Stella!!! and Sam

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My iPad is full of apps.  I have actually had to go through and delete some to make room for the new and improved apps that I have discovered lately.  I am a tough critic for apps but my 3 year old daughter Quinn is a tougher critic.  If she likes a new app then I know that I have hit the app jackpot.

I discovered Stella and Sam a few weeks ago after I blogged here about another zinc Roe app, Doodlecast.  History has told me that if a company makes one good app, there is most likely another great one out there by them.  History has proven itself correct.  Stella and Sam has not only kept Quinn occupied for hours, it has motivated so many of the kids I work with at my gym to do things that they are usually resistant to.  

Stella and Sam is a series of stories featuring a brother and sister who go on various adventures in the snow, rain and at night time.  Each story has a couple of chapters and and after each chapter there is a hands on activity to go along with it.  What I love about this app is that the story moves at a good pace and the conversation is slow enough that they can really follow and understand the story.  Also, the art work is beautiful which makes it easy for the grownups who may be playing along to not get too annoyed.

Increase Attention Span/Focus-I love that this app requires a child to listen to a story in each chapter and then complete some kind of related activity after you hear the story.  A child is forced to sustain their attention through each story in order to do something interactive.  Sounds easy, but can be quite challenging for younger children.

Improve Sorting/Matching Skills-in one of the stories (Go There Square), you have to sort and match the leaves of a dandelion.  This is just one of the many examples throughout the various games that you can work on this skill.

Improve Visual Motor/Visual Perceptual Skills-the mini games after each chapter vary but often incorporate some kind of visual motor or visual perceptual skill, such as matching, connect the dots, etc..

Improve Grasping Skills-many of the games can be completed using a stylus which will help in encouraging an appropriate grasp.  As mentioned before, the Fred and Friends crayon stylus is one of my favorites.

Improve Visual Tracking-a few of the mini games are perfect for children who need to work on visual tracking.  There is a game associated with Cocoons and Caterpillars, pictured here, that requires a child to take a butterfly through a field and fly through the flowers.  When they hit each flower, their wings change colors and patterns.

Increase Upper Extremity Strength-as I do with many iPad activities, I have the children play this while lying prone on the net swing.  This way they can work on making those neck and arm muscles stronger while having fun.  It’s amazing how much longer I can get a child to stay in this challenging position when they are engaged in something so fun and motivating.

These are just a few of the skills that can be worked on when using the Stella and Sam app.  Have any of you used this in therapy or with your own children?  What story or game is your favorite?  I love that as Quinn plays this game, she says things like “Momma, I want to have a rainbow come to me”.  Her imagination skills are expanding and I feel like she is looking at nature and the world with a different set of eyes.  While this game is ideal for preschool age children, I think that your elementary age child will enjoy it as well.

I would love to hear from you about your thoughts about Stella and Sam.  I am always a click away and love hearing from you all.

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