good bedtime reading or car listening.
2. EPIC! Epic provides a plethora of children’s books for all ages. The app asks for parents or teachers to create an account, and allows for them to create four profiles for children readers. You do need to register an email and a password. The visuals and music contribute to a fun learning experience.
3. SIGHT WORDS App Store reviews from parents have expressed satisfaction with this app game that encourages reading and makes it fun for kids. It’s for ages 4 and up, with detailed animation, background music, and great visuals. There are six games at the moment, tailored by grade. Kids can create their own profile, as either people or monsters.
4. ENDLESS READER This is meant for younger readers, ages 4 and up, to teach them words by sight. It’s designed to grab attention, with fluid animation and epic music. Digital flash cards occupy the screen, with fitting animation. Kids have to assemble the words, or match them, while the game provides appropriate sound effects.
5. READING COMPREHENSION The paid version of the Peakaboo apps, there are versions for various reading levels, grades 2–8. The various bundles range from $7.99–9.99 and individual apps cost $1.99. These promise to educate children, while provoking thought with their questions about the material.
6.TEACHME This reading app comes for multiple grade levels, including Preschool, Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, and Third Grade. All five apps cost $7.99 as a bundle, and the individual ones are $1.99 if a parent wishes to buy them separately.
Play and Learn at Home
Whether it is to learn or to catch up on their favorite shows, my preschoolers enjoy having time on the computer and tablet. As a parent I am often concerned that the girls have spent too much time looking at screens, potentially causing damage to their vision. The Bluebee Pal has helped us to eliminate long periods of looking at a screen because the focus has turned to watching its mouth move and paying closer attention to the actual story or song. This guarantees a successful and quiet learning time.
Activity Suggestion for Parents: Storytime while traveling.
Take a Bluebee Pal on your next family trip. It can easily fit in a carryon or in a child’s backpack in the car. During road time or other quiet moments, your children can stay caught up on their daily reading in a way that doesn’t seem to take away from the fun being had on the trip.
Homeschoolers: Incorporate Apps into Lessons
Homeschoolers are no strangers to incorporating technology into lessons. Some days they are strategically fit into learning time. Other days technology allows us to quickly create a last minute lesson plan. Reading time, however, is rarely ever left out of the lesson plans. Having our pal, in addition to the variety of educational and reading apps, makes reading time both educational and entertaining.
For example, The Epic App allows parents and children to choose from more than 35,000 books, and they can read them online or offline, on the Web, or on mobile devices. Many selections are by well-known authors or from major publishers, and the collection includes Spanish/English, Chinese/English, and French/English bilingual books. Kids are able to see colorful scenes of the story on your device, as well as hear the story while it is “read” by the Bluebee Pal. Most stories in the app are not free, but the app offers a few free ones to begin.
The Bluebee Pal is also a great tool to use while introducing phonics to beginner readers. Words on a page may be intimidating for some, so incorporating videos from your favorite educational channels like these can assist in boosting a child’s confidence as well as introduce the necessary skills to begin reading. Kids can enjoy story time without a parent’s help, which is great for the little ones who can’t quite read and great for parents who need to buy a few moments to prepare for the next activity.
Activity for Homeschoolers: Encourage activeness by listening to music and dancing with the Bluebee Pal.
Kids (and parents alike) need a time during the day to step away from the learning. Turning on music and encouraging dancing and movement is exactly what is needed to get re-energized, or in some cases, burn some energy to continue the time of productive learning. The Bluebee Pal has a quality speaker, and its volume is easily controlled by the device.
Use in The Classroom
Using videos to dig a little deeper into topics is typical for homeschoolers, and it is no different for the classroom. I am visual learner, so I tend to teach my children with many visual examples. Once a week I teach a co-op class, and this past session I taught basic science concepts to 29 four and five-year-olds. During our weather week, I introduced the concept of seasons with a video and a song with the help of our Bluebee Pal.
Teachers of children of that age group know how challenging it can be to keep the kiddos quiet for long periods of time. However, the second I introduced Leo to both classes all were quiet, and their eyes were fixated on him. The class assistants could not believe their eyes. Every student was captivated, including those who are normally rambunctious.
Activity Suggestion for Teachers: Give students a chance to earn a reward of holding the Bluebee Pal.
Students will quickly become attached to the new classroom pal, so offer the privilege of holding the Bluebee Pal during reading time as a reward for good behavior throughout the day.
Learning with Leo has been both enjoyable and beneficial for my children and students. Check out more about the Bluebee Pal here and see which pal your child would most love!
Teri Watters is a married stay-at-home mom who regularly blogs at MommyWifeLife.com. She believes in keeping family at the center and is enjoying her new role as a homeschooling momma. Her ideal perfect day ends with her feet up, a big bowl of stove-popped popcorn, and a tall glass of ice water with lemon.
Schools are closed indefinitely across the USA and parents are now charged with helping their children continue educational activities at home. Some school systems were able to send assignments home before the closures, while others had no time to prepare for the sudden shut-down.
It is important that students continue to learn and grow, and the current situation provides lots of opportunities for fun, impactful home educational activities. This is also a PERFECT time to make memories with your children and learn things beyond “normal” math and reading. Gather your Bluebee Pals and child and create a home-classroom for continued learning during this period of school closure.
***Best Homeschooling Outcomes:
Make a daily schedule for your child and include a variety of activities (math, reading, art, cooking, PE time, lunch, free time, etc.).
Complete any assignments given by your child’s teacher first.
The Bluebee Pal Pilot collaboration between New York City Schools boroughs are demonstrating to be a great success! Testimonials from early childhood teachers and speech therapists acknowledge the integration of Bluebee Pal as a valuable educational tool to motivate students in learning. Bluebee Pals assistive technology tools are incorporated into classrooms to support teachers in engaging literacy and communication through lesson plans, social/emotional and life skills. The Bluebee Pal Program highlights a robotic stuffed animal that connects to IOS and Android devices and speaks through all apps with a narrative, in addition to its the Bluebee Pal App. In 2020, Kayle Concepts brand owner introduced Bluebee Pal Lesson Plans, Book and Activity guide for early childhood educators.https://www.bluebeepals.com
P17X@385 BLUEBEE PALS PROMOTE LEARNING
Amanda Acosta, K-2 TeacheR, Bronx
Bluebee Pal is a fun way to encourage my students to participate during ElA. As a class although on the box the name is Parker, the students voted on naming the monkey momo. During read aloud they are engaged with momo and are fascinated that a stuffed animal is reading directly to them. When it comes to questioning they will answer the question that is asked and will give momo a high five for participating. Overall they have really enjoyed Fundations with this device it has promoted their encouragement to not only engage but to sit and attain what is being said by the device. In addition to this during centers, there is an independent center where students have an opportunity to work with momo with their letters which they love to do. They have incorporated momo into their routines once they unpack they ask where momo is.
Rachel Callahan, K-2 Teacher, Bronx
My students love using the Bluebee Pal. They were intrigued by the lion and would repeat letter sounds that Bluebee Pal said as we were able to record. They also like stories and games. Students who do not demonstrate strong, functional, speech are more likely to participate from using the Bluebee Pal.
P77K@178 INTRODUCING BLUEBEE PALS INTO SPEECH THERAPY
Vaishalie Ramsumair, M.A. CF-SLP, TSSLD, Brooklyn
I have now begun to integrate Bluebee Pal “Lily the Lamb” and the Bluebee Pal app into my therapy sessions. Upon being introduced to the Bluebee Pal, my nonverbal and minimally verbal students’ eyes immediately light up. My students have been highly motivated by the “daily activity” feature, where they are given the autonomy to select an activity based on the rooms in the Bluebee Pal house.
The Bluebee Pal has helped one of my students in particular to generalize her ability to request via static display speech-generating device (GoTalk9+). While lunchtime has historically been the sole motivating activity for this student, she demonstrated the ability today to request Lily the Lamb within a structured play context using her GoTalk 9+. I will definitely continue to use Bluebee Pal Lily and Bluebee Pal app in future therapy sessions.https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bluebee-pals/id1331972815
In August of 2019, the University of Central Flori at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida began their journey as a Bluebee Pals Project site. The PedsAcademy provides hospital-based school programming to children who are fighting for their health. This educational program brings educators into the hospital setting allowing the patients to focus on being students again. They participate in research-backed educational opportunities through the use of technology including the Bluebee Pals.
Rebeca Grysko, Associate Director of Teacher Education and Post-Doctoral Scholar at UCF’s PedsAcademy, shared that the Bluebee Pals were a “great success” during read aloud activities with patients and families.
Student teaching interns have been using the Bluebee Pals to teach vocabulary and increase reading skills. In addition, the Bluebee Pals have helped to engage, comfort, incentivize and entertain the students during lessons. These plush educational tech tools act as reading buddies for PedsAcademy students that need extra support such as those with learning disabilities or second-language learners.
Bluebee Pals have “made so many of the lessons 10x better!” shared a teaching intern. One very special participant was a 23-month-old patient who engaged with Bluebee Pals while reading stories, singing nursery rhymes and following simple directions.
What a joy it is to see the positive impact of Bluebee Pals at the PedsAcademy! We are honored to be part of their amazing program that helps ensure academic access to their patients!
Punam Desormes, M.A., CCC-SLP, ATP
Faculty Clinical Instructor School of Communication Sciences and Disorders University of Central Florida
PS K771 is a safe and orderly school in Brooklyn, New York where teachers agree the principal is a trustworthy and effective leader, surveys report. The school, which serves over 400 1st- 12th graders, is located in nine sites throughout Brooklyn. The student body mainly consists of learners with autism, emotional disturbances, multiple handicaps or intellectual disabilities.
The school is a part of a special pilot program where Bluebee Pals are donated to specific schools in exchange for provider feedback. Laura Jiencke, founder of Bluebee pals created the program to include free professional development for teachers and therapists to kick start the program. Many principals expediated the Bluebee Pal Pilot Progam and provided photos, videos, and testimonials within weeks of implementing the program. The positive testimonials and principal support resulted in a successful collaboration between the New York City Schools and Kayle Concepts owner of the Bluebee Pal brand.
“As promised with our Bluebee Pal Pilot Program, I wanted to share our feedback from our ENL Teacher and Speech Therapist.We are also buying more Bluebee Pals.” Vinnette Ferrandino, Principal, I.A.P771K
The training was great. The videos provided a demonstration of the actual usage of Bluebee Pals and how other teachers incorporate them into their lesson plans.
I use Bluebee during push in sessions and reading time. I tend to prefer functional communication so to me it’s a great engagement tool that catches the student’s attention and is fun. They attend to it.
I think every 12:1:4 classroom and 6:1:1 classroom can benefit from using Bluebee Pals
Bluebee Pals Engaging Learning- ENL Teacher
The training provided valuable overview of the Bluebee Pal, the capabilities, and possible classroom use. The opportunity to view the videos of classes with Bluebee Pals and feedback from the teachers was very helpful and inspiring. In addition, the summary of the resources available on the website can be very useful to supplement the classroom activities.
I use the Bluebee Pal in my small groups sessions. It has proven to be a valuable tool for increasing students engagement, creating more entry points for curriculum and increasing the comfort level of the multilingual students. I have noticed that given an opportunity for a student to hear texts or stories in native language decreases the stress level and promotes a positive attitude towards the school setting.
Bluebee pal provides an incredibly powerful engagement option for younger students and early learners. In addition, I can see the possibilities to increase student’s independence/choice making by giving them an option to use the Pal during DEAR time but that would require multiple pals for the class.
We will be looking to purchase additional Bluebee Pals shortly.
Kayle Concepts implemented a Bluebee Pal Pilot Program in five Bronx and five Brooklyn Schools. The program was designed to promote Bluebee Pals as an effective communication and educational tool for early childhood educators and therapists in mainstream and special needs schools. New York City Schools consists of five boroughs – Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island and considered one of the largest educational institutions in the United States. In the New York City School system, technology is recognized as an important component of education. While we anticipated a supportive response, the teachers and therapists have exceeded our expectations in recognizing Bluebee Pals as a vital assistive technology tool in engaging learning and communication. https://www.bluebeepals.com
P. 53K at P384 Brooklyn, New York: Barbara Barone-Speech Therapist
1. How often are Bluebee Pals used daily/weekly? We use Bluebeee daily during speech therapy, classroom lessons, and student enrichment clusters (SEM).
2. What activities are Bluebee Pals used with? We focus on literacy, music and vocabulary connected to AAC devices for communication. In addition to social/emotional interaction skills.
3. Who is using the Bluebee Pals? The speech therapists and teachers at our site are using the Bluebee Pals as well as the students we each service.
4. What goals/objectives are you targeting when using Bluebee Pals? As a speech therapist, my main objective is to use Bluebee Pals to improve social interaction skills. In particular, we have been working on the students greeting the Bluebee, maintaining conversations by asking and answering questions, and engaging in eye contact.We have also been targeting vocabulary and speech production by using the Bluebee as a model for language.
5. How does Bluebee Pal effect the activity and student progress/engagement? The students absolutely love the Blueebee Pals. They are fun, interactive and motivating for all! Many of my students exhibit social delays that make it difficult for them to engage with their peers. They have been so excited to interact with Bluebee by asking him questions and modeling his language. I hope this will teach them the social skills they need to communicate with their peers.
6. What are your favorite apps to use with Bluebee Pals? AAC Apps – Proloquo, Touch Chat, LAMP, Myon, Reading App, Spotify – Sammy is a great addition to our dance parties social Story and Pictello – I have been creating stories and social scripts with the students and Bluebee does a great job of bringing them to life. Voice Recorder – to record social scripts for the students to use when practicing asking and answering questions with the Bluebee.https://apps.apple.com/us/app/voice-recorder-audio-editor/id685310398
7. What is your feedback on the Bluebee Pal App, Book and Activity Book? The app is great! My students really enjoy completing the puzzles and putting cars on the race track. I like using the alphabet board to word on letter recognition and the home for activities of daily living skills (ADL).
Early childhood teachers, speech and occupational therapists are integrating Bluebee into their programs. Their passion is reflected in the variety and creative usages Bluebee Pals are utilized on a daily basis as an assistive technology tool. “I have only been using the Bluebee Pals for a month but the students and I already love it! I look forward to discovering new and exciting ways to incorporate it into my speech practice.” -Barbra Barone Barbara Barone Speech Department, P. 53K at P384 Brooklyn, New York
The Down Syndrome Foundation of Florida is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing creative programs and partnerships to facilitate opportunities for people with Down syndrome and their families. They offer innovative services including iCan! The Learning Program focused on providing parents with the tools to strengthen the educational potential of their child. Developed by Dana Halle, founder of the Down Syndrome Foundation of Orange County, the program consists of monthly workshops for parents and their children with Down syndrome. The caregivers learn how to teach reading, introduce math and create effective learning session.
While the parents are hard at work, so are the kids! Alaine Miller, a partnering speech-language pathologist, runs the children’s sessions during this 9-month program. Alaine found another partner to join the mix as well. You guessed it – Bluebee Pals! The Down Syndrome Foundation is a Bluebee Pals Project donation recipient and the kids have been having a blast with their new cuddly friends!
Alaine uses Blubee Pals to Model Social Skills, Speech-Language Skills, and Positive Behavior.
Using voice recordings, text-to-speech apps and educational songs, the children interact with Bluebee and their friends each month. Greetings, turn-taking, appropriate sitting, encouragement and listening comprehension are just some of the things Bluebee assists the students in learning. Alaine stated that the educational tech tool has “maximally increased engagement and progress” amongst her students.
“The children were eager to interact with Bluebee and thought it was great to answer a question Bluebee asked. They also loved hugging Bluebee and giving him high fives when they were working hard!”
The children of the iCan! Learning Program also helped Bluebee by fix any silly mistakes he made – “allowing the children the opportunity to correct him, which they thought was silly and fun”!
iCan! The Learning Program is filling in much needed gaps in the education of children with Down syndrome and providing essential parental support. Check it out along with the numerous other services provided by the Down Syndrome Foundation of Florida here: http://www.dsfflorida.org/http___www.dsfflorida.html
I am a speech-language pathologist working with verbal, minimally verbal, and non-verbal children on my caseload. I use Bluebee Pal Leo the Lion in nearly all of my therapy sessions. Leo the Lion, while paired to my iPad as I use absolutely any text-to-speech or communication app, provides spoken instructions to my students.
The kiddos sometimes ignore me, a human (I think), but I haven’t yet noticed anyone ignoring Bluebee Pal Leo, who is a cute robotic stuffed animal kind of thing, who moves his mouth as he talks or sings. I can’t compete with Leo. When he runs out of power (which takes days of use to happen), and I put him on the shelf, my kiddos look up at him, point, and request him! He is a powerful motivator for a number of my students who in the past resisted demands to try to pronounce difficult words but now readily imitate Leo. They sing along with him (e.g., Spotify app), and he tells them stories (e.g., MyOn app). https://www.bluebeepals.com
Their increased engagement has resulted in measurable therapeutic gains, whether quality of speech production, range of vocabulary on a speech device (e.g., Proloquo2Go app; LAMP Words for Life app; TouchChat app), combining words, or adding new communicative functions. Students who previously requested only, learned from Leo to direct a peer to take turns or perform actions in a game (e.g., open). As a bilingual provider, I toggle languages on my personal communication apps to change the language when needed. So, Leo speaks Spanish (or any other language) that my apps support.https://aacapps.com
I recommend Bluebee Pals for your kiddos. – Joseph Kurtz, Bilingual Speech Language Pathologist, MS, CCC-SLP, PC
Bilingual Speech Pathologist, Spanish Extension
PROMPT Certified MS, CCC-SLP, TSSLD-BE, PC
P. 53K at P384 242 Cooper Street, Brooklyn NY 11207
The University of Central Florida’s PedsAcademy at Nemours Children’s Hospital is the world’s first pediatric school program designed to provide children in hospitals with extraordinary, research-backed educational opportunities specific to their respective disease or condition. The team of UCF affiliated faculty is on site Monday through Friday from 10-5 to help your child succeed in school. Their faculty are experts in the fields of mathematics, science, reading, engineering education, the humanities, and special education. https://pedsacademy.org/about-variant-1/
Bluebee Pals Collaboration and PedsAcademy
Bluebee Pals were donated to the PedsAcademy to assist early childhood educators in literacy and reading. The hospital setting created a challenging situation considering the strict sanitary protocols ingrained in most hospital policies. Rebeca A. Grysko(Associate Director of Teacher Education) created the idea to dress the Bluebee Pals in costumes, specifically, astronauts themed outfits that would cover the Bluebee Pal head to toe. The customers were approved and Bluebee Pals were introduced on reading aloud day!..http://BluebeePals.com
“Yesterday’s event was a great success! We were able to introduce Bluebee to patients and families. We used Bluebee to read-aloud books to patients using a children’s digital book application called Epic. I have attached a few photos as well as a video. We had a few parents inquire about Bluebee. I was able to speak about the many educational uses of Bluebee and direct them to the Bluebee Pals website for additional info. I also posted about the event on Twitter and tagged @BluebeePals in all posts.” Rebeca A. Grysko, Associate Director of Education
Rebeca A. Grysko, Ph.D.
“In addition to yesterday’s event, I have conducted professional development sessions for our student-teacher interns. I modeled how to connect Bluebee to a device via Bluetooth and demonstrated how Bluebee can be used with a variety of educational apps. The student teacher interns have been exploring different ways to utilize Bluebee in their instruction. They were all asked to complete the Bluebee Pals Project Questionnaire to provide feedback and information about their experiences. We are currently working on scanning all the questionnaires into one PDF document to send to you. We look forward to continuing to use Bluebee pals with patients here at PedsAcademy.”
We greatly value the collaboration with Bluebee Pals and see a lot of potential for using them to foster reading motivation and engagement with the patients here at Nemours.
Rebeca A. Grysko, Ph.D.
Associate Director of Teacher Education; Post-Doctoral Scholar
Frances Amato Dominguez, David Marquis School of the Arts: Bluebee Pals Pro
“Functional educational toys for young children are not something common to find. Many items available these days have gimmicks and look to create a cycle where you have to keep purchasing more and more kits for the products to be fully functional. As a mother and a teacher, I look at educational toys in a different light. One of the best toys that I have seen as of late has been Bluebee Pals Pro. Many years ago when I was a special education classroom teacher, I had purchased their original Bluebee pals and used it to have stories read to my class and to practice vocabulary. After using the Pro version, I was in awe. I cannot believe everything that it can now do. There is a free app that pairs with your new plush friend that has all different educational opportunities split into different rooms of a house. The app is well though out and easy to navigate. My students were able to follow along and complete activities with very little prompting and information.”
Attributes of Bluebee in the Classroom
“My favorite part of the new updates Bluebee Pals Pro is the functionality with Speech and Language apps. I work in a population where many of my students are non-verbal and use a device to facilitate communication. This can pair with the apps and speak for the child. Not only that but I have seen my students engage with their new toy and trying so hard to talk and interact with it. Computer generated voices are not the best outputs or appropriate models for my students to follow. I have found that when my bear talks to them in a more human voice than naturally produced by the app, there is a huge change in the child.”
“Bluebee Pals provide a way to learn functional life skills and the support of cognitive development of early learners. Children can fully immerse themselves into a connected experience through nine educational games. In addition to speech and language apps, Bluebee Pals pair with many apps and narrate them to the child. This is perfect for mainstream and special needs children. My work is targeted to special needs children and they love it. From a simple cuddle buddy to a talking companion it provides the right resources for children to learn.”
Literacy and Bluebee Pals
“I am a STEM Teacher at The David Marquis School of the Arts; Bluebee Pals are instrumental at helping my students learn our fringe vocabulary words. It pronounces the words for them and they get a chance to then hear them, repeat what they are hearing and them complete our spelling and writing activities. This month we are learning words like food chain, relationships, patterns, predator and prey. These are not words typical to my student’s lives. With the help of Bluebee Pals my students are starting to say and pronounce the words correctly. It is such an amazing visual model. Many of my students are visual learners so it is the perfect classroom tool.” http://The David Marquis School of the Arts”
“There are also many options to choose from so you can find the perfect friend for your child’s educational journey. Your lineup of available friends are Hudson the puppy; Parker the Monkey; Lily the Lamb; Sammy the Bear; Leo the Lion and Riley the Zebra. I personally have both Sammy and Riley and they are too cute for words.” https://www.bluebeepals.com
“In this educator’s opinion, Bluebee Pals are the perfect educational companion for any child. I have the privilege of sharing it with my students and colleagues and will continue to use it in my classroom.”
Mrs. Frances Amato Dominguez STEM Teacher, Technology Liaison, Website Master Public School 37R The David Marquis School of the Arts 15 Fairfield Street Staten Island, New York 10308
“Technology will never replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of great teachers is transformational.” – George Couros
Mindfulness is an essential skill for kids to be successful learners. But what exactly is mindfulness and why is there such a fuss in teaching mindfulness to young children? Mindfulness is simply paying attention to the present moment and allowing all thoughts and feelings to occur without necessarily taking action. This ability to stop helps to reset and reorganize the body’s systems and is tied in with the ability to self-regulate and self-calm. The present overstimulating and rushed pacing of today’s world lends itself to disorganization. Disorganized kids usually have difficulty with attention, managing needed tools, and completing tasks. Calm kids can focus on the task at hand, see their options, and make better choices.
Kids don’t always need to sit or be still to practice mindfulness. Yoga or other rhythmic movements (rocking or swinging) done in coordination with the breath can also be practiced. These children are holding Bluebee Pals practicing relaxation with Bluebee Pals.
Apps for Lessons in Mindfulness with Bluebee!
One of the best introductions to mindfulness training for young children is Stop Breathe Think with Sesame Street. Although the app does not support Bluetooth technology and cannot be played through a Bluebee Pal, by having a child hold Bluebee while playing they will receive valuable body input in learning to calm. By hugging Bluebee children will not only benefit from emotional support but also receive nice deep pressure hugs that will help a child focus and calm when viewing the app. The app contains 5 vignettes that are stressful to young children and the stories are all told with vocabulary that is familiar to a young child. In the app, children help a little monster apply strategies to cope with everyday struggles. It’s very reinforcing to help the little monster and it facilitates the desire to try the techniques within Stop, Breathe, Think.
Super Stretch Yoga is a classic app for teaching mindfulness of body. Using storytelling and video, kids learn to imitate motor acts that coordinate with the breath to quiet and focus. In the Adventures of Super Stretch, the emphasis is on trying and being in the present moment and not on perfection. This is a subtle but wonderful message for kids to begin to understand. The app contains 12 poses that are modeled through both animation and viewing real kids doing the poses. The app is free and there are tangible additions such as flashcards and books that can be purchased through the website: www.adventuresofsuperstretch.com. Try having your child teach Bluebee the Poses for some extra fun.
For a more traditional app for meditation, check out Mindfulness for Children. It contains 5 guided meditations and 4 meditations that serve as stories in helping kids to relax in order to go to sleep. Most of the meditations include a body scanning component that serves as a ground or central point of focus. This helps kids stay centered so as to increase awareness of both body and mind. In addition, With this app, Bluebee can act as a facilitator for mindfulness and the screen can be put aside. With Bluebee whispering in your child’s ear, what better way to let go of the day’s struggles and challenges.
It is a subscription based service that has excellent resources for adults and children. There is both music and sleep stories that help tuck little ones in for a nap or at bedtime. Bluebee can lead the way for finding a state of calm for kids and parents.Calm radio is a free standing extension of the calm app with its own subscription service.
What a great therapy tool! What I love best about our bluebee pal is how diverse it is. We use it in so many ways! We have older kids use it as a projection of their voice to greet the younger kids; increasing peer to peer interaction is such a great foundational communication skill for our kids to learn. Also, the kids are more motivated to pick a song when the bluebee pal is singing it. We are currently using it in our joint action routines (JARs) to teach a variety of communication skills to children with autism.
Therapists utilize Bluebee as a effective speech therapy motivational tool to engage in communication and learning. Bluebee participates in repeating words, answering questions and reading stories. There are variety of popular speech apps from basic to apps to AAC apps for non verbal children. What are the main apps paired with Bluebee Pals? Text to Speech Apps with reading activities, Proloquo2Go is an AAC app to enhance communication, Autism ihelps Apps teaches vocabulary, Super Duper Publications for speech, Smarty Ears for speech and Splingo for speech and language acquisition. Gregory Horan, M.S., SLP Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist.
It’s the season for holiday gifting! It can be especially difficult to select quality gifts for young children, and even more difficult to find gifts with excellent educational value that also have that “fun” factor! Look no further…Bluebee Pals are the perfect gift choice for children! They are uniquely suited to engage the interest of little learners, they easily support reading and educational activities, and they make charming friends! Bluebee Pals make stories come to life, encourage listening, speaking, language development, good social skills, and more! They work with any tablet or smartphone, to deliver not only hours, but also years of enjoyment. If the child on your list is also receiving a tablet for the holidays, or already has access to a tablet, a Bluebee Pal gift would be a perfect match!
Bluebee Pals Make Perfect Reading and Learning Companions!
Bluebee Pals are softly huggable, lovable, plush interactive learning tools/toys that connect via Bluetooth to all iOS and Android devices. They wirelessly pair with all apps with a narrative, which provides endless educational opportunities and entertainment for children of all ability levels. Bluebee’s mouth and head realistically move while speaking, making reading, educational apps, games, and activities so much fun! Which Bluebee Pal will you choose? Hudson the dog, Riley the zebra, Leo the Lion, Lily the lamb, Sammy the bear, or Parker the monkey? https://www.bluebeepals.com/
Bluebee is compatible with ALL apps with a narrative.
Bluebee inspires learning with educational apps.
Bluebee makes storybook apps come to life!
Bluebee is compatible with text-to-speech apps
Bluebee teaches language and AAC (alternative augmentative communication).
Bluebee sings with your favorite music apps.
Bluebee acts as an educational tool with voice recording apps.
With Bluebee, children become immediately more engaged and attentive, and eagerly look forward to focused learning opportunities!
Bluebee comes with a FREE companion app!
The Bluebee Pals app is a fun and easy way to begin learning through play.
In the Bluebee Pals app there are 5 colorful and interactive rooms to explore with your child: Bedroom, Bathroom, Kitchen, Living roomand Playroom. By talking about, asking questions, playing mini-games and encouraging free play, you can focus on and reinforce many early learning, educational, and life skills. https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-pals-app/
Additional Suggested Apps:
Reading: Epic! – Kids’ Books and Videos by Epic! Creations Inc
Voice Recording: Voice Memos by Apple. Quickly and easily record vocabulary words to practice spelling, play matching games by matching words to pictures, use the recorder to have Bluebee give instructions or ask questions, or use the recorder to sequence or retell a story.
Interact in real time with your Bluebee Pal by typing in text for your Bluebee to speak! Ask and answer questions, make up your own stories or type in the text of books for your Bluebee Pal to read. Have Bluebee help practice vocabulary by typing in words or definitions, questions, or even tests for him to say aloud.
NEW 4.0 Bluebee Pal Pro is an interactive plush learning tool with a FREE companion (life skills /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.
It’s an assistive Technology Tool for all mainstream children and special needs.
The Bluebee Pal Program includes: • Interactive Plush Learning Tool (Animal of Choice) • Bluebee Pal Curriculum • Bluebee App • Bluebee Pal Book • Bluebee Pal Activity Guide
Academics’ Choice is the only international awards company designed to bring increased recognition to publishers, manufacturers, independent authors and developers that aim to stimulate cognitive development. A panel of highly qualified academics, parents, teachers, homeschoolers and children evaluate products based on educational benefits such as higher-order thinking skills, character building, creative play, durability and originality. Only the genuine “mind-builders” are recognized with the coveted Academics’ Choice Award™. Awards: Smart Media Award, Brain Toy Award, Smart Book Award, Mind Spring Award…..http://www.academicschoice.com/toys/bluebee-pal-pro.php
We loved the “huggable” technology concept and so did our daughter. Setup is very easy. It’s essentially a bluetooth speaker wrapped in a cuddly animal that will lip-sync whatever you want. It will read aloud anything, from anywhere, not just their apps. It can even act as a speaker phone, which was a neat feature when dad was out of town. We limit our child’s screen time and this toy helps bridge the gap so your child doesn’t have to be glued to a screen to get the benefits of a story, a riddle, or a lesson. It’s hard for a “teddy bear” (or lamb) to compete with animated graphics after a while so I’d recommend simply not letting your child control whatever synced device you’re using, at least at first. We’re currently using Lilly the Lamb to teach our child basic Spanish words. I also use it when I don’t want to read the same story again. Put the physical story book in their hands and have them follow along to develop word-sound recognition, phonemic awareness, and practice their sight words. It’s a helpful, engaging, and open-ended teaching toy/platform that makes for a better distraction than simply handing your child a tablet.
We opened the box to find Lilly, a very soft sheep doll. The sheep is well made with high quality materials and a pretty good speaker. The mechanics in the animal made the stories come to life. Lilly moves her head and mouth and sometimes it really looks like she is talking! After playing part of a story we decided to download the educational app. Bluebee app was on par for other preschool level apps. It had opportunities to record our voice, read, letter/color identification and solve puzzles via mini games that incorporated skills such matching, eye-hand coordination, and basic observation/analysis. We really enjoyed our time with Lilly and still have her tell her stories and sing funny songs for us. We liked that we could play any podcast or story and Lilly would tell it! I’d recommend this toy for preschool-second grade.
Voice recording and playback kept my child busy and entertained for over an hour. He especially enjoyed the moving mouth during playback. The material of the toy was very soft yet easy to spot clean.
Bluebee pals offer a wonderful opportunity for students to be engaged during a lesson. Children in my class really loved watching the lion talk as well as listen to a story or sing a song. Children were less visually distracted because they were watching the lion! Set up was so easy and I could turn on any app for the lion to talk out. My first graders loved to hear him sound out words on different apps.
This Assistive Technology Tool provides a great opportunity for both fun and learning! It’s engaging for young students of all learning types. The Bluebee Pals can enhance learning in a variety riveting ways. Any song, app, or story (in any language) can be read by one of the plush characters. The cuddly animals are relateable to kids, which makes the teaching become more meaningful as kids view the Pals as their peer more than an adult. The depth of understanding and retention increases as a result. The creative play and serious learning possiblities are endless.
My name is Sarah Winzer and I am the librarian from New Jersey who attended a demonstration of Bluebee Pals this past June 2019 at the ISTE EducationalShow. I am so very grateful for your offer to send our library Bluebee Pals! You are making 200 K-1 students very happy and we can’t wait to share a wonderful testimonial with you about how amazing this product is! Our school is Cedar Mountain Primary School and our address is Vernon, NJ 07462. Thank you again for the amazing gesture without which we wouldn’t be able to have this amazing product.
The Bluebee Pal Project
Kayle Concepts donates Bluebee Pals to schools and organizations across the country for use in their classrooms and therapy sessions. Teachers, parent’s and therapists are experiencing the impact of using Bluebee Pals as educational tools. Feedback from hundreds of special needs educators said our “talking tech buddies” encourage communication, language use, attentiveness, sensory processing, and positive behaviors.
Our students are in love with Leo , our Bluebee Pal! They are engaged and actively listening to Leo read the story which in turn has improved their listening comprehension skills! They are constantly wanting to be the group that gets to read with Leo. I love the positive effect he has had on our students and in the Media Center.
Bluebee TeeVee, Autism Information Station a seven webisode series where kids learn all about autism—in a friendly, clinically correct and respectful manner with humor and pop culture references thrown in for fun. An innovative series that helps children see past differences, learn acceptance and understanding, and discover that we’re all pretty much the same at heart. https://www.bluebeepals.com/about-us/
The show’s host, James Sullivan is also the script writer, filmmaker, and editor. Jonathan Murphy performs the character voices for the Bluebee Pal co-hosts. Both of these talented young men are on the autism spectrum.
Each 5 minute episode features James Sullivan, having a friendly chat with a Bluebee Pal−Sammy the bear, Leo the lion, Lily the lamb, Winston the dog, or Riley the zebra−to help children have a deeper understanding and connection to those with autism. We believe that Bluebee TeeVee is a great way to captivate kids’ attention and learn that−autism or not−they’re not so different from one another.
Samples of BluebeeTeeVee Webisodes
What is autism anyway? In Episode 1 of Bluebee TeeVee, host James Sullivan and his Bluebee Pal, Leo, have a chat about what autism is and what it means to be someone on the autism spectrum. “It’s a world of abilities…and possibilities,” says Leo…and we couldn’t agree more!What are people with autism like?
In Episode 2 of Bluebee TeeVee, host James Sullivan tells his Bluebee Pal, Lily, “We’re just like everyone else in so many ways but there are some interesting differences.” Lily learns a whole new view and understanding of people with autism. She thinks “they’re awesome!” Yep, she’s got that rightLet’s talk!
In Episode 3 of Bluebee TeeVee, host James Sullivan talks to his Bluebee Pal, Riley, about about the many ways autistic people communicate. You see some people with autism can’t speak but they can still be heard and understood using picture boards or communication tools, like apps on tablets. The fancy word for this type of talking is augmentative and alternative communication or AAC for short. “Far out!” says Riley, and she’s even more surprised when she finds out that she’s a communication tool too!
Technology and media are educational tools that are effective only when used appropriately. A joint statement issued by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College indicates that technology and interactive media are here to stay. “Young children live in a world of interactive media. They are growing up at ease with digital devices that are rapidly becoming the tools of the culture at home, at school, at work, and in the community. When used wisely, technology and media can support learning and relationships. Enjoyable and engaging shared experiences that optimize the potential for children’s learning and development can support children’s relationships both with adults and their peers. There has never been a more important time to apply principles of development and learning when considering the use of cutting-edge technologies and new media. When the integration of technology and interactive media in early childhood programs is built upon solid developmental foundations, and early childhood professionals are aware of both the challenges and the opportunities, educators are positioned to improve program quality by intentionally leveraging the potential of technology and media for the benefit of every child”.
What Does Effective Use of Early Childhood Technology Look Like?
It has a point and is intentional. Early childhood educators should be informed and selective when choosing technology to be implemented within their program, taking into consideration child development and effective practices. As educators strive to be intentional with technology implementation, the question needs to be asked, “Can the learning goals be achieved more easily using traditional classroom materials or does use of a particular technology extend learning and development in ways not possible otherwise?”
It is interactive, engaging, and empowering. Technology implementation in early childhood doesn’t mean plopping kids down in front of a computer to zone out for long periods of time. In fact, early childhood educators should avoid passive non-interactive technology. Instead, by putting interactive and engaging technology in the hands of children and their educators, we are empowering them and giving them exciting new opportunities to learn from the world around them.
It is a piece of the complete overall learning experience. Developmentally appropriate technology should be only a piece of the overall learning experience and should not replace excellent traditional activities. Children use their senses to learn about the world around them, and they learn in a multitude of styles. Interactive and engaging technology can reach kinesthetic, auditory and visual learners simultaneously and can enrich the overall learning experience.
Educational technology tools that can engage little learners in a BIG way:
Bluebee PalPro4.0 is an interactive plush learning tool with a FREE companion (life skills /educational) app that connects to all iOS and Android Devices and pairs with all apps with a narrative. The patented technology allows Bluebee’s “mouth and head” to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, communicating through speech/AAC apps, learning a language and singing songs. 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 their app, Bluebee Pals pair with all apps with a narrative providing endless entertainment and education for all mainstream and special needs children.
Bluebee is compatible with all apps with a narrative.
Bluebee inspires learning with educational apps.
Bluebee reads any storybook apps.
Bluebee teaches with language and AAC (alternative augmentative communication).
Bluebee sings with your favorite music apps.
Bluebee acts as an educational tool with voice recording apps.
Learning Resources Programmable Mouse STEM Activity Set brings the “hour of code” to life with this amazing programmable robot. Guide the mouse through a fully customizable maze with step by step programming. Connect the maze tiles to build an activity board. Ages 4+.
This coding set for kids turns coding into a hands-on analog activity for tactile and visual learners
As kids learn to program they build key skills that include critical thinking, problem solving, sequencing, and programming fundamentals.
Colby the Mouse lights-up, makes sounds, and features 2 speeds along with colorful buttons to match coding activity cards for easy programming and sequencing.
This coding set includes 16 maze grids, 22 maze walls, 3 tunnels, 30 double-sided coding cards, 10 double-sided activity cards, cheese wedge, and activity guide to provide a hands-on introduction to coding concepts.
A great hands-on tool to keep young children actively engaged in learning about coding.
Square Panda Phonics Multisensory Sight, Touch, and Sound Playset for Kids Learning to Read:
The Square Panda playset helps children ages 2-8 learn to read through fun games grounded in research and uses a multisensory approach, combining sight, touch and sound in each play experience.
The system includes a playset, which doubles as a storage tray, 45 smart letters and access to a library of 11 free learning games. The playset works in tandem with your own tablet.
Square Panda provides access to a customizable database that stores children’s words, pictures, milestones and learning progress.
Learning games are available free to download on the App Store and Google Play Store and include Letter Lab, Square Land, Bowling, Jiggity Jamble, Bubbles, Space Cows, Fishing, Letter Lullaby, Farming, Lagoon, and Monster Rhymes.
Targeted concepts include learning the alphabet, learning letter sounds, phonics, spelling, vocabulary, word construction, reading fluency, rhyming words, word families, and more.
Osmois a unique educational gaming accessory that opens up your tablet to the infinite possibilities of physical play. Osmo’s advanced reflective technology bridges the real and digital realms. Osmo’s games are geared toward embodied learning, meaning the games teach abstract concepts by connecting them to objects and actions in the physical world.
Osmo offers games and apps for a wide range of academic subjects, including:
Coding (Coding Awbie, Coding Jam, Coding Duo)
Math (Numbers, Pizza Co.)
Drawing (Monster, Super Studio, Masterpiece)
Fundamentals of Physics (Newton)
Spatial relational skills (Tangram)
World geography (Detective Agency)
Pre-reading, storytelling, fine motor (Little Genius Starter Kit)
In addition to teaching traditional subject matter, Osmo games foster social-emotional skills like problem-solving, creativity and perseverance.
Osmo games are designed for ages 3–12, according to game.
Wonder Workshop provides a fun way for children to learn fundamental coding skills through robotics with a family of award-winning robots and age-appropriate apps, which encourage hands-on play and learning to develop creativity, problem-solving skills and imagination. Their tailored activities promote STEM learning with personable robots (Dash, Dot, and Cue), accessories, and free software for your mobile devices designed specifically for kids ages 6+. There is a growing library of in-app puzzles, standards-based lesson plans, and annual robotics challenges. They offer professional learning opportunities that encourage a meaningful shift towards establishing a foundation for 21st-century learning.
Learning Resources Programmable Mouse STEM Activity Set brings the “hour of code” to life with this amazing programmable robot. Guide the mouse through a fully customizable maze with step by step programming. Connect the maze tiles to build an activity board. Ages 4+.
This coding set for kids turns coding into a hands-on analog activity for tactile and visual learners
As kids learn to program they build key skills that include critical thinking, problem solving, sequencing, and programming fundamentals.
Colby the Mouse lights-up, makes sounds, and features 2 speeds along with colorful buttons to match coding activity cards for easy programming and sequencing.
This coding set includes 16 maze grids, 22 maze walls, 3 tunnels, 30 double-sided coding cards, 10 double-sided activity cards, cheese wedge, and activity guide to provide a hands-on introduction to coding concepts.
A great hands-on tool to keep young children actively engaged in learning about coding.
Do you want to expand your child’s language? Help them learn vocabulary? Reading aloud is one of the best ways to meet these goals! Let Bluebee Pal read to your child with these recommended apps below! To learn more about the link between language development and reading, click on this article here.
Recommended Reading and Literacy Apps
One More Story
One More Story is an app that I have used with students for years in order to help improve cause and effect, vocabulary, literacy and auditory comprehension. With this subscription based app, you can access over 76 books including Pete’s a Pizza, Bear books (Barefoot Books), Mouse Paint and much more. With each book, the story is read to the individual with a voice that varies in intonation and matches the mood of the story. The story is also accompanied by background music that helps to keeps the student’s focus. To read more about this app and how to use it Bluebee Pal, click here.
Clicker Books is a book making app that helps supports students with varying abilities. The app includes speech support which helps students to review and self monitor what they have written within the Clicker Book app. You have the option of creating your own book, using a sample book or editing your own book. Within each sample story, you have the option to “read”, “talk”, “write” or “illustrate”. Clicker’s “SoundShift” button allows students to listen to any word on the page, or in the word predictor, or spell checker. Inside the Clicker Books App, there is also word predictor that helps suggest words that fit within the context of the student’s writing (for example, if you type “drink” words related to beverages would be proposed). To learn more about this app, click here.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
It doesn’t have to be the holiday time to read this classic book! How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss’s books are timeless and this app tells the story of the Grinch with animated voices and interactive features. It comes with a voice-over narration, so the child can either read it themselves, listen to the book with the voice that comes with the app or records the voice. The app comes with the following features: Tap and drag to find playful surprises throughout the book, find hidden stars on every page to reveal fun activities, explore new vocabulary by tapping words and pictures and track the time spent reading that is available in the Parents section. This last feature is ideal for reading logs which teachers require you to time how long your child needs to read for each night. The activities included in the app are mini-games such as Memory Match, puzzles, word searches, and a sequencing game. There are also 28 hidden games in the app itself. To read more about this app,
Nick Jr. Books app is a collection of digital books featuring stories from the most popular Nick Jr friends, including PAW Patrol, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Bubble Guppies, Dora the Explorer, Dora and Friends, SpongeBob SquarePants, Team Umizoomi, Wallykazam, and Blues Clues. Within each ebook, there are 3 reading modes including auto-read, read-aloud and read myself. Interactive effects and character animations are included on every page. This app includes parent tips and reading comprehension questions that help children expand on vocabulary. The app is free to download, and comes with 3 free books: Blaze: Blaze of Glory, PAW Patrol: Pup, Pup, and Away, and Team Umizoomi – Carnival. With an in-app purchase, you can buy 49 additional books. Other features include a parents section for account management and app settings, daytime, and nighttime modes, interactive elements on every page, reinforcement for reading each book, developing Spanish reading skills with 4 Dora books in Spanish and offline reading. To learn more about this app, click here.
A Day in the Market
A Day in the Market (Araw sa Palengke) is about a little girl’s very first trip to the market with her mother. The market is an exciting cultural adventure as she meets lively vendors, see a variety of foods and items and finds a special item that she wants! To find out what this special thing is, you can download this app for free and read the storybook. For an additional $2.99, you get access to the book in two other languages, a sorting game and interactive scenes that bring the book to life. To learn more about this app, click here.
The StoryBots App is an educational and lively app that includes over 250 educational books, videos, and games. This free app includes characters from the hit Netflix original series, “Ask the StoryBots” and “StoryBots Super Songs and also has the ability to add your own photos such as Bluebee Pal’s picture to make the stories and videos personalized. This app is used in more than 20,000 classrooms around the world and can help get your child engaged in literacy, math, and history activities. To learn more, click here.
Record your own story for your child to hear read aloud! Imagistory is an inventive and creative app that brings wordless books to life. After recording the book, attach your Bluebee Pal for a fun and inventive way of storytelling. Imagistory is created for children ages 3 and up and gives children the opportunity to be creative with their storytelling and narrative skills. The stories that are created by the app can be recorded and saved so you can listen to them again later and share them family members, the staff at a school, etc. To check out this app review, click here.
Go Away Big Green Monster App
There has not been a child that I have met that doesn’t love the book, Big Green Monster. Go Away Big Green Monster is an interactive and engaging book about A Big Green Monster. Reading this book can help a child learn body parts, numbers, attributes, colors and additional basic concepts. It can also facilitate the concept of commenting and improving of descriptive language. This interactive app builds upon the book experience by slowly revealing each part of the Big Green Monster. This is done with animation, sound and visual effects. With this app, you can either “Read myself”, “Read along with Ed Emberley (the author of the book), “Read along with a friend” or “Sing Along”. This choice of either choosing an adult or a child to read the story is unique and clever. Each page introduces a new body part which the reader adds on in each page. By the end of the story, don’t get scared though! Each body part goes away till the Monster is disappears! To read more about this app, click here.
Create a social story with Pictello and make Bluebee Pal the reader of the story! Pictello is a versatile app that can be used to create stories with using photos, short video clips and text. This app has the ability to use both synthesized and digitized speech. The app also gives you the ability to share easily with others is user friendly to set up. Pictello also has the option to use many different language and accents which can be an excellent feature for many individuals. To learn more about Pictello, click here.
Crepes with Suzette App
Crepes with Suzette is a beautifully fun and engaging story book that has recently been back on bookshelves and available for purchase! I have always loved this book because it’s interesting illustrations and embedded language. Each time I read this book, my children want crepes after! Crepes with Suzette become alive with the Crepes with Suzette app! With this app, you can read the book, check out different landmarks of Paris within each page or on a map, watch videos of crepe making, and learn how to speak key words in French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Italian. Each page in the book has one key word that is translated into these six different languages when you navigate to the “vocabulary page”. My children and I had a lot of fun with this app and they learned a ton of new words in different languages! To learn more about this app, click here.
The Holidays are a great time to foster reading, comprehension, problem solving, social-emotional and language skills! It’s even more fun and engaging when you play with Bluebee Pal friends! Here are a few holiday books and activities to check out.
The Turkey Who Forgot How To Gobble-Joey the Turkey is sad. He has forgotten how to gobble and needs help from his friends. Kids will gobble up this funny story about Joey’s barnyard friends: Ruby the Rooster, Patrick the Dog, Minnie-moo the Cow, Wiskers the Cat and Gillie the Turkey and their hilarious ways they try to teach Joey how to gobble. This read along interactive storybook is a great way to teach children the value of friendship and how friends will be there when you need them. A fun and entertaining way to practice animal sounds with kids.
Turkey Trouble: Turkey is in trouble. Bad trouble. The kind of trouble where it’s almost Thanksgiving . . . and you’re the main course. But Turkey has an idea–what if he doesn’t look like a turkey? What if he looks like another animal instead? After many hilarious attempts, Turkey comes up with the perfect disguise to make this Thanksgiving the best ever! Great for problem-solving!
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: Join Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang for a very unique Thanksgiving dinner. Kick the football with Charlie Brown, prepare the meal with Master Chef Snoopy, and set the table with Woodstock as the gang discovers the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
Just So Thankful Little Critter:Little Critter learns what to be thankful for in this delightful interactive book app. There’s a new kid in town who has everything Little Critter wants… but he soon realizes he has something money can’t buy-a family who loves and adores him. Personalize the story with your own narration.
Reading Train Christmas Books, Songs & Games: Listen, read and record 10 fun Christmas books at 3 easy reading levels…30 books in all. Sing along with 5 Christmas songbooks and 18 more favorite children’s songs. Beautiful storybooks and games to support foundational reading.
The Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida is an accredited and award-winning not-for-profit association founded in 1991 by parents of children with Down syndrome. It has grown from a few families to over 1,200 individuals with DS and their families. They serve families in an area of over 10 counties with help from more than 17,000 friends, professionals, volunteers and other supporters. Governed by a volunteer board of directors, more than 50% of the board members have family members with Down syndrome.
Bluebee Pals and The Down Syndrome Association
Bluebee Pals have arrived at DSACF! These huggable plush learning companions can be combined with a wide range of online digital content that provides children with a great source of entertainment while assisting in education and helping to develop communication skills. These “talking tech buddies” encourage communication, language use, attentiveness, sensory processing, and positive behaviors. They add just the right touch of warmth and humanity to motivate children. The Bluebee Pals are located in the DSACF Lending Library for FREE for our members at the Success Center.
What exactly does it mean to be mindful? Mindfulness is simply paying attention to the present moment and allowing all thoughts and feelings to occur without necessarily taking action. “Stop Breathe Think with Sesame Street”, “Super Stretch Yoga”, and “Mindfulness for Children” are a few apps that Bluebee loves for beginning lessons in mindfulness. Children do not always need to sit or be still to practice mindfulness! They can practice relaxation by holding Bluebee Pals.
Life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. Bluebee Pals can easily be incorporated to build essential life skills. The Bluebee Pals can be paired with story books and educational apps, which makes the learning process fun and more meaningful. The most important life skills to learn are focus and self-control, perspective taking, communication, making connections, critical thinking, taking on challenges, and self-directed, engaged learning
Speech Therapy with Bluebee
“Sabi has been using Bluebee for 2 weeks now, when she first saw him (Monkey) she was very surprised and excited and immediately felt in love with of him. We introduced Monkey first with her favorites songs since she love to sing and dance, now we work with Monkey on her Speech Therapy sessions, we use few apps to work different things like vocabulary for example, but especially to follow instructions, which is something that its very difficult for her, she has been very compliance and we have been able to work a little more than she usually allow us.” – Ory, Sabrina’s mom
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 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 teachers care about their students 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 can phone into a classrrom to read a few sentences from a story…Teachers can utilize a voice recording app to record a book and ask a sequence of questions…Often when recording a familiar tale, try leaving off a keyword and see if the 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/
Recomended Reading With 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 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 Mediahas 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
Epic is the world’s leading online children’s subscription book service offering immediate, on-demand access to over 35,000 high-quality illustrated books and chapter books for children ages 12 and under. … In a world of unlimited screen time, Epic! is a smart and safe alternative to generic games and videos.
The iMums wanted to share some of our Christmas and holiday themed app favorites with you. Below is a short summary of each of the apps along with links to our reviews as they have been completed. We hope that you will enjoy these apps as much as we have with our families. Many of these are ones we load onto our devices year after year to enjoy – and some stay on all year round! In our family, we pick a new holiday themed book to read every night – these are some of our digital favorites among The Mums. Try connecting these apps with a Bluebee Pal. Reading with our kids is one of the favorite things to do with our iKids.
Favorite Holiday Apps
The iMums Christmas apps #1 Charlie Brown Christmas by Loud Crow Interactive is a real taste of nostalgia – featuring both the pictures and audio from the classic Christmas movie, with the addition of narration by Peter Robbins, who was the original voice of Charlie Brown. You can switch the narration on or off and the text is highlighted as it is read. The original music from the movie plays in the background and a nice feature is that you can control the music volume independently of the narration. Version 2.0 of the app added the director’s cut as a free in-app purchase. I would recommend installing this before starting to use the app as it adds 4 scenes, 2 activities and an extra carol.
The iMums Christmas apps #2 The Bernstein Bears and The Nutcracker by OceanHouse Media has been released just in time for the holidays. In this story Brother, Sister, and Honey open their presents on Christmas morning. Among their presents is a Nutcracker Bear which Papa reminds them is from The Nutcracker ballet they saw on TV. At first, the cubs weren’t too interested in it, choosing instead to play with their new toys. It didn’t take very long for the cubs to get bored. With plenty of time before dinner, Papa suggests they entertain themselves by using their imagination. The cubs think this is a splendid idea and soon find themselves lost in the world of The Nutcracker.
Merry Christmas Mom and Dad- Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Little Critter attempts to make Christmas special for his Mom and Dad. He tries different things such as making cookies, picking out a Christmas tree, and wrapping presents, but each time the results are not quite what he was hoping for. Even though Little Critter messes up at everything he tries, you can’t help but fall in love with him. He is charming and funny as he explains what he did and what happened when he did it. My kid and I really enjoyed this story.
The iMums Christmas apps #4 Tacky’s Christmas by OceanHouse Media is a seasonal offering in the popular Tacky the Penguin series of books written by Helen Lester and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, and brought to the app store by Oceanhouse Media. The story tells the tale of Christmas in Nice Icy Land. The penguins are busy choosing and wrapping gifts. Sadly, in Nice Icy Land Santa doesn’t visit (you may need to explain to your children why Tacky is pretending to be Santa), so Tacky has volunteered to dress up as Santa. The friends are also busy making Christmas ornaments and singing carols when they realise there are no trees to hang their ornaments on. Tacky volunteers to help out by being both Santa and the tree (at the same time). As usual with Tacky, things don’t quite go to plan, but he ends up saving the day and everyone has a Happy Christmas. Tacky is an odd bird, but a nice bird to have around – especially at Christmas.
The iMums Christmas apps #5 Cookie Doodle by Shoe the Goose is a virtual cookie shop without the mess! Do you enjoy decorating cookies with your family? Cookie Doodle by Shoe the Goose is a universal app where children make a recipe, bake and then decorate a virtual cookie with none of the mess associated with baking at home. The app features 24 , over 200 cookie cutters, photo cookie dough, and 85 different toppings. You can practice recipes with tasks like naming the various objects in the recipe, sifting, rolling, mixing and using cookie cutters to shape the cookies. The recipes can be used in real life to make cookies and help your child practice naming items, measuring, sequencing and fine motor skills.
The iMums Christmas apps #6 Five Little Monkeys Christmas by Loeschware is a Christmas themed app featuring my favorite little Monkeys! The app features an an interactive counting game with a musical touch based upon the popular nursery rhyme. This app helps toddlers and preschoolers practice early literacy skills with word highlighting, repetition, addition and subtraction practicing early math skills and of course lots of fun. The app features three different musical scores including, “rock”, “country” and “pop”. This is perfect to work on counting, expressive and receptive language as well as a fun way to learn!
The Witch and the Christmas Spirit is by SlimCricket is a brand new app for iOS. The Witch is getting read for a Halloween adventure when her friend Peepo the Elf calls and says that a terrible illness has spread across the North Pole. He asks the Witch to come and help Save Christmas! Will they be able to? Enjoy this Free app with IAP that includes games, 3D pages and more! The Witch and the Christmas Spirit – SlimCricket
Playonwords LLC Announces Top 10 PAL (Play Advances Language) Award Picks 2019, Holiday Gift Guide: Top Toys, Games, Books and Media That Spark Fun and Encourage Language
Respected speech-language expert Sherry Artemenko announces her Top 10 PAL product lists by category representing the only industry recognition promoting language development through great play. Parents and educators alike value Sherry’s nearly four decades of experience and benefit daily from her popular blog, playonwords.com, consulting practice, media appearances and articles.
ELKHART LAKE, WIS. (PRWEB) OCTOBER 30, 2019
Regular interaction with children guides Playonwords founder, Sherry Artemenko, to a unique set of the best toys, games, books and media that have the chemistry to develop language while delivering great play. Today, Playonwords is announcing its annual “Top 10 PAL Picks for 2019” by age and product category. Our Top 10’s take the guesswork out of giving great holiday gifts. Parents and grandparents use our lists to shop for smart toys with lasting play value.
Winners are assessed and reviewed by Sherry with input from parents, kids and educators. Observing kid’s play in action, combined with her critical eye for language potential, Sherry awards products and writes insightful reviews offering practical tips on how to maximize the educational value in each winner catalogued on playonwords.com.
Language catalyzing PAL winning toys and games are powerful additions to a child’s tool box, since children learn through play, and language is integral to learning! Our 2019 Top 10’s include a number of great winners that inspire imagination and story-telling with engaging props, from Schleich’s “Adventure Treehouse” to Hape’s “Cook ’n Serve Kitchen” and VTech’s “Treasure Seekers Pirate Ship.” Promoting children’s literacy skills is a strong theme throughout this years’ winners, often combined with STEM skills as children build and learn letters and corresponding sounds with “LeapBuilders ABC Smart House” by LeapFrog and re-tell Jack and the Beanstalk while manipulating Geomagworld’s “Magicubes” and illustrated story clips. The toy industry continues to value new games to build EQ (emotional quotient including social language skills) with exciting tools like “Guess It. Get It. Gumballs” by Peaceable Kingdom, a MindWare Brand and picture sequenced stories in SPARK Jr. Sequencing Cards.
Sherry’s expertise has been tapped by NBC Connecticut TV, FOX TV News 6 Milwaukee, Parents Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, parents.com, parenting.com, ASHAsphere (official blog of the American Speech Language Hearing Association), and ASHA LEADER magazine.
For Sherry, great play is not just about fun, or language development, it’s about going deep in both. Her expertise has been built on science and more than 17,000 hours of client experience. Each set of Top 10’s represents a breadth of themes and genres, but they all have one thing in common – they are trusted lists of fun products that boost learning through play.
Jet Duck Family (Pirate, Mermaid, Firefighter) by Yookidoo
Latches & Doors Busy Board by VTech
Mighty Mini Band by Hape
Mix & Match-a-Saurus by VTech
My First Shaped Puzzles–Pet Friends by The Learning Journey
My Peek-a-Boo LapPup (Scout or Violet) by LeapFrog
Oribel VertiPlay Tree Top Adventure
Under Sea Figure 8 Railway by Hape
TOP 10 TOYS: PRESCHOOL
Adventure Treehouse by Schleich
Dinosaur Island by Bigjigs Toys Ltd
Hape Cook ‘n Serve Kitchen
Kinetic Sand Sandisfying Set by Spin Master
King George’s Castle by Bigjigs Toys Ltd
PAW Patrol Mighty Jet Command Center by Spin Master
Pop Up Shop by Hape
SMARTMAX My First Dinosaurs
Smart Sizzlin’ BBQ Grill by LeapFrog
Treasure Seekers Pirate Ship by VTech
TOP 10 GAMES: PRESCHOOL
Baa Baa Bubbles by Spin Master
Button, Button, Belly Button by Peaceable Kingdom – A MindWare Brand
Friends of a Feather by Ravensburger
Guess It, Get It, Gumballs by Peaceable Kingdom – A MindWare Brand
Heads Talk Tails Walk by Ravensburger
Lily Pond by SimplyFun
Mickey’s Snuggletime by Wonder Forge
Pick Me Up, Piggy! by Peaceable Kingdom – A MindWare Brand
Topper Takes a Trip by Peaceable Kingdom – A MindWare Brand
Wake Up Stars by SimplyFun
TOP 10 TOYS: SCHOOL AGE
Crayola Color Chemistry Arctic Lab
Dig it Up! Discoveries Dragons by MindWare
Folkmanis Robot Puppet
Folkmanis Snow Leopard Cub Puppet
Gravitrax Trampoline by Ravensburger
KEVA Cutouts by MindWare
LeapBuilders ABC Smart House by LeapFrog
LeapStart Go by LeapFrog
Long and Tall Puzzles-Big to Small Animals by The Learning Journey
Magicube Jack and the Beanstalk by Geomagworld
TOP 10 GAMES: SCHOOL AGE
Astro Trash by The Op | USAopoly
Eagle Chase by SimplyFun
Gotta Word by Cortex Toys
Hoyle Mixed Emojis
Match-O-Rama by The Op | USAopoly
Miniland Emoti Blocks
SMARTGAMES Brain Train
SPARK Cards by SPARK Innovations
SPARK Jr. Sequencing Cards by Spark Innovations
Stick Figure it Out by Cortex Toys
TOP 10 BOOKS AND MEDIA
Bluebee Pals Techie Rangers Book & Activity Guide by Kayle Concepts
Ditty Bird Musical Books by MEMA Enterprise PTY Ltd
Fern and Horn by Marie-Louise Gay
From Birth to First Words by Lynn Carson, Talking Together
Hoo Hoo Who? by Mary Maier with Lauren Horton
Language Together Set 2
New York Day & Night by Aurelie Pollet and Vincent Bergier
Portable North Pole by UGroupMedia
Summer Big Fun Workbooks by Highlights
That’s MY Cake! by Wonderbly
Each holiday season, millions are spent on kids’ toys, games and books. These PAL winners above are not only great fun but also encourage rich language development. Think “tastes like ice cream, fortifies like spinach,” optimizing your toy purchases to build language while maintaining all the fun. Now’s the time to be intentional about your child’s toy chest, game drawer, bookshelf and tablet!
ABOUT PLAYONWORDS, LLC Playonwords.com was founded by well-respected speech-language pathologist, Sherry Artemenko. Her 35 years championing language rich play, esteemed PAL Award, popular blog, and insightful tips to parents set her apart as the leading advocate for the language component in toys.
Over 17,000 hours working directly with children has shown her that a unique set of the best toys, games and books have the capability to develop language while delivering great play. Studies show:
Kids with highest IQs at three, had the most words at one and two
Language learning is cumulative – early words => early sentences => language & reading
Most kids maintain their verbal advantage through childhood
Creative pretend play that sparks story-telling can advance future literacy
Sherry established the PAL Award to identify unique toys, games and books that through their design, quality and character, encourage play that advances language. PAL winners in the hands of kids, spark fun and creative play with lots of talk. Such toys, recognized on the basis of her child development expertise, are complemented by practical coaching in her blog, showing parents and caregivers how to get the most from toys, games and books to build language and underlying cognitive skills.
This educational e-book is a perfect companion to be used with both the Bluebee Pal Pro and the Bluebee Pals app. The book also stands alone as a story about a young boy named Andy who gets lost and rescued by his Bluebee Pal friends. This story, which initially takes place in a school with children that have complex communication needs takes the reader on the adventure of a lifetime!
What happens when the Andy gets lost? He gets rescued by his friend and park ranger, Leo the Lion who takes him on an adventure through the forest, farm and back to school. During this quest, he meets all of the Bluebee Pals and learns about their superpowers in helping other children.
The main character in this engaging and educational picture book is a young child with complex communication needs that uses a communication device to express his communication needs. Through the use of his talker, he is able to communicate with all of his new Bluebee Pal friends. With his communication system, he is able to tell them how to get back to his Rainbow School, where his class and teacher are waiting.
Bluebee Pals Techie Rangers is not just a story about an adventure, it’s also an opportunity to discuss diverse learning styles as well communicating through augmentative and alternative communication. Children will learn more about their own Bluebee Pal and have an extra special connection with them after reading the story.
Educators, therapists and parents will find this book easy to implement with their child or student!
What does it include?
The ebook and paperback will include the following:
Repeated lines and vocabulary suggestions to make it easy for parents and educators to program vocabulary in their child’s talkers before reading the book.
A free teachers guide that aligns with the common core curriculum.
Free printable visuals to be used while reading the book as well as used for recall and comprehension.
Suggested communication and educational goals to target with the book.
Are you interested in a printed book?Goals such as increased communication, vocabulary expansion, sequencing, literacy expansion, answering “wh” questions, turn taking, and commenting are just a few goals to target when reading this book with your child or student. Stay tuned!