Fine Motor Skills

Entries into each section on this wiki will be structured so that this basic information is available. We will include the TITLEof the application, with a link to the broad description and rating on iTunes. The ICON is simply a screen shot of what will show up on the device. WHO describes the student you have used this particular app with. WHERE indicates whether the app was used at home, school, or in therapy. HOW describes the manner in which you used it. This is also the place to elaborate on other ideas for application. WHY/WHY NOT provides the contributer an opportunity to indicate the value of the app, whether they would use it again, and rationale for the opinion. We invite anyone else who has used the app to comment on anything about it... different whos, hows and whys....



LetterSchool LIte.jpeg
Letter School
What: Great app for learning letter forms.
Who: I've used it with many different preschoolers and early elementary school students who are struggling with pre-handwriting and handwriting skills.
How: The sounds and visuals are very engaging. Lots of good visual and auditory cues are provided.
letter school 2.jpeg
Submitted by: Anthon McLaws, OT
There's a LITE version for FREE!

This is one of the best handwriting apps I've found. Lots of my colleagues love it, too.

NOTE: The LITE version has only a few letters. . .the easy ones.
FREE (lite version)
(full version)
What: Clicky Sticky is a great app for working on motor skills, because it is so motivating! It offers numerous stickers that you can drag down and place on a scene. Stickers have animations and sound effects, and can be resized or rotated to create a picture.
Who: I used it at a 1:1 session with an 8-year-old boy who struggles with the iPad because he hits multiple times on a location.
How: We used the program to create a scene, which we then used as a writing prompt (see Writing Prompts). It was incredibly exciting to see the student learn to hold and drag the stickers to create his scene. His motor movements using this program far exceeded his typical movements, because he was so motivated.
Submitted by: Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite
Additional ideas/comments from others:
This inexpensive app was perfect for working on motor skills such as drag and drop, rotate, and changing size of stickers. The sound effects and animations made this app extremely motivating. I found that the student stayed engaged for more than 20 minutes. His favorite set was the planes, though he liked the ocean scene as well.
$ .99
Cookie Doodle
What: Cookie Doodle is a fun app for working on motor skills. The variety
of actions engages young children who may have become bored with
the simple cause and effect of baby apps. Child selects what kind of
cookie to make (requires partner to read). Then all the necessary items are visible near the bowl. Child drags the ingredient into the bowl, then that ingredient is enlarged and the child must do the appropriate action for that item. For example,
turn the iPad to the side and shake to get the salt to shake out of the salt shaker on the screen, tap an egg to crack it and see raw egg fall out, etc.
Who: I used it with an almost 3 year old with cerebral palsy in a 1:1 activity. He did not have good motor ability so he needed physical assistance to complete the tasks but he loved the cognitive engagement enough that I think as different kinds of cookies were made, he would start to approximate the necessary movements since the activity was so motivating. Also used it with 3 1/2 year olds with a form of muscular dystrophy. They could do it by themselves on their iTouch.
Submitted by Gayle Wiens, PT
Additional ideas/comments from others:
This inexpensive app is a fun activity for children 2-4 yrs. The variety of motor movements needed allow the child to work on motor movements with the iPad in fun, imaginary play.Children with signitficant physical challenges will need a partner to use this app.
Wheels on the Bus HD
This is a great app for teaching different motor actions on different pages for example pointing, dragging and dropping, or swishing (the windshield wipers). Also has navigation buttons on bottom right and left for turning the page or turning back to a favorite page. I have used this app with children with physical challenges ages 2-3 years old. The kids love making the wheels turn so the bus looks like it is going (swiping motion), swiping open the bus doors and touching the bird inside (he giggles), and moving the windshield wipers back and forth. It is good to see their cognitive engagement as they remember which items have actions on certain pages and place their hand in the correct place and attempt to do the correct motion.
Submitted by Gayle Wiens, PT
Additional ideas from others:
Very popular app for children age 2-3 with physical challenges.
$1.99 for full version HD
Toddler Counting 1 2 3 by iTot apps
This has two difficulty levels, I have just used the "easier" level with children 2 years old with physical and vision challenges. Multiple photos of a single object show on the screen. The prompt asks: "how many ". The child touches each photo and a large colored number appears on top and the voice counts aloud. Once they have touched all the photos on a single screen, the photos come together and spin and the voice cheers or says good job. I like the photos instead of line drawingsand that the photos are different sizes. I like the way a large colored numeral is placed on top of the object and the object is shaded. This draws attention to the numeral. I don't like the non childlike selection of photos e.g. refrigerator, window, salad. I don't like the robotic prompt that seems like a test. I don't like that it has no way to get back to the settings menu, this program seems to go on forever. I would use it occasionally with a child working on pointing, beginning to be interested in counting, and a child with mild vision issues that needs to visually find all the targets and touch them before the game goes on. I think this is a program that some children may tire of more quickly than some others due to the lack of playfulness (how about a child's voice with much more inflection and delight) and objects children are more interested in at age 2. Children very interested in numbers would enjoy it.
Submitted by Gayle Wiens, PT
Addtional ideas from others:
Limited use app, best for children age 2-3 that are working on touching all the photos or beginning awareness of numbers and counting.
Dr Seuss ABC
This app. gives the option to Read to Me, Read It Myself, or AutoPlay. I have used the Read to Me format. This highlights the text as it reads. If the child touches the picture, the word for that item is highlighted and read and sometimes travels to the picture. Swiping turns the page. I have used this with 2-3 year olds with physical challenges. It is a good format to practice the swiping skill with higher cognitive interest to keep it fun. One thing I do not like is that piano music plays in the background and cannot be turned off. This is a problem for children with delayed processing because it makes that interaction more complex; they must ignore the music to listen to the text. I would use it with a child that does not have these issues, although if a version became available without the music, I would prefer it.
Submitted by Gayle Wiens, PT
Additional ideas from others:
Good for young children without vision challenges or auditory processing challenges that need to work on swiping and would enjoy the higher cognitive interest of the rhyming words.
$1.99 no free version
egg a sketch
This is a very fun app that offers a motivating activity for working on spatial and descriptive concepts, in addition to following / giving directions. The idea is to paint an egg with different colors by using your finger/fingers as the egg is rotating or is still, (which is great for fine motor skills).
The following concepts can easily be focused on: "thick, thin (the two choices for the lines), colors, on the side, stand straight up, roll, turn, left, right, the end, the middle, top, bottom," and many more! More advanced vocabulary can be focused on, such as: "rotate, vertical, horizontal, etc." Shapes can be focused on as the child draws them on the egg. Descriptive words such as "spots, stripes, wiggly lines, etc," can also be focused on. I have also used this app for giving and following directions, in both individual therapy and in small group settings. The colors are very vibrant and motivating for children (and adults!).
Submitted by: Patty Ashby
Additional Ideas from others:
This app can be used for so many purposes, it is definitely worth downloading for free.
Free or $.99
In order to save the egg to your photo album, you need to buy the pro version for $.99.
Color Dots
The settings on this fun app allow you to change the size and speed of the dots. My 5 y.o. niece figured out how to move the sliders and had a ball describing how the dots became bigger or smaller and went faster or slower.

The first time a single dot moves around the screen and "pops" when touched. Then two dots appear, and go away when popped. Then three... you get the picture. I think this may actually be a nice way to teach "more" and "one more" as early number concepts.

I have used this many times during AAC evaluations because it quickly engages the user regardless of age. It gives us a chance to see how the user holds the device and touches the screen. We can observe whether there is difficulty seeing or pointing to parts of the screen. We can also watch how the user follows the dot around the screen, chasing the dot if it is going a little too fast.

Submitted by: Deanna Wagner
Additional Ideas from others:
This is a great app for the price. I am looking forward to trying the Alphabet Dots soon.

Who: It was used with students with the following diagnosis: CP, seizure disorder, CVI, severe/profound deafness. Many of the students had very limited motor movements.
Where: We used this multiple times during 1:1 therapy sessions with students in elementary school and Jr high.
How: The app comes with built in music but you can also use your own. For our older students, they enjoyed more modern/hip music. When the screen is touched, various dancers start dancing while the music plays. The length of time can be adjusted; we usually used 10 seconds. Most of the students loved this app. They would watch the dancers and even move to the music. When it stopped, they would reach out and attempt to turn it back on (touching anywhere on the screen turns it back on). Even the smallest movements can be used to activate the dance scene. This app can also be used with a wireless switch. We were able to work on a myriad of IEP goals: visual attention, lifting head to look at screen, motor access. We even had a student use her AAC device to request more, and we would activate the music for her.
June 2012 Note: Creator has announced that he is planning on updating the graphics on this app!
Submitted by: Anthon McLaws (OT) and Shelly Schmachtenberger (OTS)
Additional Ideas from Others:
When I got this app it was free, which was totally worth it. It now costs $29.99. I'm not sure if I would spend that much now. It's a really nice way for a person to play their own songs. However, the length of play is adjusted in seconds, so if a person wants to listen to an entire album, you will spend an excessive amount of time tapping the screen to increase the time. Effective June 2012 the app is $4.99.
As of Summer 2013, this app is still $4.99.

Now $4.99
Magic Coke Bottle by The Coca-Cola Company
Magic Coke Bottle by The Coca-Cola Company

Magic Bottle
Who: It was used with students with the diagnosis of: seizure disorder, autism.
Where: We used this multiple times during 1:1 therapy sessions with students in elementary school.
How: The app will begin by reading 'I got answers you got questions? (tap to continue)'. When the screen is touched, you will read 'shake me' on the app. A picture of a coke bottle is shown. After shaking the coke bottle, fizz will show up to the cap like a real coke bottle and you will read 'pop my cap' from the app. All it takes is a slight swipe on the screen and the cap will pop with an answer to your question. We had the students ask a yes/no question to the app prior shaking. All of the students enjoyed this app. They enjoyed shaking the 'coke bottle' since it had auditory sounds of shaking a real pop bottle and auditory affects came after popping the cap. When it stopped, they would reach out tap the screen again to ask the app another question. This app has multiple answers to your yes/no questions. We were able to work on prerequisite skills to help work towards some IEP goals: visual attention, attention to task, bilateral integration, strengthen hand grasp, following directions, and fine motor. We even had a student who normally verbalizes no more than 2 words at a time, verbalize a 3-5 word sentence during the ask a question part of app.
Submitted by: Anthon McLaws (OT) and Shelly Schmachtenberger (OTS)
Additional Ideas from Others:
This free app is a fun activity for students. The required motor movements to be able to participate in this app allow the student to work on motor movements. The sound effects and animations made this app extremely motivating.
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