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      Choosing an App for Your Child

      Kimberly Lindgren, OTR/L - April 29, 2020

      There are so many apps for kids, it is easy to get lost and confused when deciding which one is best for your child! We have investigated lots of apps and gathered recommendations from teachers, specialists, and parents to determine which are the best for encouraging movement, self-regulation, transitions and routines, handwriting, and supplementing education. 

      While we know that children learn best through face-to-face interaction, we also cannot deny that children will be exposed to learning through a screen! To best support your child, explore these apps side-by-side to make it more interactive and spend about 15 minute blocks of time with the app. We also recommend limiting screen time at night—at least one hour of screen-free time before bed—in order to facilitate restful sleep and emotional regulation. Check out our blog about Screen Time for more tips on how to have a positive experience with the screen in your home.

      See our recommended list of apps below, organized by skills focused on and age appropriateness. Have fun!


      App nameAgesDescription
      Letter School                                                  Preschool
      • Learn letters
      • Practice formation
      • Fun, interactive visuals (e.g. train tracks following along the letter, dot for starting point)
      • Available for iOS or Android devices
      ABC Alphabet Phonics                                                        Preschool
      • Simple game of letter recognition
      • Upper and lower case
      • Available for iOS devices

      Movement and Self-Regulation

      App nameAgesDescription
      Cosmic Yoga                                                                              3-9 years                                                                  
      • Yoga and mindfulness videos
      • Fun, interactive videos tailored to child’s interest (e.g. Star Wars, Frozen, Minecraft
      • Can filter by length, energy (calm, focus, active), or category (dance, story, mindfulness)
      • iOS, Android, and YouTube
      GoNoodle                                                      5-12 years                       
      • Large database of short, kid-friendly videos to follow along
      • Example of some videos o Calming: guided progressive relaxation
      o Energizing: dances, movement breaks
      o How to videos: make a squishy stress ball

      Stop, Breathe, and Think                                                                     5-10 years                                                                           • Guided, play-based meditations
      • Also supports body awareness and auditory processing – the ability to filter out extraneous noises and follow verbal instructions
      • Available on iOS or website app


      App nameAgesDescription
      Typing Club                                                                                                                                                                                    7 & up                                                                                                                                                             
      • Provides visual for finger placement on the keyboard
      • Engaging lessons, feedback of accuracy, and typing games
      OT tip: Once your child gets comfortable with where the letters are, try covering their hands with a piece of paper so they aren’t tempted to look at the fingers while typing! This really challenges their memory and proprioceptive processing (body awareness)!
      • Available in website format

      Routines and Transitions

      App nameAgesDescription
      CanPlan                                                                                             6-7 years and older                                                     
      • Build a visual schedule
      • Personalize with photos, videos, text, and audio descriptions
      • Timers
      • Supports sequencing steps of a task, time management, and organization.
      • Available on iOS
      Countdown Timer                                2-7 years
      • As the visual clock counts down, it expands to show a fun visual (e.g. duck, truck, robot)
      • Best tolerated for children that can tolerate some visual distraction and are motivated by a preferred object
      • Available on iOS and Android
      Time Timer2 years & up• Simplistic visual that replicates the visual timer we use during our OT sessions.
      • Best suited for children who are easily visually distracted (i.e. as compared to Countdown Timer app above)
      • Available on iOS, Android, and website app

      Educational: Reading, Spelling, Math, Science

      App nameAgesDescription
      Bitsboard                                                                 4 years & older
      • Flashcards and interactive games
      • Create your own content or select from their large database
      • Topics include spelling, handwriting, foreign language, math
      • Available on iOS
      ABC Mouse2-8 years
      • Lessons and activities developed by teachers and learning specialists
      • Available on website or smartphone
      SplashMath              Kindergarten-5th grade            • Interactive math-related activities
      • Tailored to learning level
      • Available on iOS app or website

      Generation Genius                                    Kindergarten- 5th grade                          • Science videos, lessons, readings, quizzes, and activities to simulate at home
      • Available in website format
      ABCYaPreschool-6th grade• Language Arts, Science, Typing
      • Online activities are organized by subject here.
      • Available in website format
      Epic! Books3-12 years• Database of picture books and audiobooks
      • Available on iOS
      Alien BuddiesPreschool
      • Game to learn colors, letters, and numbers
      • Available on iOS
      PBSSocalKids                              4-8 years• Good resource for both parents and kids
      • Find activities by age and topic here
      Articles for managing home learning and supporting your child in general

      Enjoy exploring these apps with your child and let us know how they work for your family!