Time to Talk: 11 Apps to Support Children’s Language Skills
Summer School Vacation: Fostering Language Carryover with and without Apps
Summer school vacation is finally here. Many parents have a lot of plans set up for their kids, but make sure to save some time for pure relaxation with each other. That’s where our memories of childhood are built.
Hopefully some educational activities will be shared by teachers, libraries and service providers for the summer. I can share apps but rather than let your children play on the iPad to keep them occupied, I suggest using apps together with your child during relaxing child/parent time, similar to book reading. I always suggest that parents play with an app before introducing it to their child. Apps are flexible tools. They can be purely entertainment or can teach a skill. It’s all up to how they are originally taught. Remember, even an electronic game can be a vehicle for narratives, explanations, and defining vocabulary if the parents ask for this.
Apps to play together initially include:
- One Globe Kids (learn about kids in other countries) by Round by Design
- Balloonimals by IDEO LP
- Hopscotch (programming app) by Hopscotch Technologies
- Guess Who-Freemium by Clement Marty
- MarcoPolo Ocean by MarcoPolo Learning, Inc.
- Tellagami by Tellagami Labs Inc.
On the other hand, some apps should be explored alone by the child after parent review so the child has the experience of explaining something new to a parent. Very visual apps just naturally bring out descriptive language skills. If description is hard, I use a graphic organizer with key words like what, where, who, when, color, size, number, shape, perspective (background, foreground), etc. to guide the child’s descriptions.
Here are some visual apps:
- Epic Zen Garden by Epic Games, Inc.
- Simple Machines by Tinybop
- Petting Zoo by Christoph Niemann
- MoMA Art Lab by The Museum of Modern Art
- The Robot Factory by Tinybop
As always, the active things we do when we vacation are good for carryover of vocabulary and language skills. A Hilltown Families suggested event, a camp activity, or family trip are wonderful possibilities for reinforcing new language skills. If it’s hard for your child to remember, have them take photos so they can use them in sequence to explain without needing to remember.
And have a great summer vacation filled with wonderful new experiences!
[Photo credit: (cc) Toca Boca]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathy is a private practice speech-language pathologist living in Shelburne, MA and the author of our monthly speech and language column, Time to Talk. Living in Western Massachusetts since 1970, she raised two children here and has two grandsons, ages 15 and 8 years old. She has worked as an SLP with people of all ages for the last 14 years. She runs social thinking skill groups and often works with teens. As a professional artist, she has a unique and creative approach to her practice. She loves technology, neurology, gardening, orchids, and photography. She uses an iPad for therapies. She grows 500 orchids and moderates her own forum for orchid growers (Crazy Orchid Lady). Kathy is dedicated to the families of her private practice, and offers practical, creative ideas to parents. She blogs about communication at kathypuckett.com.