Before we did Baby CHAMP Dean didn’t really use any apps. He has always loved to watch Baby Shark on YouTube and it’s our go to when we need him to be entertained for a short time. Our therapists both had iPads and showed us some amazing apps that could help him use his affected side. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned we call his affected hand “righty.” I’m happy to report that since Baby CHAMP he’s really good at trying to use it when we say something like, “give righty a turn.” It’s not the most accurate reach so apps are a great way for him to succeed while using it. I know a lot of people that are hesitant to let their children use technology but it can really be a great learning tool, even for typical children.
My tip for giving children your phone especially when you’re not able to watch them is to lock them in the app. Now I only know how to do this on Apple but I’m sure you could find a way to do it on other devices. It is called Guided Access and once you turn it on it can always be used. When you’re in the app all you have to do it triple click the home button to turn it on.
- Go to Settings
- Tap on General
- Tap on Accessibility
- Tap on Guided Access under the Learning section
- Tap the switch to turn on Guided Access
- Tap on Passcode Settings
- Tap Set Guided Access Passcode and set a passcode
- Toggle Accessibility Shortcut to On
The first app Dean’s therapist had him using was, Fireworks Arcade. This is a free app. There really isn’t much to the app, it is literally just fireworks. I wasn’t impressed at first but he almost instantly started using “righty” to touch the screen. It really doesn’t require any strength or coordination. Just touch the screen and the fireworks go off, pretty exciting to a 1 year old.
Bus HD is my favorite app to play with him. It is Wheels on the Bus themed and each page has an activity to go with the song. His favorite is opening and closing the doors, I literally have to turn the page for him because I’m ready to move onto something else. Each page has something different and it requires quite a bit of coordination to get things to move. In this app we have to give “righty” turns because he naturally wants to use his left hand.
Dean’s favorite app by far is Peekaboo Barn. He uses his affected hand very well with this one. It is a cute little barn and you tap the screen each time to allow an animal to appear, the animal makes its sound, and a voice tells you what animal it is. Each time you tap the screen a new animal comes out. The free version only has a few animals so I paid the $2.99. I think it is a great way to learn animals and their sounds.
Our next go to is Fisher Price Storybook, he loves the Itsy Bits Spider one. It’s an animated book and he has to touch the screen to turn the page, again another great activity for “righty.” They have a few different storybooks. Fisher Price actually has a great selection of free apps, just type Fisher Price in the search bar and they all come up.
One of the greatest apps I’ve had for Dean is not one he even uses. It is called Tinybeans and is my favorite way to share photos of Dean with family. I’m perfectly fine with spamming everyone on my Facebook with pictures of my child, I mean he is the cutest, right? But not everyone uses Facebook so I found a way to keep my family that is spread across the US up to date. Every night I try to add the photos I took that day. It then takes what you’ve added, and emails it to all the email address you have in the app. They don’t even need an app which is great for my older family members. It allows people to like and comment, my family really has a great time with it. You could use this app as a baby book and put in all the milestones if you wanted to, I have not but it keeps all the photos you add and it is so fun to look back when I am feeling nostalgic. I’ve only used the free version and never had a problem.
We had such a fun weekend with cook outs and swimming. It was nice to have Ryan home for Labor Day, we don’t always get to spend holidays together because of his job. This was one of my favorite summers yet, getting to experience new things with Dean has been amazing. I know this boy will be sad to say goodbye to sunshine and berries but I’m looking forward to Fall.