My PlayHome Lite: This app offers two pleasant scenes, a kitchen and a living room. Tap on the refrigerator or cupboards and the doors open to reveal food that can be removed and placed on the kitchen table or counters. Place a pan on the burners, food in the microwave or oven and turn them on with a tap. Cereal can be poured into a bowl and a drinking glass filled at the tap or with soda from a bottle taken from the refrigerator. Tap on the washing machine and watch the clothes clothes being washed. In the living room one can turn on the television and watch a real program (no sound) or place a CD in the CD player and listen to music. Tap on the wall clock and it ticks, close the curtains and the room darkens. Tap on the light switch or lamp to turn the lights on or off. There are five figures that can be placed in the rooms: mother, father, brother, sister and baby. This app can be used when working on following directions (open the refrigerator then fry the eggs), “wh” questions, location, prepositions, descriptive concepts and opposites such as on/off, up/down, light/dark, empty/full, hot/cold, top/middle/bottom, and in/out.
Cost: Free for the Lite app. The full version includes the kitchen, living room, backyard, bedroom and bathroom scenes for $3.99.
Zizu Cooks Up a Tune: This app is designed to be a music game. However, its colorful and happy kitchen scene and animation make this app easy to use for language therapy. Tap on the various kitchen items and hear the sounds they make. Touch the kitchen table planks, with the baguettes sitting on it, and hear the musical notes of a piano. I would use this app for following directions, location, descriptive concepts and following sound patterns.
Developer’s website: www.bubululabs.com
Lingua Kidz: The free version of this app offers a colorful forest scene. A boy, girl and various creatures populate the scene. This app offers two modes of play. Tap on the blue button and the narrator names the object or creature as it performs an action. Tap again and she offers a relevant short phrase. For instance, when the rain cloud is tapped, it moves in the sky as rain falls and the narrator states, “A cloud.” Tap again and she says, “Oh, it’s raining.” Tap on the green button and the narrator asks “Where is the ________?” When the child taps on the person, object or animal named stars fly out and it disappears. This app can be used to target location and descriptive concepts, sentence repetition, and “is verbing” structure. This app is offered in American and British English, Chinese, German and Swiss German.
Developer’s website: www.lingua-kidz.com
Cost: Free for the forest scene; the full version offers forest, beach and kitchen scenes for $.99.
Bruno the Monkey: This app has four games, two of which are videos and two that are still pictures. All games are narrated by a speaker with a British accept. Bouncing Ball and Skipping are videos that demonstrate and can be used to elicit Noun(s) + is/are + verbing. Bouncing Ball opens to Bruno and 3 different colored balls. He lifts each one and the narrator states, “Bruno is bouncing the ___________(color) ball.” When he lets the balls go, they bounce. When all the balls are bouncing, the narrator states, “All the balls are bouncing.” The video can be stopped at any time to elicit a repetition of the phrase from the child. Skipping works along the same lines demonstrating, “The green alligators are going to teach Bruno to skip” and “Bruno is skipping.” The video also demonstrates the superlative “faster.” The still games are call eBooks. Bruno’s Hats shows different hats that demonstrate the prepositions high, low, big, little, right side up, and upside down and various descriptive words such as fuzzy, bubble, thin, flat, thick, round, tall, plain, fancy and more. The fourth game, Flashcards, presents drawings of airplane, boat, clock, kite, and tractor. Nothing more to this game than hearing the item named or asking the child to name it.
iKids Lessons Lite: This apps consists of four games. Theater focuses on emotions, Playroom on opposites, Bedroom on shapes and colors, and Playground on actions. Each game consists of two scenes with some change in detail. The change in scenes is done by tapping on the rotating arrows at the top of the screen.The primary difference is the vocabulary content. Theater is a small theater with five children as actors and five children in the audience. Each actor depicts an emotion when tapped and the narrator names it: irritated, cheerful, and cunning on one scene; serious, surprised, frightened, evil, and joyful on the other. Tap on a member of the audience and the child performs an action named by the narrator. I felt the emotions and actions depicted were mediocre and words like “grooming,” “cunning,” “evil” and “irritated” too advanced for the type of app this is. There are five concepts presented in Playroom along with a number of toys. Tap on a toy and it is named; tap on a child and a concept is named with its opposites on the second scene. The concepts on one scene are: short, full, few, little, on, in and close; concepts on the other are: long, empty, many, under, and open. Because the opposites are on different screens, the child is unable to see a side-by-side comparison that will help her understand the two opposing words. Shapes and colors are on the blankets of sleeping children and objects are strewn around the room. Tap and colors, shapes and objects are named. Children are involved in different activities in the Playground. Again, I question the choice of vocabulary. How many children today know what a boom box is? How many children will understand “aiming” simply because the boy is holding a basketball and looking at the basket? The narrator of the app has a slight accent. On occasion her production of a word is not clear and there is an occasional grammatical error. This free version has advertisements that move from the bottom of the screen to the top of the screen, where they obstruct the written word of the object just tapped. There is one more annoying feature. Background music is constant.
Developer’s website: alphaproduction.com
Cost: Free with advertisements; $1.99 with no ads