It’s almost comical to list just a handful of games when there are literally hundreds of thousands out there. But we’ll give it a try.
We work a lot of kid-friendly games into our sessions. Sometimes it’s because those few promised minutes with Swampy provide all the motivation we need to keep a child engaged and focused on the activities we’ve chosen for the first 25 minutes of the session. Sometimes it’s because we know that the super cool game in our socially hesitant child’s hands is going to draw in 5 great peer models from across the room. And sometimes it’s because the game is simply the best way to reinforce the skill we’re trying to teach.
All of the games listed here can be used to motivate students, draw in others AND reinforce skills, and none of these games will cost you more than a pack of stickers.
First up — Toca Boca, Toca Boca, Toca Boca.
What is it about these Toca Boca apps that is so entertaining for kids of all ages and abilities? And how can these apps that are essentially devoid of spoken language be so rich in concept development? Not sure how to answer either of these questions, but we can tell you these games are proven winners. They offer opportunities for free play (without levels or winning) and they take us right into the community to get a haircut, see the doctor or attend a birthday party. They are huge hits in our specialized classroom for children with autism and several of these apps happen to pair up beautifully with the Model Me Kids Going Places DVD.
These next few are downloaded 8 zillion times over for a reason. Cut the Rope, Where’s My Water? and My Diamonds are clever, addictive games that are great fun for both boys and girls. The tasks are straightforward enough: feed the monster the candy, get the water to come out of the shower or help the alien get his diamonds back. What works for us is that accomplishing these tasks will take some pretty impressive visual problem solving skills. And as a bonus there is a whole lot of subtle emotional learning taking place as kids watch these lovable characters react to getting (or not getting) what they are so desperately hoping for.
All three offer free versions and full upgrades for 99 cents. Not to mention a host of spin off apps that are just as fun.